Johnson City earns top rating for fighting fires

JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – Johnson City officials announced Thursday that its Insurance Service Office Public Protection Classification has increased from a 2/2X rating to a top rating of 1.

According to the news release, the PPC evaluates a local fire department’s capacity to respond to and fight structure fires.

“We are extremely proud to be among just three cities in the state and 132 in the country to hold a PPC of 1,” City Manager Pete Peterson said. “This puts us in the top 1 percent of communities in the country when it comes to fire service for our citizens. This has been the primary focus of our chief and the administrative staff in the Fire Department. Because of their efforts, we are more efficient and effective which, at the end of the day, saves lives and property.”

Since 1982 the city had a PPC rating of 3 and improved to a 2/2X in 2015.

“Our firefighters really stepped up and did a fantastic job to meet requirements for the 1 rating,” Johnson City Fire Chief Mark Scott said. “We focused a great deal on fire prevention, particularly our smoke detector installation program. Several years ago, the city’s fire death rate was seven times the national average. Since that time, we have installed more than 600 smoke detectors in homes. And I’m happy to say that we have not had any fire deaths in the city in the past two years.”

According to the release, part of the evaluation process involves a review of Water and Sewer Services Department and 911 communications.

“Our staff has worked diligently to improve our facilities, equipment and processes to get us where we are today,” Tom Witherspoon, director of Water and Sewer Services, said. “The rating is really a testament to the cooperation between City departments. We are all partners, and we rely on each other every day to provide the best services possible.”

According to the release, Washington County 911 also “updated its generator to meet ISO standards, added software for dispatching calls, and implemented quality assurance and training for dispatchers.”

“Fire, Water and Sewer Services and 911 may be the only departments that ISO evaluates but there are many others with whom we couldn’t have made the necessary improvements to earn a 1,” Scott said. “Information Technology, Development Services … this list goes on. We are grateful to all of our City partners and the Board of Commissioners for the investments they’ve made.”

According to the news release, an ISO PPC rating is on a scale from 1-10, with 1 being the highest. The ratings are an important part of the underwriting process at insurance companies. Improved ratings could mean reduced insurance premiums for many property owners.

Copyright 2016 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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