FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
City of New Orleans Receives Fire Protection
Class 1 Rating from Insurance Association
NEW ORLEANS, LA (September 4, 2019) – The City of New Orleans recently received its first-ever Fire Protection Class 1 rating from the Property Insurance Association of Louisiana (PIAL), a testament to the collaborative work being done by the New Orleans Fire Department (NOFD) with the Orleans Parish Communication District (OPCD) and the Sewerage and Water Board (SWBNO).
“I want to congratulate and thank the men and women of the New Orleans Fire Department for earning the City of New Orleans a Public Protection Classification of 1,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “Potentially, this gives us the opportunity to push for lower insurance rates. This achievement is due to the hard work and commitment of our Fire Department, the Orleans Parish Communication District, and the Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans. The city now joins nine other parishes in the state of Louisiana who share this rating, among them being Jefferson, Caddo, Bossier, and Alexandria. We are looking at this through an equity lens, and appreciate how this classification improvement could help residents financially and in regards to their safety. Every day our public safety agencies and my administration are working to ensure that New Orleans is an accessible, equitable, safe and efficient place to live, and this rating shows that our efforts are improving the city for the better.”
New Orleans now joins eight other jurisdictions in the state of Louisiana who share this rating: Baton Rouge, Bossier City, Jefferson Parish (East Bank Consolidated), Kenner, Monroe, West Monroe, Shreveport and St. Tammany Parish (District 4).The City was evaluated based on three areas of effectiveness:
1) Fire Department (50%) — Considers the number of pump and ladder/service units and equipment (plus reserve units), total pumping capacity, distribution of those units, number of personnel on duty, training, code enforcement, fire prevention and public education.
2) Water Distribution (40%) — Considers supply system and distribution, type and installation method of hydrants, and both hydrant flow testing and annual inspections.
3) Emergency Communications or 9-1-1 System (10%) — Considers phone service, operators handling calls, and dispatch circuits and facilities.
“I want to thank all of the men and women of the New Orleans Fire Department who have been working diligently for the last four years with considerable input and assistance from the PIAL to improve our operations, training, certifications, fire inspections and fire-hydrant flow testing and inspections in order to improve the City of New Orleans’ Public Protection Classification,” said NOFD Superintendent Tim McConnell. “Additionally, we have worked with the Sewerage and Water Board to improve its response to water system issues. Both the Sewerage and Water Board and Orleans Parish Communication District have made great strides to ensure the best possible outcome for this community rating.”
“OPCD is a proud public safety partner of the City of New Orleans,” said OPCD Executive Director Tyrell Morris. “This accomplishment only further demonstrates our commitment to continuous process improvement. Utilizing innovative technology and industry best practices, we are proud to have done our part in raising the Fire Protection Class Rating of New Orleans, and we look forward to continuing to do the work necessary to not only hold that standard, but build upon it in the months and years ahead.”
“We are proud of our collaboration with the City of New Orleans, especially the Fire Department, to better ensure the safety of our families, friends and neighbors,“ said SWBNO Executive Director Ghassan Korban. “We will continue to build on the successes of these partnerships and work to serve the public at a standard we all deserve.”
PIAL uses the Fire Suppression Rating Schedule to evaluate the fire protection capabilities of communities throughout Louisiana to determine a community’s Public Protection Classification (PPC). Class 1 generally represents superior property fire protection. The City of New Orleans was last evaluated in 2009 and received a Class 2 PPC rating.
Insurers of homes and business property use the Fire Class Rating in calculating premiums. In general, the price of fire insurance in a community with a good PPC is substantially lower than in a community with a poor PPC, assuming all other factors are equal.
Some examples of the fire department’s progress include:
- Every member at the rank of Captain and above is now a certified inspector, allowing the NOFD to go from about 10 inspectors to 155 and thereby inspecting every commercial property annually.
- Every Chief Officer is now certified as an investigator.
- Initiating a robust 21-point annual hydrant inspection program and flow testing every hydrant every five years.
- Improving fire education programs, including the institution of an aggressive smoke alarm installation program.
Marcus W. Creel, MS
OPCD Public Engagement Manager