business: about oak ridge


The City of Oak Ridge is located in the eastern part of Tennessee, approximately 22 miles northwest of Knoxville, with a population of approximately 27,000. The City occupies a southern portion of Anderson County and an eastern portion of Roane County. Oak Ridge is approximately 92 square miles in area and includes plant and facilities of the U.S. Department of Energy.  Residential, commercial, and municipal owned portions of the City make up nearly 30 square miles. The remaining area of the City is owned by the Department of Energy.

Oak Ridge is home to United States Department of Energy facilities - a national laboratory and a national security complex - and high tech/high wage employers. It is also home to a regional medical center. Oak Ridge is the first retail destination for residents within five (5) East Tennessee counties.

Currently, there are four industrial parks in the City that were developed by the municipality and two parks that were developed by private firms. Oak Ridge also has a new industrial park, Horizon Center,  with 1,000 acres of undeveloped federal land.

In 2009, Money Magazine listed Oak Ridge third in a list of twenty-five growing towns where residents see their incomes go the furthest.  (Click here to read the on-line article.)

To learn more about economic opportunities in Oak Ridge, please visit the following sites:
Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce
Oak Ridge Economic Partnership

ISO Rating - Oak Ridge 

Insurance Services Office (ISO) collects and evaluates information from communities in the United States on their structure fire suppression capabilities. They analyze the data using their Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS) and then assign a Public Protection Classification (PPC) number to the community. As such, the PPC program provides important, up-to-date information about the fire protection services throughout the country.

ISO is an independent company that serves insurance companies, communities, fire departments, insurance
regulators, and others by providing information about risk. In each of the communities evaluated, ISO analyzes the relevant data and assigns a Public Protection Classification (PPC) – a number from 1 to 10. Class 1 represents an exemplary fire suppression program, and class 10 indicates that the area’s fire suppression program does not meet ISO’s minimum criteria.

A community’s PPC depends on:


  • Fire alarm and communication systems (911 call center), including telephone systems, telephone lines, staffing, and dispatching systems
  • The fire department, including equipment, staffing, training, and geographic distribution of fire companies
  • The water supply system, including condition and maintenance of hydrants, alternate water supply operations, and a careful evaluation of the amount of available water compared with the amount needed to suppress fires up to 3,500 gallons-per-minute (GPM).
Oak Ridge current ISO PPC rating is 2/9

In October, 2013, ISO concluded its review of the fire suppression features being provided for/by Oak
Ridge Fire Department. The resulting classification was a Class 2/9, and will become effective June 1, 2014.

If the classification is a single class, the classification applies to all properties in the community. If the classification is a “split” class (e.g., 2/9) the following applies:

  • The first class (e.g., “2” in a 2/9) applies to properties within five (5) road miles of a recognized fire station and within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant or alternate water supply.
  • Class 9 applies to properties beyond 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant, but within five (5) road miles of a recognized fire station.
  • Regardless of fire hydrant location, class 10 applies to properties over five (5) road miles of a recognized fire department.
ISO uses GPS technology to determine these distances.

The ISO PPC rating affects insurance premiums on an address-by-address basis.

The Importance of ISO Ratings:

A community’s investment in fire mitigation is a proven and reliable predictor of future fire losses.

Statistical data on insurance losses bears out the relationship between excellent fire protection –
as measured by the PPC program – and low fire loses.

So, insurance companies use PPC information for marketing, under- writing, and to help establish fair
premiums for homeowners. In general, the price of fire insurance in a community with a good PPC is substantially lower than in a community with a poor PPC, assuming all other factors are equal.

In the following examples, if a homeowner pays $1,000 per year for fire insurance in a class 10 rating,
then on an average:

  • Class 9 pays $930, a savings of 7% over a class 10
  • Class 8 pays $720, a savings of 28% over a class 10
  • Class 7 pays $680, a savings of 32% over a class 10
  • Class 6 pays $650, a savings of 35% over a class 10
  • Class 5 pays $630, a savings of 37% over a class 10
  • Class 4 pays $600, a savings of 40% over a class 10
  • Class 3 pays $580, a savings of 42% over a class 10
  • Class 2 pays $550, a savings of 45% over a class 10
  • Class 1 pays $530, a savings of 47% over a class 10
Note: Statistics available as of 2008 indicates that of the 1,011 communities with PPC ratings in Tennessee, 88% are rated between a class 5 and class 10.