Last Updated:  08/03/08  
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Effective April 1, 2003 the Houston Fire Department became an ISO Class 1 Fire Department, which is the highest possible class. Although this in itself is an outstanding achievement, the Houston Fire Department’s score makes it the best-of-the-best with the score of 97.01. This is the highest score ever by any fire department.

From the Fire Times—

According to data from the Texas Department of Insurance, the Houston fire department saves homeowners in excess of 401 million dollars each year due to the level of fire protection services offered on a budget of 277 million dollars. That is an average [savings] of $522 a year per household. Commercial, business, rental and contents savings could be three times that.

It has been less than a year (December 2001), that the Insurance Services Office [ISO] raised the Houston Fire Department's ISO Rating from a Class 3 to Class 2. This is the latest feather in Houston Fire Department's hat to go along with highest cardiac survivability rate in the U.S. and largest accredited fire department in the world.

Of 2,355 fire departments within Texas 12 are ISO Class 1. Of 55,397 fire departments nationwide 57 are Class 1. The Houston Fire Department is fourth largest metropolitan fire department in the US, and the largest ISO Class 1 fire department in the World.

Note: Texas now ties California for the state with the most ISO Class 1 fire departments.

From the Fire Times—

The ISO also rated the unincorporated county areas serviced by the Houston Fire Department and those areas are also being rated a Class 1. This represents an improvement from a Class 9 and will represent a significant savings [expected rates to drop two thirds] in property insurance costs for commercial and residential properties.

Imagine a bigger government agency actually doing a better job, and saving money at the same time!!

Here is the Houston Fire Department own link to an ISO Report dated November 20, 2002

Wikipedia has a nice articles on the Houston Fire Department with some fire station photos. The main article covers the History of the Houston Fire Department. Something unique to the Houston Fire Department that this article revealed is "All members of the department are trained in EMS procedures", and "There are no EMS providers for the Houston Fire Department that are not also firefighters". "There are two levels of EMS certification that the Houston Fire Department recognizes; EMT-Basic and EMT-Paramedic".
NationMaster - Encyclopedia has a shorter articles on the Houston Fire Department. A paragraph here refers to HFD, "as a very aggressive interior fire fighting department", and one of the results of this is "an entirely new hood that the firefighters wear under the helment that protects the ears and neck in a superior manner to earlier designs." The hood is name the "Reed Hood" in honor of its developer, Captain Clifford Reed.
Fire Chief has an article on Chief Chris Connealy under whose command the Houston Fire Department obtained both an ISO Class 1 fire department classification, and an Accredited Agency status with the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI). CFAI is now the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE). Here is the link to Fire Chief's article Former Houston Fire Chief Accepts Post in Cedar Park, Texas.

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