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El Cerrito / Kensington Fire Department Awarded Class 1 Rating

El Cerrito / Kensington Fire Department Awarded Class 1 Rating By Insurance Services Office

March 30, 2022 - The El Cerrito/Kensington Fire Department has been awarded a Class 1 Public Protection Classification rating by the Insurance Services Office (ISO), an organization that independently evaluates municipal fire-protection efforts in communities throughout the United States. The Class 1 rating is the highest possible score that can be given to any fire department nationwide. Insurance companies use ISO information combined with other factors to establish local commercial business and residential property insurance rates – generally offering lower premiums in communities with better protection.

The ISO rating process involves a periodic, detailed analysis of all fire department equipment and operations, the city's water system, and emergency 9-1-1 communications system. The program provides an objective nationwide standard that helps fire departments in planning and budgeting for facilities, equipment, and training. By offering economic benefits for communities that invest in their firefighting services, the program provides an incentive for improving and maintaining public fire protection.

Below is the announcement from El Cerrito/Kensington Fire Chief Michael Pigoni.


To All,

As all of you are aware, the Fire Department is audited every 5 to 10 years by the Insurance Services Office to verify our Public Protection Class or more commonly referred to as our ISO rating. Since 1994, when the Fire Department had an ISO rating of 4, we have made strides to improve our services to lower our rating. In 2004, after a very labor-intensive audit that including reviewing 5 years of records and our apparatus, we were able to lower the rating to a 3 for both Kensington and El Cerrito. In 2014, we were once again audited and through our continued improvement, our rating was once again lowered to a 2.

In 2020, we started a new audit which unfortunately was hampered by the pandemic with the goal of lowering our rating again having made great improvement in dispatch/communications (Richmond to Con Fire) and the increased emphasis placed on community outreach (pub ed) and prevention (occupancy inspections). Completing the audit and getting the results has taken a long time due to the ISO offices working from home and limitations on being able to meet with the evaluators.

I am very happy and proud to say that the result was worth the wait because as of yesterday, I received notification that the Fire Department has been given a public protection class or ISO rating of 1 which is the best rating possible. Only 1% of the Fire Departments in the Nation are rated at this level.

This was only possible though the work that each of the staff perform throughout the year including hydrant inspections and flow tests, occupancy inspections, pub ed, hose testing, pump testing, ladder testing and training which are all major factors in this rating. Our overall rating was a 92.71 out of a possible 105 points.

Our ISO Class 1 rating provides benefits both to the Fire Department as a badge of honor that demonstrates a commitment to excellence, use of best practices and teamwork that is verified by a third party as well as it can lower insurance rates for our property owners. 

I want to extend my appreciation to everyone for the job well done.


Thank you,

Michael Pigoni

Fire Chief

El Cerrito / Kensington Fire Department

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