Dwelling Protection Grade™ (DPG)

What is the DPG™?

One of the fire insurance classifications we establish and convey to FUS member companies is the Dwelling Protection Grade. The D.P.G. is a numerical system scaled from 1 to 5. One (1) is the highest grading possible and 5 indicates little or no recognized public fire protection. This grading reflects the ability of a community to handle fires in small buildings (e.g. single family dwellings).

How the Dwelling Protection Grading™ Works

The Dwelling Protection Grade™ program provides important, up-to-date information about municipal fire-protection services throughout the country. The DPG program provides a simple and accurate method of determining whether a fire department meets the necessary benchmarks to effectively fight fires in small buildings such as one and two family dwellings (detached dwellings with not more than two dwelling units).

Fire Underwriters Survey's Certified Fire Protection Specialists collect information about the quality of public fire protection in all built-up communities across Canada. In each of those communities, FUS analyzes the relevant data and assigns a Dwelling Protection Grade - a number from 1 to 5. Class 1 represents exemplary fire protection, and Class 5 indicates that the area's fire-suppression program does not meet the minimum criteria to be recognized for fire insurance grading purposes.

Canadian insurers of one and two family dwellings (Detached Dwellings) use Fire Underwriters Survey's Dwelling Protection Grades in calculating appropriate insurance rates/premiums. In general, the price of insurance in a community with a good DPG is substantially lower than in a community with a poor DPG, assuming all other factors are equal.


Dwelling Protection Grades - Minimum Requirements per Fire Station

Dwelling Protection Grade (DPG) Water Works System Fire Department Public Fire Protection Classification (PFPC)2 Minimum Requirements
Apparatus Firefighters
1 Water supply system designed in accordance with Fire Underwriters Survey standard "Water Supply for Public Fire Protection" with a relative classification of 5 or better Response from within 8 km by road of a triple combination pumper Minimum Response:
  • On-duty: 3 career fire fighters, plus
  • Off-duty: fire chief or other officer
Water Supply and Fire Department must grade PFPC Relative Class 5 or better
2 Water supply system designed in accordance with Fire Underwriters Survey standard "Water Supply for Public Fire Protection" with a relative classification of 6 or better Response from within 8 km by road of a triple combination pumper Minimum Response:
  • On-duty: 1 career fire fighter, plus
  • On-call: 15 auxiliary fire fighters
Water Supply and Fire Department must grade PFPC Relative Class 6 or better
3A Water supply system designed in accordance with, and meeting the minimum requirements of, Fire Underwriters Survey "Water Supply for Public Fire Protection" Response from within 8 km by road of a triple combination pumper 15 auxiliary fire fighters No Public Fire Protection Classification required
3B Not required - however fire department must have adequate equipment, training and access to approved water supplies to deliver standard shuttle service in accordance with NFPA 1142, Standard on Water Supplies for Suburban and Rural Fire Fighting 2 units required. Triple combination pumper plus a mobile water supply with a combined water carrying capacity of not less than 6820 L (1500 IG) 15 auxiliary fire fighters No Public Fire Protection Classification required
43 Not required - however fire department must have adequate equipment, training and access to approved water supplies to deliver shuttle service in accordance with NFPA 1142, Standard on Water Supplies for Suburban and Rural Fire Fighting 2 units required. Triple combination pumper plus a mobile water supply with a combined water carrying capacity of not less than 6820 L (1500 IG) 15 auxiliary fire fighters No Public Fire Protection Classification required
5 Unprotected communities or communities not qualifying for Grades 1, 2, 3A, 3B, or 4 above Unprotected communities or communities not qualifying for Grades 1, 2, 3A, 3B, or 4 above Unprotected communities or communities not qualifying for Grades 1, 2, 3A, 3B, or 4 above No Public Fire Protection Classification required

1 Refer to additional notes and requirements for interpretation

2 The P.F.P.C. is a sophisticated municipal fire protection grading system utilized for Commercial Lines insurance. PFPC fire insurance grades are scaled from 1 to 10. One (1) represents a high level of fire protection and 10 indicates little or no recognized fire protection. This system evaluates the ability of a community's fire defences to prevent and control major fires that may occur in commercial, industrial and institutional buildings and/or districts.

3 Dwelling Protection Grade 4 is reserved for communities that contract for fire protection services from fire service agencies with a Dwelling Protection Grade of 3B.

Requirements for Dwelling Protection Grade 4 are the same as for Dwelling Protection Grade 3B, however in some cases, an allowance may be considered for Dwelling Protection Grade 4 where all of the criteria for Dwelling Protection Grade 3B have been met with one exception. If more than one criteria has not been met (ex. less than 15 auxiliary fire fighters and a single pumper apparatus) Dwelling Protection Grade 5 is applied.

Where Dwelling Protection Grade 4 is applied, a signed letter of intent from the community is to be sent to Fire Underwriters Survey indicating that improvements will be made, within an agreed timeframe, to meet the criteria of Dwelling Protection Grade 3B.

It is important to note that the absolute minimum number of auxiliary fire fighters considered within the fire insurance grading is 10 and that maximum age of apparatus that can be considered is 30.

Terms of Reference

Standard Pumper

A triple combination pumper that is equipped with a major pump, water tank and hose compartment. Fire apparatus should be designed and constructed in accordance with ULC S515, "Standard for Automobile Fire Fighting Apparatus" or NFPA 1901, "Standard for Automotive Fire Apparatus". See notes. Used or rebuilt fire apparatus must be subjected to ULC or Underwriters service tests to be recognized for fire insurance grading purposes.

Standard Tanker Shuttle Service

A system that is used to move water from a reliable water source to a fire event. To be recognized for fire insurance grading purposes, the capacity to deliver this service must meet the minimum criteria specified in NFPA 1142, Standard on Water Supplies for Suburban and Rural Fire Fighting.

Accredited Superior Tanker Shuttle Service Service An accredited system that is used to move water from a reliable water source to a fire event. To be accredited for fire insurance grading purposes, the capacity to deliver this service must:
  1. meet the minimum criteria specified in NFPA 1142, Standard on Water Supplies for Suburban and Rural Fire Fighting; and
  2. be tested in accordance with Fire Underwriters Survey Superior Tanker Shuttle Service Procedure;
  3. be capable of providing a minimum flow rate of
    • 1200 LPM (265 IGPM) for 2 hrs; or
    • 1820 LPM (400 IGPM) for 1 hrs;
  4. be accredited and listed as such in the Superior Shuttle Accreditation registry maintained by a registrar appointed by Fire Underwriters Survey.
Fire Fighter, auxiliary A person who is not employed full time, for monetary compensation, for fire fighting, but is trained and equipped as a fire fighter and available to respond to fire calls through a defined arrangement (ex. on-call). Minimum requirements:
  1. Training/Fitness: Fire Fighter I per NFPA 1001 (as relates to providing structural fire protection) or equivalent AND trains a minimum of 48 hrs per year (documented),
  2. Equipment: Personal Protective Clothing as defined in NFPA 1001.
  3. Availability* : lives and works in community and is available to respond to fires
Fire Fighter, career A person who is employed full time, for monetary compensation, whose primary duty is fire fighting. Minimum requirements:
  1. Training/Fitness: Fire Fighter II per NFPA 1001 or equivalent AND trains a minimum of 2 hours per shift (4 hours on 24 hour shifts)
  2. Equipment: Personal Protective Clothing as defined in NFPA 1001.
  3. Availability:
    • during shifts is in fire station ready to respond
    • off-shift may have arrangement to respond on-call*
Personal Protective Clothing

Personal Protective Clothing (PPC). The full complement of garments fire fighters are normally required to wear while on emergency scene, including turnout coat, protective trousers, fire-fighting boots, fire-fighting gloves, a protective hood, and a helmet with eye protection.

Minimum water supply Absolute minimum recognized municipal-type water supply system requirements:
  1. Storage Volume: 110,000 L (24,000 IG)
  2. Delivery: Pipe distribution network with listed fire hydrants
  3. Flow Capacity: Maximum Daily Consumption + minimum
    • 910 LPM (200 IGPM) for 2 hours, or
    • 1820 LPM (400 IGPM) for 1 hour
  4. Residual Pressure: 20 psi residual pressure during flow
Detached Dwelling

refers to One- and Two-Family Detached Dwellings (buildings containing not more than two dwelling units) in which each dwelling unit is occupied by members of a single family with not more than three outsiders, if any, accommodated in rented rooms.

Typical Detached Dwelling refers to One- and Two-Family Detached Dwellings:
  • with no structural exposures (buildings with an area exceeding 9.3 sq.m) within 30 m;
  • with no unusual fire risks (such as wood shake roofs); AND
  • with an effective area (all storeys excluding basements) not exceeding 334 sq.m (3600 sq.ft).
Fire Hall

An "emergency response facility" where fire department apparatus and equipment are housed, protected against harm, and made readily accessible for use in emergencies. The fire hall is normally the location where fire fighters respond from. Other primary purposes include training and administration of the fire department.

Emergency Response Facility (ERF)

A structure or a portion of a structure that houses emergency response agency equipment or personnel for response to alarms.
Examples of ERFs include a fire station, a police station, an ambulance station, a rescue station, a ranger station, and similar facilities.

* To be fully credited, on-call fire fighters (auxiliary or career) should be located within a reasonable travel distance to the fire station.

Dwelling Protection Grade Criteria

Notes regarding the Dwelling Protection Grade System:

  1. The Dwelling Protection Grade System provides an approximate measure of the fire defense capabilities of a community with respect to providing structural fire response to typical detached dwellings (as defined in Terms of Reference).
  2. Recognized response distances are limited to 8km by road of continuously accessible (and appropriately maintained) public roads. Response from within 5km by road is preferred due to reduction in response times. Private roads may be recognized where evidence of maintenance reliability is evaluated and accepted by Fire Underwriters Survey.
  3. Response times are expected to be delayed to varying degrees in cases where auxiliary fire fighters are responding due to the increased turn-out time as compared to on-duty fire fighters that respond directly from the Emergency Response Facility (fire station).
  4. Fire departments desiring fire insurance grading recognition should be organized on a sound financial basis such as a tax levy. Areas organized on a society or subscription basis will not be recognized because of the difficulty in identifying residents within the protected area who are current members of the society and the lack of guaranteed funds to adequately finance a fire department year round.

Minimum criteria for Dwelling Protection Grade 1

Public Water Supply

Water supply system designed in accordance with Fire Underwriters Survey standard "Water Supply for Public Fire Protection" with a relative classification of 5 or better. In general terms, to achieve a relative classification of 5, the water supply system should be designed to be capable of providing required fire flows simultaneously with Maximum Daily Consumption at a minimum residual pressure of 138 kPa (20 psi) and should be designed with redundancies throughout key components to ensure the capacity to deliver required fire flows is not adversely affected during foreseeable single point failure scenarios.

Fire Department

Apparatus

For each fire hall with a Dwelling Protection Grade 1, fire apparatus must include a minimum of one triple combination pumper rated at not less than 3000 LPM (625 Igpm at 150 psi) and designed in accordance with:

  • Underwriters' Laboratories of Canada (ULC) S515 Automobile Fire Fighting Apparatus, or
  • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1901 Standard for Automotive Fire Apparatus

Credit for fire apparatus will be based on evidence of reliability indicators including the listing of apparatus by ULC, design specifications, fire pump service test records, age, maintenance history, etc. Apparatus is evaluated from the perspective of the capacity to provide structural fire protection.

To be credited, apparatus must be stored in a suitably constructed and arranged fire hall.

Fire Force

For each fire hall with a Dwelling Protection Grade 1, the credited available responding fire force will include at a minimum:

  • 3 career fire fighters on duty 24 hrs/day, 365 days/year
  • 1 Fire Chief (required to respond but not required to be on-duty)

Emergency Communications

An adequate and reliable means of receiving alarms of fire and dispatching fire fighters is necessary (ex. public fire number, pagers etc.).

Fire Protection Service Area

The boundary of the protected area must be clearly established and registered with the Provincial Government.

Minimum criteria for Dwelling Protection Grade 2

Public Water Supply

Water supply system designed in accordance with Fire Underwriters Survey standard "Water Supply for Public Fire Protection" with a relative classification of 6 or better. In general terms, to achieve a relative classification of 6, the water supply system should be designed to be capable of providing required fire flows simultaneously with Maximum Daily Consumption at a minimum residual pressure of 138 kPa (20 psi) and should be designed with redundancies throughout the majority of key components to ensure the capacity to deliver required fire flows is not adversely affected during the majority of foreseeable single point failure scenarios.

Fire Department

Apparatus

For each fire hall with a Dwelling Protection Grade 2, fire apparatus must include a minimum of one triple combination pumper rated at not less than 3000 LPM (625 Igpm at 150 psi) and designed in accordance with:

  • Underwriters' Laboratories of Canada (ULC) S515 Automobile Fire Fighting Apparatus, or
  • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1901 Standard for Automotive Fire Apparatus

Credit for fire apparatus will be based on evidence of reliability indicators including the listing of apparatus by ULC, design specifications, fire pump service test records, age, maintenance history, etc. Apparatus is evaluated from the perspective of the capacity to provide structural fire protection.

To be credited, apparatus must be stored in a suitably constructed and arranged fire hall.

Fire Force

For each fire hall with a Dwelling Protection Grade 2, the credited available responding fire force will include at a minimum:

  • 1 career fire fighter on duty 24 hrs/day, 365 days/year
  • 1 Fire Chief (required to respond but not required to be on-duty)
  • 15 auxiliary fire fighters scheduled to respond

Emergency Communications

An adequate and reliable means of receiving alarms of fire and dispatching fire fighters is necessary (ex. public fire number, pagers etc.).

Fire Protection Service Area

The boundary of the protected area must be clearly established and registered with the Provincial Government.

Minimum criteria for Dwelling Protection Grade 3A

Public Water Supply

Water supply system designed in accordance with Fire Underwriters Survey standard "Water Supply for Public Fire Protection" must meet all minimum standards specified in the document. In general terms, to meet all minimum standards, the water supply system should be designed to be capable of providing required fire flows simultaneously with Maximum Daily Consumption at a minimum residual pressure of 138 kPa (20 psi), and have not less than 110,000 Litres (24,000 I.gal) in available storage.

Fire Department

Apparatus

For each fire hall with a Dwelling Protection Grade 3A, fire apparatus must include a minimum of one triple combination pumper rated at not less than 3000 LPM (625 Igpm at 150 psi) and designed in accordance with:

  • Underwriters' Laboratories of Canada (ULC) S515 Automobile Fire Fighting Apparatus, or
  • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1901 Standard for Automotive Fire Apparatus

Credit for fire apparatus will be based on evidence of reliability indicators including the listing of apparatus by ULC, design specifications, fire pump service test records, age, maintenance history, etc. Apparatus is evaluated from the perspective of the capacity to provide structural fire protection.

To be credited, apparatus must be stored in a suitably constructed and arranged fire hall.

Fire Force

For each fire hall with a Dwelling Protection Grade 3A, the credited available responding fire force will include at a minimum:

  • 1 Fire Chief (required to respond but not required to be on-duty)
  • 15 auxiliary fire fighters scheduled to respond

Emergency Communications

An adequate and reliable means of receiving alarms of fire and dispatching fire fighters is necessary (ex. public fire number, pagers etc.).

Fire Protection Service Area

The boundary of the protected area must be clearly established and registered with the Provincial Government.

Minimum criteria for Dwelling Protection Grade 3B

Alternative Water Supply

A Public municipal-type water supply is not required for DPG 3B, however fire department must have adequate equipment, training and access to approved alternative water supplies to deliver standard shuttle service in accordance with NFPA 1142, Standard on Water Supplies for Suburban and Rural Fire Fighting. A formal plan for use of alternative water supplies must be in place and available for review detailing the alternative water supply points and characteristics. To be credited, fire department access to alternative water supplies must be 24 hours per day and 365 days per year. Refill capacity from alternative water supplies using drafting techniques requires a pump that has a minimum capacity of 450 LPM (100 Igpm) at 275-415 kPa (40-60 psi).

Fire Department

Apparatus

For each fire hall with a Dwelling Protection Grade 3B, fire apparatus must include:

  • a minimum of one triple combination pumper rated at not less than 3000 LPM (625 Igpm at 150 psi), AND
  • a minimum of one mobile water supply apparatus with:
    • a minimum rated water carrying capacity of 4000 L (880 I.gal), AND

For full credit apparatus must be designed in accordance with:

  • Underwriters' Laboratories of Canada (ULC) S515 Automobile Fire Fighting Apparatus, or
  • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1901 Standard for Automotive Fire Apparatus

In addition, the combined water carrying capacity of the 2 units (noted above) must be at least 6800 Litres (1500 I.gal) total and the fire department must have a transfer system capable of supplying the pumper with water as needed. This may be accomplished by pump or dump valve to a portable tank of at least 4550 Litres (1000 I.gal) capacity.

Credit for fire apparatus will be based on evidence of reliability indicators including the listing of apparatus by ULC, design specifications, fire pump service test records, age, maintenance history, etc. Apparatus is evaluated from the perspective of the capacity to provide structural fire protection.

To be credited, apparatus must be stored in a suitably constructed and arranged fire hall.

Fire Force

For each fire hall with a Dwelling Protection Grade 3B, the credited available responding fire force will include at a minimum:

  • 1 Fire Chief (required to respond but not required to be on-duty)
  • 15 auxiliary fire fighters scheduled to respond in addition to the number of personnel required to conduct mobile water supply shuttle operations

Emergency Communications

An adequate and reliable means of receiving alarms of fire and dispatching fire fighters is necessary (ex. public fire number, pagers etc.).

Fire Protection Service Area

The boundary of the protected area must be clearly established and registered with the Provincial Government.

Minimum criteria for a Dwelling Protection Grade 4

Dwelling Protection Grade 4 is reserved for communities that contract for fire protection services from fire service agencies with a Dwelling Protection Grade of 3B.

Requirements for Dwelling Protection Grade 4 are the same as for Dwelling Protection Grade 3B, however in some cases, an allowance may be considered for Dwelling Protection Grade 4 where all of the criteria for Dwelling Protection Grade 3B have been met with one exception.