Fire is the single largest cause of property loss in the United States. In the last decade, fire has caused direct losses of more than $120 billion and countless billions more in related costs. More importantly, each year fire kills approximately 3,000 people, including 100 firefighters, and injures more than 20,000 people.

The Insurance Services Office (ISO) collects information on city fire-protection efforts in communities throughout the United States. In each of those communities, ISO analyzes the relevant data in three major areas: the Fire Department operations, water system, and communications, and then assigns a Public Protection Classification (PPC) ranging from 1 to 10. Class 1 represents exemplary public protection, and Class 10 indicates that the area’s fire-suppression program does not meet ISO’s minimum criteria. PPC ratings have a direct bearing on the cost of property insurance for every home and building in a community.

Earlier this year, the City of Melissa was inspected by the ISO to determine the Public Protection Classification. Effective July 1, the ISO PPC rating will be lowered from a 3 to a 2. Of the more than 46,000 communities nationwide rated by ISO, fewer than 1 percent are rated a 2 or better. For example, in Collin County, Plano, Frisco, and Wylie have ISO 1, while Allen, Fairview, McKinney, and now Melissa are an ISO 2.

The lowering of the Public Protection Classification rating indicates an improvement in the fire protection level and an appropriate water supply to protect the structures within a community, and an improved rate impacts homeowners and commercial businesses directly by insurance policy rates. The average savings is dependent on many factors including type of construction, age and value of the structure, insurance carrier, and many other items. The ISO 2 rating will take effect July 1. Prior to that date, the information is available to all insurance companies and is well publicized by the Texas Department of Insurance through the State Fire Marshal’s Office. Most insurance companies review the rating prior to setting new rates.

"Mayor Greer, the City of Melissa City Council and City Manager Jason Little are to be credited with the financial support of the Melissa Fire Department and the required foresight of the water requirements to enable the city to achieve this rank and recognition" stated Fire Chief Harold Watkins. "In addition, the members of the Melissa Fire Department are to be commended for their hard work in preparation and instituting the policies that have made this grade possible."

Residents are encouraged to contact their insurance carriers to request the new classification be included in their policies effective July 1. Residents and business owners should check with their insurance agents and verify the new rate and related lower insurance premiums. Notification from the Texas Department of Insurance of the new rates will be available at www.cityofmelissa.com.

For questions or more information, contact Watkins at 972-838-1081 or email hwatkins@cityofmelissa.com.