Kankakee Fire Department was approaching their periodic ISO review and knew they needed to
dramatically increase and update their commercial pre-plans in order to decrease ISO scores.
Pre-planned 200 structures in 3
weeks using FlowMSP technology
- Gain automated resources that can integrate into the daily workflow
- Produce actionable pre-plans quickly
- Deploy pre-plans in real-time that deliver most pertinent information first, but make other information readily available
- Increase ISO ratings for community
ISO Rating Background
The Insurance Services Office (ISO), uses a system for determining the price of fire insurance in a community through a 1 to 10 classification system. The evaluators that ISO sends to fire departments use National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) guidelines to determine the quality of the service fire departments provide to the community they serve.
Ultimately, this rating not only affects a citizens insurance rates, but can be used to determine the quality of service a department provides.
ISO classifies fire departments with a numeric score, – with a Class 1 distinction being the best fire department the community could have.
ISO Ratings & Pre-Planning
Fire departments are met with an important challenge. To achieve top honors from ISO, and earn full credit for pre-planning, they must size-up each commercial, industrial, institutional and other similar type buildings once a year. This keeps information, images, and data up to date and accurate.
Since a manual pre-plan can take over 3 hours to complete, few, if any, departments can successfully achieve this. Most fire departments would consider it a success to pre-plan a majority of buildings once a year, since most departments pre-plan a building every 3-5 years.
How Businesses Use ISO Ratings
- Receiving and processing of calls for emergency services
- Fire department equipment, staffing, training and geographic distribution of available resources
- The water supply systems available for fire suppression operations.
Kankakee Fire Dept. Shared a Common Void in Pre-Planning
In 2018, Kankakee Fire Department had already achieved a stellar ISO rating of 2, an almost impossible score to beat. But there was one area the department wanted to improve– pre-planning.
Like most other fire departments, Kankakee had fallen behind with their pre-planning of commercial buildings due to time and resource constraints. But with a new Chief on board, the department was poised to make a move to enhance it’s rating.
Kankakee FD is a full time Fire Department with four stations running over 6,000 calls per year, serving a community of almost 30,000 in central Illinois. Fire Chief Damon Schuldt and Deputy Chief Jeff Bruno set a goal of improving their ISO ranking in order to appeal to more business in the area. Businesses often use ISO rankings as a criteria in their decisions as to where to commercialize, as rankings indicate a community’s ability to thrive.
Schuldt stated, “While we lacked the internal resources to complete pre-plans efficiently, we were determined to not just check the box here for ISO. We needed a software that would integrate into our daily routines effectively, and would be used by everyone quickly.”
Upon choosing Flow MSP for its ease of use and reliable data, Kankakee FD was able to begin integration of the software within 24 hours, and pre-planned their first building within hours of first logging into the software.
FlowMSP Implementation Manager, Dana Jennings, explains how quickly the department was able to utilize the software. “I visited the team on day of the contract, and within minutes of activating the software, the team began pre-planning their first structure.”
Benefits to the Kankakee Fire Dept.
While citing a lack of resources and spending over three hours to pre-plan a building, Kankakee firefighters can now pre-plan a building in less than 15 minutes. According to Bruno, “It is not uncommon for us to spend less than six minutes preplanning a structure. The software is intuitive, agile, and developing constantly. It thinks like a firefighter.” Firefighters at the Kankakee Department can now view their pre-plans en route to a call, enhancing their emergency response and decision making capabilities.
A return on investment that is perhaps, immeasurable.
Sharing information with neighboring departments
All fire departments access shared services and mutual aid in order to serve communities more efficiently. When fire departments are called upon to serve communities they are unfamiliar with, they lack previous exposure or knowledge of the structure. To make matters worse, these departments have no ability to access any information while in-route to the call.
While on scene, this lack of exposure causes more radio chatter, while departments share information, access data, and set up incident command.
With FlowMSP, data can be accessed and shared in real-time before and during an incident. FlowMSP CEO Jason Marvel explains, “We see data being shared in two ways – in mutual aid, between cities or rural communities where departments are continuously called to share resources, or between municipalities – where a police department may need access to the same data source that the fire department needs – like in an active shooting scenario,” states Marvel.
By sharing this data, and each department collecting and distributing it, mutual response strategies lowers the risk to firefighters injury and increases the operational efficiency for responding units outside their service areas.
Kankakee Pre-Plans 200 Structures in Three Weeks
Armed with Flow technology, Kankakee Fire Department opted to use only a cellular phone to take pictures of their structures and were able to pre-plan over 200 structures in 3 weeks. Most structures took under 6 minutes to pre-plan. Following the 4 steps to pre-planning guide of snapping photos, annotating pictures, using the drop down menu to add structural information like roof type and occupancy information and finally adding the NFPA icons for easy identification when the tones alarm, Kankakee is now more prepared than ever before.
ISO inspections can occur randomly, and as of the date of publishing, Chief’s Schuldt and Bruno are still waiting for theirs. But they are finally prepared knowing the firefighters on their staff are safe and the structures in their community have been amply prepared for.