Almost four years after a pair of devastating blazes raised questions about the District’s fire protection system, city residents have a new reason to have confidence.

D.C. Water alerts me to the fact that the Insurance Services Office recently completed its review of the District’s firefighting corps and water supply, concluding that the city rates a Class 2 on a scale that ranges from Class 1 to Class 10.

Class 2 is equivalent to the 98th percentile for fire protection among the more than 48,000 fire systems rated by ISO, which evaluates municipalities on behalf of insurance carriers, who use the data to set their rates.

The review comes in the wake of the same-day May 2007 blazes that consumed Eastern Market and the Georgetown branch of the D.C. Public Library and the July 2009 blaze at philanthropist Peggy Cooper Cafritz’s Palisades mansion. The fires raised concerns about the sufficiency of the water supply in some neighborhoods and about maintenance of fire hydrants citywide.

D.C. Water has special reason to brag, as the city rated Class 1 for the water supply portion of the review. The elements handled by the D.C. Office of Unified Communications also won top marks. The part of the review relevant to the Fire and Emergency Medical Services department won Class 2 honors. D.C. Water and FEMS have collaborated in an effort to improve hydrant maintenance and to give firefighters better access to water-main data while they work.

The full report:

Public Protection Classification Report_October 2010