SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Fire Department has a lot to be proud of. The department was awarded a Class 1 Public Protection Classification (PPC) rating by the Insurance Services Office.

This is not only the highest score a fire protection community can receive, but less than 1 percent of the nation’s communities are given this top honor.

“Public safety is our number one priority, and this new classification shows that our investment in protecting San Antonio residents is paying off,” City Manager Sheryl Sculley said in a press release. “The community can rest assured that we have one of the best fire departments in the country. Along with the City’s AAA bond rating, this new recognition from the Insurance Services Office shows that our city is tops in terms of financial management and public safety.”

According to the press release, in the last 10 years San Antonio has added 221 uniformed positions, five EMS units, a state-of-the-art Emergency Operations Center and high rise, boarding home, and hazardous materials inspectors.

During the same time, more than $60 million has been allocated for three new fire stations and the replacement of nine stations. Despite rapid growth and an increase in calls for emergency service, the SAFD’s average response times have remained steady at 7 minutes and 50 seconds.

“Being recognized with a top ISO rating is something that all citizens of San Antonio should be excited about, as it is proof SAFD is among the nation’s best,” Fire Chief Charles Hood said in a press release. “This Class 1 rating is a testament to the sacrifices and hard work of the sworn and civilian men and women behind SAFD.”

Individual insurance companies can set premiums based on the Class 1 rating, according to the press release. Residents are encouraged to check with their insurance company to determine whether they will be impacted by this new classification.

SAFD was officially awarded the rating at a city council meeting Thursday morning by members of the Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office.