Properly preparing for an ISO audit by utilizing the right tools and resources is vital in achieving a lower rating. If you’re looking for resources, a good place to start is the ISO Resources page on our website at https://emergencyreporting.com/iso-resources/ – we offer a free white paper, webinar videos, a plethora of blog posts, and links to other ISO-related web pages.
Knowing how to take advantage of a high-quality records management system (RMS) like Emergency Reporting is one of the most important steps in preparing for an ISO visit. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how some of our customers have used their RMS to successfully prepare for an ISO audit, as well as improve their scores.
Midwest City Fire Department
ER customer Midwest City Fire Department in Oklahoma has gone through three ISO audits and successfully used their ER system to achieve a top ISO Class 1 at each audit. Midwest City FD’s ISO auditing experience is detailed in a free ER white paper, “Improving Your ISO Score with Fire/EMS Records Management Software.” The white paper covers the basics of the ISO Public Protection Survey and the four areas that ISO grades departments on: Communications – 10% of your grading, Fire Department – 50%, Water Department – 40%, and the bonus Community Risk Reduction points – 5.5%. It also touches on the specific ER reports or data that will be useful. It touches on specific ISO item numbers from three of the grading categories (Fire Department, Water Department, and Community Risk Reduction). Sixty percent of your grading can be done with these reports in ER:
Aside from the specific ER reports you can use for ISO items, Major Richardson offers his advice on how to prepare: “The number one most important thing you can do to prepare is to ensure you are regularly and accurately submitting your data, and to have a person or a team of people who monitor it regularly,” he says. As far as the ER modules that he says Midwest City FD uses every single day and have helped them prepare for their ISO visits, they include:
- Training 3.0
- Daily Roster
“All of these will help provide the data that ISO’s looking for,” Major Richardson says. For example, ER report #1722 in the Incidents module gives you all the data needed for 1710 response times for ISO use. ER report #1623 is the best report to summarize your annual records and is extremely helpful to the ISO rep, he adds.
To read more about Midwest City Fire Department’s experience with ISO audits and Major Richardson’s expert tips, download the free PDF white paper here.
Beaver Lake Fire Department
For ER customer Beaver Lake Fire Department in Arkansas, implementing Emergency Reporting software greatly improved their records management, which ultimately helped them to be more prepared for their next ISO audit and contributed to an improved rating. “Beaver Lake Fire Department had a struggling paper records-keeping system which, as shown through a review of our 2007 ISO audit, negatively impacted our overall ISO score,” said Chief John Whisenant.
In just over one year of implementing ER, the department had a visit from ISO. Chief Whisenant utilized their RMS to prepare. “I pulled various data points from ER reports and was able to quickly pull requested data I had not prepared ahead of the ISO visit,” he said. With the help of ER the department was able to lower their ISO rating from a class six to a class four, and since then have been using ER to prepare for the next audit with the goal of lowering their rating again.
Out of all the ER modules, Chief Whisenant says that the training module is the one that helped them the most when preparing for their ISO audit. “In reviewing the [previous] ISO documents, our training points were terrible,” he said. “Reports specially tailored to ISO in the training module helped us adjust our training schedules to better align with ISO standards…we gained nearly five points in the training category as a direct result of the ER training module.”
To read more about how Beaver Lake Fire Department used their ER system to prepare for their ISO visit, download the case study here.
Hartford Fire Department
Fire Chief Reginald Freeman says Hartford Fire Department was the first in New England to earn the Class 1 designation for ISO and the first department in Connecticut to earn international accreditation, making it the only department to be both Class 1 and accredited in New England. Chief Freeman explained how having excellent data management through their Emergency Reporting records management system helped them achieve Class 1 designation and accreditation.
“Data must be accurate, reliable, and easy to query. Data sets should have the capability to be charted, graphed, or used quantitatively or transcribed qualitatively,” Chief Freeman said. “When inaccurate, incomplete, and unreliable data is compiled, not only does that impact your ability to achieve the highest ISO score possible or accreditation, it also compromises your ability to justify new resources, justify staffing, or request additional funding during budget preparations.”
Simply put, Chief Freeman says it boils down to: “Good data in, good data out. Bad data in, bad data out.” Read the blog post for more of Chief Freeman’s tips how fire departments can improve their ISO ratings.
Visit the ISO Resources page for more blog posts and articles.