Who we are

The Camden Fire Department provides fire protection and emergency rescue services to the 16.5 square mile city of Camden, Arkansas, with 28 paid firefighters operating out of three stations. In addition, the department also performs emergency rescues and provides mutual aid to the volunteer departments of Ouachita County, which covers 733 square miles.

Department ISO Rating

In 2015, the Camden Fire Department was notified by the Insurance Services Office that a recent evaluation of the department resulted in a Public Protection Classification (PPC) of 2 for property within five miles of a Camden Fire Department station and less than 1,000 feet from a fire hydrant, and 2X for property within five miles of the fire station but more than 1,000 feet from a fire hydrant. This classification was an improvement from the department’s previous class 4 rating. The improved rating is the result of several years of work by both the city and department to increase its firefighting planning and capabilities. The new classification officially went into effect March 2016.

The ISO is an independent company that serves insurance companies, communities, fire departments, insurance regulators, and others by providing information about fire risk. The ISO collects information and assigns a PPC classification — from 1 to 10 — based on a department’s fire suppression capabilities and efforts. A classification of 1 represents an exemplary fire suppression program, and a classification of 10 represents that the area’s fire suppression program does not meat ISO’s minimum criteria.

The Camden Fire Department’s class 2 rating placed it in the top 2.44 percent of all 48,754 fire departments nationwide with a rating in 2015. A class 1 rating was achieved by only 132 departments, with 1,060 achieving a class 2 rating.

The ISO’s evaluation process depends on a number of factors, including:

  • Fire department staffing, apparatus and equipment, training, geographic distribution, and public education.
  • Water supply, which includes inspection and flow testing of hydrants.
  • Emergency communications, which evaluates how well alarms are received and dispatched.

The ISO’s PPC program plays an important role in the underwriting process at many insurance companies, with insurers using the information as part of their decision-making in setting rates. The improvement in the department’s classification could favorably affect commercial and residential property insurance rates in the Camden fire protection district, with commercial properties generally seeing greater savings. However, each insurance company independently determines the premiums it charges, with some weighing in other factors such as historical claims in calculating rates. Property owners should therefore contact their insurance company to see if coverage rates will change.

In addition, fire departments also use the PPC as a benchmark, providing a valuable tool for planning, budgeting, and making future improvements to the department.