WSRB evaluates the fire-protection capabilities of every community in Washington state on a regular basis. As a fire chief, fire marshal or other fire service professional, you play a vital role in these evaluations.
Learn how to prepare.
We operate in the public interest to help insurance companies, their customers and you. After an evaluation, we produce Protection Class (PC) data for each property in a community; insurance companies use PC data as one input to establishing premiums for fire insurance.
Our goal is to produce accurate data so insurance companies can accurately evaluate risk and insurance consumers feel confident their fire premiums are fair. We’re an independent, not-for-profit organization, and the criteria we use is evaluated by the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner.
Here, we give an overview of the community evaluation process. For more information, see our guide.
The PC evaluation process recognizes your community’s efforts to provide citizens and property owners with effective fire protection. It also gives you objective insight into your community’s ability to suppress fires and helps you identify areas for improvement.
Insurance companies generally offer lower premiums in areas with better protection, creating an economic incentive for communities to invest in their firefighting services. As part of the PC evaluation process, we also look at building code enforcement, which we’ll explain in more detail below.
Engine companies, ladder companies, distribution of fire stations, automatic aid received, equipment carried on apparatus, apparatus maintenance, pumping capacity, reserve apparatus, department personnel staffing levels and training.
Calculate required fire flows (in gallons-per-minute or gpm) for community buildings and compare the results to the water system's supply capacity. Look at hydrant size, type and installation, as well as how often fire hydrants and other water system components are inspected.
Facilities, emergency dispatching system, dispatch personnel staffing levels and training.
Fire code enforcement, public education, fire investigations and building code enforcement.
Using the data from our evaluation, we assign each community a PC of 1 through 10, where 1 indicates exemplary fire protection capabilities, and 10 indicates the capabilities, if any, are insufficient for insurance rate credit. These community PCs are used as a basis to assign the PC for each individual property in the area.
As part of our PC evaluation, we also look at building code effectiveness and enforcement to determine a community’s Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule (BCEGS) classification.
Communities with up-to-date and well-enforced building codes should experience less damage when a disaster strikes, so insurance companies use BCEGS data to help evaluate property risk.
Review the building code edition in use, modification of the code, training and certification of code enforcers, building officials' qualifications, public awareness programs and participation in code-development activities and the appeal process.
Look at staffing levels, experience of personnel and level of detail in the plan review process.
Review staffing levels, experience of personnel, the level of detail of inspections, final inspections and issuance of certificates of occupancy.
WSRB analyzes the data collected and assigns a classification of 1 to 10 to the community. A Classification of 1 represents exemplary commitment to building code enforcement; a classification of 10 indicates no recognizable building code enforcement. Any building constructed in the year a community is classified, or later, will be eligible for the classification of the community. Learn more in our guide.