Kingsport Fire Department targeting top ISO rating

Matthew Lane • Feb 19, 2019 at 11:15 AM

KINGSPORT — Kingsport has 110 firefighters protecting the residents and businesses of the Model City. Each year, these firefighters respond to more than 8,200 calls across town, arriving on the scene in about seven minutes.

These were just a few of the facts presented to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen during a Monday afternoon worksession. Chief Scott Boyd gave the 30-minute presentation, offering a general overview of the Kingsport Fire Department, the major accomplishments from the previous year and the goals for the coming years.


The KFD currently has 122 employees — 110 are responsible for fire suppression; five are in fire prevention (fire marshal, inspectors, public information), two are training officers and five are in administration.

Kingsport has eight fire stations located throughout the city, with the oldest being built in 1942 (Station 2 near Dobyns-Bennett High School).

On a three-year average, Boyd said the department will respond to 8,257 calls a year with the majority (74 percent) being medical calls. During a given year, firefighters will work 50 to 100 actual fires.

“It’s not just fire calls. We get called for anything and everything,” Boyd said, explaining that from when the call is made until firefighters arrive at your curb, the response time is 7:13.


The Kingsport Fire Department has been an accredited agency since 1999 and is one of 259 such agencies around the world. There are only six accredited fire departments in Tennessee (Kingsport, Alcoa, Brentwood, Bristol, Maryville and a U.S. Navy facility in Millington).

“Only 10 percent of the U.S. population falls under an accredited fire station,” Boyd said.

Kingsport currently has an ISO (insurance service office) rating of 2 and 2Y. Thirty-two other Tennessee communities have a similar rating; only five in the Volunteer State have an ISO rating of 1.

“Our goal is to move our ISO rating to a Class 1,” Boyd told the BMA.

What’ll help Kingsport with that goal is the new dispatch center downtown, the fire training facility now in place and the recent addition of a second ladder truck, all of which were not in place during the last ISO evaluation.


Last year, the KFD revived the citizens fire academy and the honor guard, held two classes of the fire recruit school (which covers the entire region) and spent two days hammering out a new strategic plan for the department.

Boyd said future goals include the next phase of the fire training facility, creating an emergency operation center and dealing with employee turnover.

“We’ve had four leave since the first of the year. And they’re leaving to go somewhere else that’s not even in fire service,” Boyd said.

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