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Model City marks third straight year with no fire-related deaths

Matthew Lane • Apr 21, 2019 at 8:30 AM

KINGSPORT — The number of structure fires that occurred within the city dropped in 2018 compared to the previous year, and for the third year in a row, there were no fire-related deaths within the city.

These are just two of the notable statistics from the Kingsport Fire Department’s annual report, which was released to city officials and the public last week.

The report gives a breakdown of the types and number of incidents firefighters responded to last year and how those numbers have changed since 2017. It also gives a brief history of the department, the highlights and major accomplishments from the previous year along with the short-term and long-term goals of the department.

Overall, KFD Chief Scott Boyd said he was pleased with the findings of the report and said 2018 was a typical year for the city’s firefighters.

“The only thing that really stands out is we don’t have as many people applying for these positions as we did years ago. In the past, the only time anyone left (the fire department) was through a retirement, and anymore that’s not always the case,” Boyd said. “It’s more difficult to attract and retain people into the business. No question. I think it may be a generational or societal-type reason.”

Boyd said one goal of the department is to continue to work toward an ISO rating of 1. Kingsport is one of only 32 communities across the state that enjoys an ISO rating of 2. Only five communities in Tennessee have an ISO rating of 1.

“We’ve also made an effort to try and reduce (our response time), but what’s really helped us has been processing by central dispatch,” Boyd said. “We’re not driving any faster. I think dispatch has been able to trim some time off, which helps use get out to the scene faster.”

BY THE NUMBERS

— Firefighters responded to 8,354 incidents in 2018 (compared to 7,945 in 2017).

— Number of structure fires: 75 (with a loss of nearly $700,000).

— Number of vehicle fires: 48 (with a loss of $472,640).

— Number of medical calls: 6,150.

— Number of fire-related deaths: 0.

— Average response time: 7:13 (compared to 7:28 in 2017).

— Total fire loss: $1.17 million.

As of December 2018, the KFD had 122 personnel working in eight fire stations, serving a population of more than 53,000 residents living within 53 square miles. Kingsport’s ISO rating is 2 and 2Y.

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