Much like Moody’s and Fitch rate credit risk, Insurance Services Office rates fire risk. And the central valley city of Newman recently underwent a rating drop.

Newman is now ranked a “5” on a scale from 1 – which means exemplary – to ten – which fails to meet minimum standards. The city had previously earned a “3.” Despite the downgrade, the city’s rating still places it in the top half of all communities in California.

The rating takes into account a variety of issues that could impact fire services and response, including number of trained responders, training facilities in the city, and water pressure available at the hydrant.

The city’s rating suffered in all three categories, and officials have a plan to address their deficiencies. For instance, the city is already planning to build an additional tank to improve water flow, and they continue to work to recruit volunteer firefighters. However, building a tower or smoke room for training isn’t practical, especially when two nearby towns allow them to use their facilities.


The independent company which assesses community fire protection systems and issues a ranking which can be factored into property insurance rates has issued a report downgrading Newman’s standing.

Local officials questioned a portion of the criteria on which the report was based, and said they are crafting an improvement plan which they hope will boost Newman’s ranking.

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