Station 19 Grand Opening Ceremony and Celebration
Friday, May 27, 2016
We finally opened Station 19 (formally Station 1) in Walden, and the celebration went off better than I think anyone could have expected, without the Blue Angels or Thunderbirds in attendance. We had great participation from the community as I saw many faces that I didn’t recognize. The keynote speaker, Representative Dan Huberty, said many kind things about the organization and the presentation by the Humble Masonic Lodge, in setting our corner stone, was phenomenal. We had hotdogs and soft drinks and door prizes including commemorative challenge coins and cups. The slide was a big hit with everyone, and so is the emergency call box on the front of the station apparently.
It is interesting to see the communities feedback on the slide and station, and it presents us with a great opportunity to showcase our department and the tremendous value and service ESD#46 and the Atascocita Volunteer Fire Department are able to offer the Atascocita area. ESD#46/AVFD assesses just $0.08/$100 of property valuation (so for a $200,000 home, your cost for fire and ambulance protection is only $160 per year). Because of the assessment, ESD#46/AVFD is able to provide 3 fully staffed paramedic level ambulances 24/7, 1 fully staffed fire engine 24/7, with additional fire engines staffed during the day and at night. We also have an amazing volunteer corps that staff additional fire engines as needed, which is one of the ways ESD#46/AVFD is able to keep to provide service so affordable.
Utilizing careful planning, good stewardship, and dedication to providing the funding necessary for state of the art equipment and training, ESD #46 in partnership with the Atascocita Volunteer Fire Department was able, 10 years ago, to lower the ISO rating in Atascocita to a 3 (on a scale of 1-10; 1 represents superior protection, 10 fails to meet ISO’s minimum criteria.). ESD #46/Atascocita Volunteer Fire Department is one of only 5% of all fire departments in the United States to have obtained an ISO 3 or better rating. As a direct result of the ISO 3 rating, Atascocita area residents and businesses were able to realize reduced insurance rates.
As the Atascocita area continues to grow at an amazing rate, so does our organization. We are bringing on new staff in both the EMS and fire Division, and graduated our latest class of volunteer firefighters on May 7th. With all the changes and growth going on in our community, it is imperative that our organization continues to be forward leaning and do our best to anticipate, plan for, and adapt to the changing times. We will begin work on the 2017 budget before the end of the month and are currently conducting a compensation package survey to ascertain where we stand against the rest of the county service providers. This information will allow us to make critical decisions and better utilize the taxpayer’s dollars to provide service. Associated with this effort is the ongoing development of the Strategic Plan. This plan outlines the next step to be taken by the organization to improve efficiency and increase capacity.
To address everyone’s interest in the slide and the emergency call box: The slide is a large purpose-built plastic slide specifically designed to get emergency crews enroute to calls faster and safer. We chose this mode of conveyance over a pole because they are safer for our staff. Many firefighters are injured on poles every year, and our department has had two ankle injuries from staff coming downs stairs in a hurry, in route calls. The slide allows our staff to safely get to the trucks, much quicker than the elevator or stairs, which matters a lot if you are having an emergency.
The emergency call boxes on the outside of the station calls our dispatch center. All of our stations have these call boxes located at exterior doors, because someone is not always at a station. When our crews are tied up on another call, you can still get help from one of the other stations or another agency if no one is at that station. All of these processes and devices have been put in place to ensure we are doing our very best to serve you, the community.
Thanks for reading!
Michael D. Mulligan, CFE
Chief of Department
Harris County ESD #46
Atascocita Vol. Fire Dept.