POSTED: 4:54 PM Jul 13 2015 UPDATED: 5:00 PM Jul 13 2015 Johnson City earns improved ISO rating
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -
Johnson City has announced it has a new ― and better — Insurance Service Office rating that's put its fire department in elite company in Tennessee.
The Insurance Service Office, or ISO, evaluates the capacity of a fire department to respond to and fight structure fires for property insurance purposes. On the scale, ten is the worst and one is the best.
After 33 years as a three, Johnson City is now a two ‒ and it took improvements in training, response times and staffing. "A lot of those had to do with documentation and validation of our efforts, especially in the area of leadership development," says Captain Jason Powell of the training division.
It's good news for the fire department and for property owners, considering insurance companies use the rating as a guideline for premiums. Rachel Baker of Comer Insurance hopes business and homeowners will see a decrease. "The average is about $1,300 for the year. Hopefully we would look at maybe $800 to $900, that would be wonderful," she says.
Powell says the upgrade puts Johnson City in an elite group. "There are less than 100 in the state and less than 1,000 across the country that carry an ISO 2," he says.
If you look at the numbers, Johnson City, with a population of just 65,000, is a two. Knoxville and Chattanooga, much larger cities with populations well over 150,000, are both threes. "It's just a source of pride for our department," Powell says.
And compared to Tennessee cities with similar populations, Johnson City's upgrade is impressive, Powell says. Jackson, with a population of 68,000, is a three. Franklin, with a population of 67,000, is a four.
In Powell's eyes, it's proof of an efficient system between fire, water and 911 services. "We have an amazing water system, and 911 has really made a lot of improvements to help us be able to get notified quickly, get us on the road and rolling toward that emergency," he says.
Powell told News 5 he feels confident that the City of Johnson City will receive the highest possible rating, a one, in the coming years with more improvements.