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7.5 million fire hydrants!

Need a fire hydrant? ISO has millions of them. We reached another important data milestone at the start of 2015, with 7.5 million hydrants plotted and mapped in our national database. You can read all about it in our recent news release.

Why is this data important? Just as fire departments rely on hydrants for water to fight fires, insurance carriers rely on hydrant information to underwrite property insurance policies properly.

ISO tracks hydrants and other water sources as part of our Public Protection Classification (PPC®) program, which provides an objective standard for fire and insurance purposes. Water supply, hydrant location, water system performance (flow testing), and hydrant maintenance make up 40 percent of a community’s PPC grade. Referencing national standards established by the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), ISO evaluates a water provider’s hydrant type, hydrant inspection, and fire flow testing programs. Properly functioning hydrants and their locations are critical in reducing the time it takes to supply water for fire suppression operations.

Our methodology includes determining the amount of water available for fire protection at representative locations throughout the community compared with a representative need. We calculate the needed fire flow (NFF) for individual buildings based on the building’s area, construction, occupancy, and exposure. We then determine the water flow capabilities at that location and calculate an adequacy ratio considering the NFF and availability (water flow capability).

ISO works with local water authorities to identify individual fire hydrant locations as part of our hydrant distribution and water system analytics. Each year, I meet with many water providers throughout the country to collect data, make sure of the accuracy of our information, and present seminars on our program.

As we continue to enhance our database, let’s not forget the importance of those little fire hydrants — it adds up. For more information about participating in our water outreach program, feel free to contact me at or go to to see why water is so important to fire protection capabilities.

Anthony Zampella

Anthony Zampella is the national water resources manager of ISO Community Hazard Mitigation.

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