By Jeff Bagwell
Rural Metro Fire is a private fire department serving most of Knox County since 1977. We currently have 16 fire stations (with one being built) and over 150 firefighter/EMT/paramedics and receive no tax dollars from Knox County.
We offer fire/rescue and EMS first responder services to all property owners in Knox County on a contractual basis. Those property owners without a contract could receive a bill for service that could result in thousands of dollars.
A typical contract, or subscription, could range from $250-$450 annually, depending on the size of your home. Someone at our member services office can answer those specific questions about your property. We can make payment arrangements from monthly to quarterly to help offset the one-time annual expense.
Subscribers will receive additional savings on their property insurance. Currently in Knox County, Rural Metro maintains a Class 3 ISO rating. The city of Knoxville Fire Department in comparison has a ISO Class 2 rating. That should save you significantly on your insurance premiums to the point it would off-set the expense of a contract with the fire department. If you choose to “roll the dice” and not be a subscriber, you will receive a Class 10 ISO rating which means you don’t really have any fire protection at all.
We will still respond and do everything we can to save your property, but a bill for service will follow. Average bill for a fire response is $7,950 to $15,000. Your homeowner’s insurance will not pay this fee for services rendered. Most policies allow for $500 for the fire department fee. It is illegal in the state of Tennessee for an insurance agent to offer you a lower ISO rating without proof that you have established membership or a subscription with Rural Metro Fire.
By having a subscription private fire department offer service, Knox County can continue to keep our property taxes low saving us even more money.
If you’re not a subscriber to Rural Metro and would like more information, please call our member services office at 865-560-0239. If you would like to have someone come to talk to your HOA or community organization about Rural Metro, contact Jeff Bagwell, public information officer, at 865-765-6493.
(Note: This is the first of a once-a-month column targeted to property owners in Halls, Powell, Farragut and Northeast Knox County with information about Rural Metro Fire.)