Lewisburg's fire department is one of the best in U.S.

Friday, October 17, 2014
Pictured outside the Lewisburg Fire Department are, from left, Mayor Jim Bingham, Water and Sewer Board memebers Bill Marsh and Billy Hill, Fire Chief Larry Williams, Water and Wastewater Department Manager Kenneth Carr, and City Manager Randall Dunn.

By Karen Hall

Editor

On a scale of one to 10, the City of Lewisburg's fire department now has a Public Protection Classification of 3, which places it in the top 4 percent in Tennessee, and top 6 percent in the country.

It's up to individual insurance companies, but with this rating, owners of homes and businesses in the city could see a reduction in their property insurance premiums.

The city received the letter announcing the rating earlier this month, and it was discussed at a work session on Oct. 6, but not made public until this week.

"When Chief Williams took over, we had a 5," said City Manager Randall Dunn at the work session. "When MTAS was here, the rating was 4. Now we rate 3."

"The applause has to go to our guys," said Williams. "They've done a great job. It also reflects the quality of our dispatchers and our water department. It's taken a lot of people and a lot of hard work" to get to this point.

"For a city our size, to have our police chief the president of the chiefs' association, and our fire department in that category -- other cities our size are envious," said Dunn. "It's really a feather in Lewisburg's cap."

According to a city press release, there are 47,000 fire-response jurisdictions in the United States, and only 2,410 departments have an ISO rating of 3.0.

"A third of all fire districts are graded Class 9 -- the lowest recognized protection -- or Class 10. ISO statistics show that those communities have losses at least twice as high as their better-protected neighbors," states the ISO website. The website (www.isogov.com) includes a color-coded map of Public Protection Classifications, which shows the majority of Tennessee ratings are between 1 and 8, while Mississippi, outside of the big cities, is all 9s and 10s, the worst state in the southeast.

"The outstanding rating of 3.0 will certainly play a part when the insurance companies decide what business to write, coverages to offer, or prices to charge for personal or commercial property insurance," stated the press release.

"There were may facets that went into receiving the outstanding ISO rating," the press release continued. "Twenty-five percent of the grade comes from having a good strong water support system, which is attributed to Kenneth Carr, director, and the team at Lewisburg Water and Wastewater. Another 25 percent is our Emergency 911 system ... The Fire Department portion equates to 50 percent of the grade.

"Chief Larry Williams and his team of firefighters prepared for this by completing numerous hours of annual continuing fire suppression training, pre-planning for emergency response for residential, commercial and industrial properties, (and) maintaining adequate manpower and equipment," the press release added.

"This is just another example of the department's unparalleled dedication to fire fighting and protecting and serving the good citizens of Lewisburg," concluded the press release.

In other discussion at the work session, Williams announced Jason Davis was stepping down from the position of assistant fire chief.

"He wanted to go back to being just a firefighter," Williams said.

The assistant chief's job involves a lot of administrative work and time on the computer, Williams explained.

The new assistant chief is Brandon Pritts, who, in spite of his youthful appearance, has 17 years of experience with the fire department.

"He's very qualified, and very skilled in IT," Williams said.