Recent improvements at Soddy Daisy Fire Department, benefits res - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Recent improvements at Soddy Daisy Fire Department, benefits residents

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Thanks to recent improvements made at the Soddy Daisy Fire Department, both homeowners and businesses can reap the benefits. The department's fire protection rating has been upgraded, and that could help boost the local economy. 

Chief Mike Guffey said firefighters worked hard over the past couple years to better the department's ISO rating. Now that it has, businesses in the area stand to save hundreds of dollars each year.

"Hopefully with lower insurance rates for commercial and industry, we can get some more industry and commercial businesses in town, and grow just like the rest of Chattanooga is," said Guffey.

The city joins just 15 other fire departments in the state with an ISO rating of 2, including larger cities like Chattanooga and Nashville.

On a scale of 1-10, lower ISO scores are considered best. The scale is used to evaluate fire departments nationwide. Response times, communications, water flow, and distances to fire stations and fire hydrants are all considered.

The lower the score, the lower the odds can be for substantial fire damage. Most insurance companies use ISO ratings when calculating insurance premium rates for home and businessowners.

"Going from a 3 to a 2 is pennies on the dollar for homeowners, but in the industrial and commercial end of it, it actually is a substantial savings," Guffey said.

"It does factor in greatly with where commercial companies want to come in and develop property," said Janie Shetter, an insurance agent with Nationwide in Chattanooga.

Shetter explained that businesses seek out cities with the best fire protection scores because it helps protect their bottom dollar when it comes to paying out premiums. It attracts more families to those areas, too.

"The communities become a better place for families to move to. Their insurance premiums will be lower and their homes are more protected."

Alongside Chattanooga, Soddy Daisy's ISO score ranks best amongst its surrounding communities. Red Bank's ISO is a 3. Both Sequatchie Co. and Rhea Co. received 5's.

"It wasn't me, it wasn't anyone else, it was all the guys in the department that put forth hard work to get that rating that we've now got," Guffey said.

Some of work that went into Soddy Daisy's lower ISO score includes the test and repair of 531 hydrants, getting firetrucks and equipment up to new standards, and additional training hours for all firefighters, including volunteers.

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