Johnson City retains top ISO rating

Published 8:27 am Wednesday, March 6, 2024

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The City of Johnson City is pleased to announce that it has retained its Insurance Service Office (ISO) Public Protection Classification (PPC) rating of a 1. ISO’s PPC service evaluates the capacity of a local fire department to respond to and fight structure fires. Of the 838 ISO-classified communities in Tennessee, only eight are classified as a 1. 

“In emergency response, achieving an ISO rating of 1 by the Fire Department stands as a remarkable achievement, reflecting commendable efforts of multiple departments and personnel,” said City Manager Cathy Ball.

A maximum of 50 points of the overall score is based on the Fire Department. Categories for point distribution include the number of fire stations across the area, firefighter training, emergency response and maintenance, testing and inventory of equipment.

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“Retaining the 1 rating reflects the excellence of not only the women and men who make up the Johnson City Fire Department but also Water and Sewer Services and Washington County 911. We work together daily to provide outstanding service to the people of Johnson City. We would like to thank the City Commission for the funding that helps us to achieve this excellence. The work does not stop here. We are always striving to improve in all aspects to serve the people of Johnson City,” said Johnson City Fire Department Chief David Bell. 

Since Johnson City’s last ISO-PPC rating was issued in 2016, the Fire Department has added new hydrants throughout the City, added personnel, replaced dated and worn fire apparatus with state-of-the-art equipment, and improved data analysis to better forecast trends and patterns.

While the Fire Department carries the rating, the evaluation process involves a review of the Water and Sewer Services Department and 911 communications. The rating is a compilation of individual scores of the Fire Department (50 percent), Water and Sewer Services (40 percent), and Washington County 911 (10 percent). This helps to encourage continual collaboration, communication and coordination between departments.

Water and Sewer Services has made a number of capital improvements that helped earn the ISO-PPC 1 rating including system investments to improve reliability, resiliency and robustness. As a result, the water system has the capacity to provide needed hydrant flows in the event of a fire.

“Through the dedicated efforts of our staff, we have maintained facilities and daily operations that embody the highest standards,” said Director Tom Witherspoon. “This rating reflects the collaborative spirit among City departments. We function as partners, depending on each other daily to deliver the highest quality services.”

Washington County 911 also plays a role in the ISO-PPC 1 rating. 911 is ranked on how well it dispatches fire alarms and how effectively the Fire Department receives the information.

“The Emergency Communication Center works hand-in-hand with the Johnson City Fire Department to keep response times low. On average, we have recorded answering times of 15 seconds for 90 percent of 911 calls. We are always working to improve to provide the best service for the people of our growing community,” said Washington County 911 Director Greg Matherly.

Of the 38,195 ISO Community Rated Systems across the nation, only 498 are rated as a 1. Many insurance companies use ISO-PPC classifications for underwriting and calculating premiums for residential, commercial and industrial properties.

“This rating is a recognition of the tremendous work of our staff and how that directly benefits our community,” said Ball “I extend my gratitude to all our City partners and the Board of Commissioners for their valuable investments.”