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Fire Underwriters Survey (FUS) Information Sheet

Fire Underwriters Survey (FUS) is a national organization administered by SCM Risk Management Services Inc, formerly CGI Insurance Business Services, formerly the Insurers’ Advisory Organization and Canadian Underwriters Association.  FUS provides data on public fire protection for fire insurance statistical work and underwriting purposes of subscribing insurance companies.  The other primary function of the FUS is to provide advice to municipalities on deficiencies in their fire protection capabilities, and to make recommendation on improvements to enable them to better deal with fire protection problems.

Fire underwriters Survey Certified Fire Protection Specialists conduct detailed field surveys of the fire risks and fire defenses maintained in municipalities across Canada.  The results of the surveys are then used to establish the Public Fire Protection Classification (PFPC) for each community.  The PFPC is also used by underwriters to determine the amount of risk they are willing to assume in a given community or section of a community.  The FUS also uses PFPC information to develop the IBC Dwelling Protection Grade (DPG), which applies to single-family residences.

The overall intent of the grading system is to provide a measure of the ability of the protective facilities of a community to prevent and control the major fires that may be expected to occur by evaluating in detail the adequacy, reliability, strength and efficiency of these protective facilities. The schedule used does not consider past fire loss records but, rather, fire potential based on the physical structure and makeup of the community.

In the application of the schedule, the fire protection capabilities within a municipality are measured against a recognized standard of fire protection. The scope of a standard Fire Underwriters Survey Assessment typically includes the following:

  • Community Risk Assessment
  • Water Supplies for Public Fire Protection Assessment
  • Fire Department Assessment
  • Fire Prevention and Fire Safety Control Assessment
  • Emergency Communications Assessment

Of particular interest to rural municipalities that have a limited water distribution capability within the town or rural area, is the ability to demonstrate the fire department or mutual aid districts ability to perform “Tanker Shuttle Operations” to support fire fighting operations in areas of the town or municipality where fire hydrant service is not available or flow is limited.  This operation would need to be demonstrated in the presence of a FUS representative, and a minimum of 900 litres/min maintained for two hours.

Specific to fire apparatus, FUS requires fire apparatus to meet either the ULC-S515 - 04 or the NFPA 1901 Standard for Firefighting Apparatus Construction, Equipment and Testing.  The following schedule is used as a guideline for apparatus replacement as part of the survey: 

  • Major cities 12 – 15 yrs, with an additional 5 yrs in reserve.
  • Medium size cities   15 yrs,  with additional 5 yrs as back up, and 5 yrs in reserve
  • Small municipalities  20 yrs, with an additional 5 yrs second line or reserve

Please see the attached detailed bulletin from Fire Underwriters regarding Insurance Grading Recognition of Used or Rebuilt Fire Apparatus.

Insurance Grading Recognition of Used or Rebuilt Fire Apparatus (PDF File)

Municipalities have the option of arranging for a survey at any time, however may be responsible for the costs of the survey.  This is worth considering if there have been significant advances to the community fire protection program including the water distribution capability in recent years.
Further information on the Fire Underwriters Survey (FUS) is available by contacting Risk Management Services – Western Canada Office at the address and contact information listed below, or by viewing their website at www.fireunderwriters.ca.

Risk Management Services
Western Canada Office
Fire Underwriters Survey
3999 Henning Drive
Burnaby, B.C.    V5C 6P9