Dickson Considers Expanding Rural Fire Service to Include Commercial, Industrial Properties

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Under a proposal approved on first reading by the Dickson City Council, the Dickson Fire Department could soon begin offering subscription rural fire service for commercial and industrial properties outside the city limits.

At its July 18 meeting, the council unanimously approved on the first of two required votes an amendment to its rural fire service policy to provide fire protection for commercial businesses and industries that are located within the service areas of its stations.

Since 1982, the Dickson Fire Department has offered subscription fire protection for residential properties located within five road miles of its main station on Church Street and in 1991 added Station #2 on Pringle Drive in Pomona. Station #3 under construction at the corner of Highway 70 East and Ridgecrest Drive is expected to begin service in January 2023.

“Development outside the city limits has continued at a steady pace in all directions and we want to be able to offer the response capabilities of the county’s largest professional fire department to those properties,” said Dickson Fire Department Chief Richard Greer. “Our primary responsibility always will be to the citizens and businesses located in the City of Dickson, but as we continue to grow we want to offer the option of a subscription service to the properties within a reasonable response time from our stations.”

The Dickson Fire Department currently offers subscription rural fire service to residences outside the city limits but within five road miles of a city fire station at a fee equal to one tenth of one percent of the current appraised value by the Dickson County Assessor of Property’s office excluding the value of the land with a minimum of $75 and maximum of $500. A $500 deposit is required unless there is a guarantee by the homeowner’s insurance provider to pay a $500 service call fee for each emergency response to the property.

In the new policy for commercial properties:

• The property must be zoned for commercial use and assessed at a commercial rate by the assessor’s office;

• The property must be outside the city limits but within five road miles of a city-operated fire department; and

• The property must be accessible by and provide access to all Dickson Fire Department equipment and personnel.

A rural fire service subscription for commercial property will cost $2,500 annually and the property owner/insurer must agree to reimburse the city based on a fee schedule for the type of emergency response, equipment used, time on the scene and personnel required in the response.

The applicant must allow access to the property and structures by providing codes to electronic locks or the installation of an approved key box. The applicant also must provide 24-hour contact information and all appropriate Material Safety Data Sheets for hazardous materials stored on the property.

In the new services for industrial properties:

• The property must be zoned for industrial use and assessed at an industrial rate by the assessor’s office;

• The property must be outside the city limits but within five road miles of a city-operated fire department; and

• The property must be accessible by and provide access to all Dickson Fire Department equipment and personnel.

The annual subscription fee for industrial property is based on the hazard level classification established in the current International Building Code Occupancy Classification and Use guidelines and ranges from $5,000 to $20,000.

The property owner/insurer must agree to reimburse the city based on a fee schedule for the type of emergency response, equipment used, time on the scene and personnel required in the response.

The applicant must allow access to the property and structures by providing codes to electronic locks or the installation of an approved key box. The applicant also must provide 24-hour contact information and all appropriate Material Safety Data Sheets for hazardous materials stored on the property.

Having a rural fire service subscription from a full-time, professional fire department can result in a lower property insurance premium.

“As we take a more regional approach to our development and planning, it is important that we consider beyond our city limits and expanding the services of the best fire department in the county to those areas and property owners,” said Dickson Mayor Don L. Weiss Jr. “While the taxpayers in the city are our main focus, a good neighbor philosophy should take into account the homes, businesses and industries just beyond our borders.”

The amendment to the city’s subscription rural fire service ordinance faces a second and final vote at the Aug. 1 council meeting and will take effect immediately after passage.

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