Local ESD's Broaden Resources
August 19, 2011
Fire departments and EMS turn to volunteers, loans in times of population growth and economic downturn - Molly Ryan
NORTHWEST HOUSTON — Even in times of financial constraint, Emergency Services Districts are required by the state to provide the public with trained firefighters and medical technicians, use up-to-date equipment and meet mandated response times.
ESDs in Northwest Houston, which rely on funds from property taxes, have seen minimal or no growth in revenue in the past year. At the same time, there has been exceptional population growth in the area; 2010 US Census statistics show population within Cy-Fair ISD increasing by nearly 70 percent since 2000.
Despite the funding gap, ESDs have a duty to expand their services to the growing area, and many are planning to put new stations, vehicles and communications systems in place during the coming months.
“Our job in the field is to adapt and overcome, and that is the same way we deal with our office,” said Scott Mullins, assistant fire chief of the Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department. “We adapt to it, and we overcome.”
According to Harris County Fire Marshal Mike Montgomery, ESDs across the county are struggling with population growth.