Columbia Fire Department Ranks Best in State

At a press conference held in Columbia’s Fire Station No. 1, Columbia Fire Chief Lee Bergeron and City Manager Tony Massey shared that the community’s most recent evaluation by the Insurance Services Office (ISO) resulted in their “Public Protection Classification” (PPC) rating being upgraded from Class 3 to Class 1. “Today, we are announcing to the community, what we already know, that Columbia has one of the finest fire departments not only in Tennessee, but in the nation as a whole” stated Columbia City Manager Tony Massey, “the efforts by the Columbia Fire Department, Columbia Power and Water System (CPWS), and E-911 cannot be overstated.”

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“Not only is this a first in Columbia’s history, but we are the only Class 1 fire department in Tennessee,” stated Chief Bergeron. Columbia becomes one of 97 communities in the nation, representing less than one percent of all departments in the U.S., to receive a Class 1 ISO rating. This prestigious rating indicates an exemplary ability to respond to fires. The City of Columbia’s rating is based on three factors: 1) the Columbia Fire Department’s emergency communications systems, which provide the means for the department to receive and respond to fire alarms, 2) the fire department’s response and initial attack capabilities (including an evaluation of equipment, operations, and geographic distribution of fire companies, 3) and the community’s water supply system.

City Manager Tony Massey, Columbia Fire Chief Lee Bergeron, Executive Director Wes Kelley of Columbia Power and Water Systems, and Maury County E-911 Director Mark Gandee shared how various improvements over the last five years in emergency communications, fire services, and water supply infrastructure have succeeded in lowering the community’s overall risk for fire-related losses. Wil Evans, President of the Maury County Chamber and Economic Alliance, thanked city officials and commented on the benefit that the new rating will have on industrial recruitment and business retention efforts.

The City of Columbia Fire Department (CFD) was first founded in 1868 with volunteers. Today, the Columbia Fire Department’s has grown to protect nearly 35,000 residents within an approximately 30 square mile area. A full- time, dedicated staff of 90 paid fire-fighters. CFD’s Fire Suppression division operates 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a- week, out of five strategically placed fire stations in the City.

ISO is an independent company that serves insurance companies, communities, fire departments, insurance regulators, and others by providing information about risk. ISO collects and evaluates a community’s fire suppression capabilities and assigns a “Public Protection Classification” (PPC) number to the community. These ratings, a number from 1 to 10, are a valuable indicator of a community’s capacity to mitigate future fire losses. Class 1 represents an exemplary fire suppression program, and Class 10 indicates that the area’s fire suppression program does not meet ISO’s minimum criteria, which is based on nationally accepted standards.

The City of Columbia was last evaluated by ISO in 2008 and was recognized then as a Class 3 community. For more additional information, please contact Assistant Chief Ty Cobb (931) 698-5372.

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