The Columbus Fire Department’s public-protection classification with the Insurance Service Organization/Public Protection Classification has improved from Class 4 to Class 3.

The new rating places the department in the top 10 percent of fire departments nationwide and among the top 4 percent of departments in the state, said Capt. Mike Wilson, Columbus Fire Department spokesman.

The Insurance Service Organization collects information about municipal fire-protection efforts in communities and assigns a Public Protection Classification — a number from 1 to 10. Class 1 generally represents superior property fire protection, and Class 10 indicates the area’s fire-suppression program does not meet the organization’s minimum criteria.

A large number of U.S. insurance companies providing coverage to homes, and businesses use the classifications to calculate premiums. In general, the price of fire insurance in a community with a good classification is substantially lower than in one with a poor classification, assuming all other factors are equal.

To determine the city’s rating, Insurance Service Organization staff visited Columbus to observe and evaluate features of the city’s fire-protection systems, rating the city’s emergency communications, fire department and water supply. Fire departments accumulate points in areas including training, equipment, manpower and response times.

The current rating change took effect Dec. 1.

Achieving this benchmark was a collaborative effort by the Columbus City Utilities, Bartholomew County Emergency Operations Center and the Columbus Fire Department, Columbus Fire Chief Mike Compton said.

“What the rating really reflects is the city’s dedication toward public safety,” he said.