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Fire Department maintains high rating
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McMinnville Fire Department has maintained its ISO rating of 3, which places it in the top 12% of fire departments in Tennessee. Pictured are McMinnville firefighters battling a blaze in 2018.

McMinnville fire protection remains among the best in Tennessee.

The city’s public protection classification, according to the Insurance Services Office (ISO), is a 3. 

“We have maintained our ISO rating of 3,” said McMinnville Fire Chief Kendall Mayfield. “We were hoping for a 2, but to maintain an ISO of 3 is something to be very proud of. We used to be a 5.”

How effective communities are when it comes to fighting fires is judged by an ISO rating. Departments are assigned a class from 1 to 10, with 1 representing exemplary public protection and 10, which is the worst rating, representing no fire protection.

Of the 858 ISO-classified communities in Tennessee, only 63 are graded as a 3. Seven communities have an ISO of 1, while 32 have an ISO of 2. The remaining 756 communities have an ISO rating of 4 or greater.

An ISO rating is one of the tools insurance agencies use to determine insurance premiums. Because the city’s ISO classification stayed the same, premiums paid by city residents will not be affected. In 2008, the city department improved 2 points, going from 5 to 3. That status was reaffirmed in 2015 when another review resulted in an ISO rating of 3. 

Mayfield says 2 is the goal each time the city is evaluated to determine its rating. 

“We’ve tried to lower it to a 2, but we’d need to make some changes for that. They audit us every five years. Over the last five years, we’ve kept the 3. Helping us maintain the 3 are updates made within the Water Department.”