It was clear soon after the Sofa Super Store fire that there’s something wrong with a “Class 1” fire rating for a department with a host of problems from staffing to equipment to command structure. We reported on the questionable value of a Class 1 ISO rating last fall.

The rating agency will be in town later this month to evaluate the city’s rating after the June 18 Sofa Super Store fire that killed nine firefighters.

Jay Lowery predicts the city will preserve its rating (I believe he’s right in large part to the changes the city has pledged to make). But in order for that to pass muster with critics, the ISO will have to improve its own ratings system. They shouldn’t be in the business of rewarding inadequate departments. A Class 1 rating should be the best of the best. If not, what encouragement does a department have to improve?

If ISO doesn’t change its standards, the state needs to step up with its own comprehensive rating system.