Seattle Fire Department becomes first in Washington State to earn a Protection Class 1 rating by WSRB 

New Protection Class 1 rating reaffirms Seattle Fire’s commitment to providing exemplary fire protection to residents and businesses in the City of Seattle 

Protection Class 1 rating goes into effect on July 1, 2022, for the vast majority of properties located within the City of Seattle 

SEATTLE – The Seattle Fire Department (SFD) will become the first fire department in the state of Washington to receive the most exemplary protection class rating from the Washington Surveying and Rating Bureau (WSRB) – a Protection Class 1 rating. The new rating goes into effect on July 1, 2022, and validates SFD’s ability to efficiently serve those who live, work and visit Seattle.  

WSRB serves Washington residents as the non-profit independent insurance rating agency for fire departments, fire districts and regional fire authorities within the state of Washington, while ISO Fire Protection Rating serves as the for-profit rating agency for a majority of other fire districts within the United States. Other states served by non-profit independent rating bureaus are Hawaii, Idaho, North Carolina, Mississippi and Louisiana. With the new rating, the SFD will join approximately 460 other fire districts nationwide with a Class 1 rating. This places Seattle Fire in the top 1% of fire departments in the nation. 

“This outstanding evaluation leaves no doubt that Seattle Fire Department is a pioneering and nation-leading department committed to a higher standard of public safety. Our Seattle Fire Department exemplifies Protection Class 1 excellence and One Seattle leadership,” said Mayor Bruce Harrell. “While this announcement confirms SFD’s especially effective approach to fire protection, we know their innovation and public safety leadership extends further, from Health One to helping administer over 330,000 lifesaving vaccines during this pandemic. Chief Scoggins, Local 27 President Kenny Stuart, and every Seattle firefighter and SFD staff member deserve our gratitude for their efforts to create a safer, healthier Seattle.” 

Most, but not all, insurance companies insuring property in the state use WSRB protection class and loss cost data as one essential input for setting the fire portion of insurance premiums. Beginning on July 1, 2022, property owners of residential and commercial structures can contact their insurance agent to find out if their property insurance premium will change at renewal. If a property is within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant and within five miles of a Seattle Fire Station, it will be classified under the City of Seattle’s Protection Class 1. Insurance companies use WSRB’s online tools, which allow them to  determine the approved rating. While not guaranteed, it’s possible that the new Protection Class rating could lower fire insurance premiums for owners of commercial or residential property. 

“This rating confirms what we’ve known for years – the Seattle Fire Department is among the most effective fire departments in the nation. Now, their amazing work will extend even further, saving Seattleites and our small businesses money that can go back into our community. Congratulations to Chief Scoggins, Local 27, and the entire department on this impressive achievement,” said Councilmember Lisa Herbold, Chair of the Public Safety and Human Services Committee.   

WSRB’s criteria and current schedule approved by the Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner is to conduct an evaluation of protection class for communities approximately every five years. The SFD was previously rated as a Protection Class 2 and made improvements over the past five years to qualify for Protection Class 1. Improvements included a new Training Information Management system, voluntary leadership training for company officers and more. The department will begin the reevaluation process again in 2026.  

“After receiving a Protection Class 2 rating in 2015, Seattle Fire took intentional steps and made many improvements to meet our goal of obtaining a Class 1 rating,” said Fire Chief Harold Scoggins. “I am incredibly proud of the team at SFD for this significant accomplishment which shows our commitment to serving our residents. I also want to extend my gratitude to the Finance and Administrative Services department who oversees our fleets and to Seattle Public Utilities who maintains fire hydrants in the City for their collaboration during this process.”   
 
WSRB evaluated the City of Seattle in four major areas: water supply, fire department, emergency communications and fire safety control. For water supply, WSRB evaluated the capacity, distribution and maintenance of Seattle Public Utilities’ water systems and fire hydrants. For the fire department, WSRB evaluated SFD’s fire stations, apparatus, equipment, personnel and training. For emergency communications, WSRB evaluated the emergency communication system at Seattle’s Fire Alarm Center used to dispatch resources to fire incidents. For fire safety control, WSRB evaluated the SFD Fire Prevention division’s fire code enforcement and SFD Public Affairs’ fire safety education activities in the community. The four areas are evaluated and scored independently of each other and then combined for a final calculation to determine the Protection Class.  

“Seattle Fire and the City of Seattle have earned a Protection Class 1 rating by upgrading the department’s ability to put out fires across the city,” said Karl Newman, president and CEO of WSRB. “This is the first and only PC 1 rating in the state in more than 100 years of our operation. It is a measure of the department’s dedication to protecting lives and property and we are pleased to celebrate this achievement with them.” 

More about WSRB 
WSRB is an independent, non-profit public service organization serving Washington state since 1911. WSRB produces data that helps insurance companies accurately evaluate risk and gives insurance consumers confidence their fire premiums are set using objective data.