In the Latter part of the 1970's, Atascocita was just starting to grow as a community. FM 1960 was still a two lane road, and trees still outnumbered houses. There were few restaurants. There was no Wal-Mart, no McDonalds, no Kroger or HEB Pantry. There was also no local fire department.
The Residents of Atascocita had to rely on the city of Humble, TX to provide fire & ambulance services to them, which often took a long time especially considering that a life could have been at stake. Realizing this, a number of forward-thinking Atascocita residents decided that the time had come for Atascocita to form its own volunteer fire department. After submitting all of the proper legal paperwork to the appropriate state and county agencies, these individuals proceeded to raise money from the community to fund this endeavor. Through such fundraising activities as collecting newspapers and aluminum cans for recycling, as well as requesting donations on the monthly water bill, eventually enough money was raised, and the first AVFD fire engine, a 1976 Ford Firefox pumper, was purchased.
The new fire truck was housed for awhile at the Humble Fire Department's Station 2 on Wilson Road while Atascocita's new station was being constructed on the corner of Farmingham Road and Walden Forest Drive, where it still stands today, and in 1978, the Atascocita Volunteer Fire Department was incorporated in the State of Texas.
Throughout the years the AVFD has grown considerably. New fire trucks and ambulances have been bought and sold, and a second station was built and placed in service in the Atascocita Forest subdivision. The membership grew and training of members in firefighting techniques, rescue practices, and Emergency Medical Services grew exponentially. Station 1 has had two major additions to the building, and a new Station 2 was built to replace the old Station 2 and stands at the corner of Atascocita Road, and Woodland Hills Drive now. In 2008 the AVFD placed into service Station 3 which is located off of FM 1960 near Timber Forest Drive.
Today the AVFD is an exceptionally professional organization that boasts some of the most modern apparatus, state of the art equipment and most highly trained individuals that you could find anywhere. The apparatus list consists of a 75 foot ladder/pumper, three custom cab pumpers, a brush truck, and three Ambulances. The department also has a beautiful antique American LaFrance fire truck which is used as a parade and public relations vehicle.
Personnel wise, the department has around 100 volunteers, many of whom are cross trained in both Fire and EMS. There are paramedics, Emergency Medical Technicians, as well as numerous state certified firefighters. We currently employ several part and full time Firefighters, and Emergency Medical Technicians to compliment our volunteer staffing.
The AVFD apparatus are all equipped with some of the most up-to-date equipment that is available today. State of the art Heart Monitors, Vehicle Extrication Tools, Ventilation Equipment, and personal protective equipment are just a few of the items that the AVFD has purchased throughout the years. Atascocita was one of the first fire departments in the area to purchase a Thermal Imaging camera - a true lifesaving device that allows firefighters to "see" through smoke.
All of these things cost money, of course. Understanding that in order to keep up with the tremendous growth of our community, the fire department would have to grow with it, and so a newer more dependable source of income would have to be found. So, in January of 2001, the AVFD campaigned successfully to the residents of the community to approve the creation of Rural Fire Prevention District 46, (now Emergency Services District #46), a taxing district, so that the department would have a reliable source of income to be able to keep up with that tremendous growth. With annual budgets growing to over 1 million dollars a year, the AVFD still struggles with funding in order to be able to keep up with the ever growing population needs of our community, and costs to replace aging equipment and protective gear.
The AVFD runs over 3500 calls in a calendar year, with the run ratio falling at about 70 percent EMS and 30 percent Fire. Most Firefighters attend a minimum of 100 hours of training prior to being released to fight fires, and most EMS personnel begin with more than 100 hours of training prior to attending our ambulances. We have weekly fire training, as well as ongoing training for our Medics.
The AVFD would not be complete without a Fire Prevention Division. Our Fire Prevention Division is very active in our community, providing teaching for Fire Prevention in local Pre-Schools, Elementary Schools, and in Local Middle Schools. We also set up Fire Prevention booths at local events, in the local Wal-Mart and other business establishments throughout the year, and we offer Fire Pre-Planning assistance to both local businesses as well as residents. Proudly we have had very few fires which have been started by children in our area.
Our department leaders, and our senior officers are constantly seeking out new learning opportunities for themselves, as well as for our membership, always striving to make the AVFD the very best that it can be. The citizens and the community of Atascocita deserve just that.
However the more things change in Atascocita, the more some things stay the same. We are still operating out of our original Station, and yes we even still recycle aluminum cans.