Recently, the Texas State Fire Marshal’s office announced that the Insurance Services Office (ISO) is recommending that DeSoto’s Public Protection Classification be changed to Class 1 for all properties located within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant or water supply suction point and within 5 miles of a fire station and Class 1X for all other class-rated properties. DeSoto is currently rated a Class 2. The new rating classification is effective April 1, 2016. “The improved rating is about more than bragging rights,” said Jeremiah Quarles CEO of the DeSoto Economic Development Corporation. “From a private development standpoint, the ISO 1 rating means that businesses who choose to invest in our city will now have an increased level of confidence that the City of DeSoto is doing everything possible to protect and improve their investment.” The Insurance Service Office (ISO) is a New Jersey-based advisory organization that serves the property and casualty insurance industry by providing inspection services, insurance coverage form development and statistical services. ISO classifies communities from 1 (the best) to 10 (the worst) based on how well they score on the ISO Fire Suppression Rating Schedule which grades such features as water distribution, fire department equipment and manpower and fire alarm facilities. “Insurance companies use the ISO classification to help set their base premium rates for residential and commercial properties,” said DeSoto City Councilmember James Zander, CLU of James Zander & Associates Insurance. “This exemplary rating for DeSoto is considered favorably by insurers.” “The improved ranking shows that our city and its firefighters, under the leadership of Chief Jerry Duffield, are doing all they can to keep DeSoto citizens safe and to keep insurance rates as low as possible,” said Jeremiah Quarles. Of the over 48,000 fire departments in the United States, only about 100 have attained Class 1 status. Statistically this ranks DeSoto in the 99.8% percentile of fire departments in communities across the nation. Of the 2,681 fire departments in Texas, currently only 26 have obtained Class 1 status. This ranks DeSoto in the 99 % percentile of fire departments in Texas communities. “The Class 1 rating represents a cumulative score and evaluation of DeSoto’s fire service, water system, and emergency dispatch,” said DeSoto Fire Chief Jerry Duffield. “This team effort reflects on the dedication and determination of the leadership and personnel in these departments, as well as city-wide, to give the citizens of DeSoto the most effective and efficient service possible.” “I would like to thank my staff and personnel for assisting in this evaluation process. The lessons learned will only make us better,” said Chief Duffield. “I would also like to thank City Manager Dr. Tarron Richardson, Mayor Carl Sherman and the City Council for the support the fire department receives, without which, none of this would have been possible,” continued Chief Duffield. An official at the Texas Fire Marshal’s Office commented that, “You (DeSoto Fire Rescue) are one of the elite.” “I can’t express the pride I have in this department and the appreciation for the support and encouragement we receive from the citizens of DeSoto,” said Chief Duffield. “They deserve this and I am glad we could deliver.” Representatives from the State Fire Marshal’s office announced the new rating at the DeSoto City Council Meeting on March 15, 2016.