Q: How many people do you serve and how big an area does Spring Fire Department cover?
Q: Do lower income areas receive less service than higher income areas?
A: Absolutely not! We distribute coverage across all 62 square miles and serve our 152,000 people with the best service based on the revenue we receive from HCESD#7, and we provide that service regardless of age, race/color, gender, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, etc.
Q: How many stations are staffed with firefighters?
A: We staff 8 of our 9 fire stations from 6am-6pm every day and 7 out of 9 of our fire stations every night from 6pm-6am with full-time, part-time and volunteer firefighters. Once we open new Station 74 in mid-2019 we will be staffing 8 of 9 fire stations 24 hours per day. Our 9th fire station is also staffed several days and evenings by volunteer firefighters.
Q: I know you were a volunteer fire department awhile back, do you still have volunteer firefighters?
Q: Do you have any fire stations that have only volunteer firefighters?
A: Yes, Station 77 has only volunteers assigned to them for now. Once the new Station 74 is complete in mid-2019 it will be staffed 24/7/365 with volunteer, part-time and full-time firefighters, however right now it has firefighters from 6 am – 6pm daily.
Q: Why don't you staff every fire station with full-time firefighters?
A: Money! Spring Fire Department had ONLY volunteer firefighters until 1997 when we saw the need to begin employing part-time firefighters. HCESD#7 began receiving Sales and Use Tax in late 2011 which has allowed us to do things much differently, and beginning in 2013 we hired 8 full-time firefighters. Today we have 77 full-time firefighters; 45 part-time firefighters, and 70 volunteer firefighters. This means there are about 26 full-time personnel each day comprised of Firefighters, Apparatus Operators, Captains and Chiefs and additional part-time and volunteer firefighters on staff as well.
Q: Is there a way you can receive more money so that you can staff ALL of your fire stations?
A: Yes, due to the rapid growth in our service area we are seeing increases in property value and sales tax collection which equates to an increase in overall revenue. This has allowed us to staff 2 additional stations in 2018 and another station in 2019 leaving only 1 station that is not staffed 24×7.
We cannot collect more that 10 cents per $100 property valuation, and we cannot collect more than the 1 cent sales tax so the only other way to receive more money would require legislation that would remove the 10 cent cap that Emergency Service Districts in the state are bound by. Unfortunately, it is not likely to occur anytime soon.
Q: How do you receive your funding and how much is your budget?
A: We receive the majority of our funding from Harris County Emergency Services District #7 (HCESD#7). We also receive a small amount of contributions from Grants and Corporate and Personal Donations. Our 2019 Operating budget is $16.2 million dollars.
Q: How much does the average household pay in taxes for the fire department?
A: If you own a $100,000 home you pay HCESD#7 about $96.00 per year in ad valorem (property) taxes for fire protection. If you have a $250,000 home you pay about $240 and a $340,000 home pays about $326 per year.
The tax rate HCESD#7 is collecting in 2018 is .960609 cents per hundred dollars valuation of your property. Whether it is a family of four or ten, the amount per property is the same based on the value of the property.
Q: Do you receive any other money?
A: Yes. Spring FD receives a few donations each year. However, the majority of our funding comes from HCESD #7 which collects a 1 cent Sales and Use Tax from all business sales within our territory. There is an exception when businesses are located in a Municipal Utility District (MUD) with a prior agreement with the City of Houston. In those cases, The City of Houston collects the 1 cent sales tax and agrees not to annex property within that MUD, then the City of Houston returns 1/2 of the sales tax collected to the MUD because under current Texas law, a MUD cannot collect a Sales and Use Tax.
Q: What is your response time to calls for service?
A: It varies because sometimes we don’t respond with lights and sirens to certain types of calls, but for calls we do respond to with lights and sirens, our average response time for 2018 was 6 minutes and 1 second which has decreased 2 minutes and 4 seconds since 2010.
Q: How can we contact the fire department without calling 911?
Q: How do we know if there is a burn ban in effect?
A: You can either contact the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office at 281-436-8000, check their website or check our website for details and information.
Burn Bans can be any time of the year not just in the summer when its hot. It can be very dry in the winter and a burn ban could be initiated.
Q: Why does a fire truck show up when we call an ambulance?
A: Spring FD continues to evolve as the community’s needs evolve. Although we are not required to provide emergency medical services, over the past 20 years it has become more common for fire departments to provide emergency medical services as well. In 1997, Spring Fire began assisting Cypress Creek EMS (your local ambulance service) with high priority medical calls throughout our shared service area.
Q: I would like for the fire truck to come and/or for the firemen to talk to my group. Or, can we arrange for some other function where the fire truck can be part of our activity?
Q: Which fire station serves me?
Q: There is no burn ban in effect, but I am still not allowed to burn. Why is that?
A: Generally, outdoor burning is prohibited in the entire state of Texas. While some exceptions do exist, they are actually very few. If you live in the unincorporated areas of Harris County you can burn leaves and trash produced at your residence if you do not have regular garbage service provided by a government agency. You should check your deed restrictions also. You cannot burn any material generated by a business. Generally, this applies to almost every subdivision in our territory. You can call Harris County Pollution Control Services Department at (713) 920-2831, 24 hours per day.
Q: What do I need to do if I want to be a volunteer firefighter?
Q: I don't want to become a member of the fire department. Is there anything I can do as a citizen?
- Clean the street signs in the subdivision with soap and water so all police, fire and EMS personnel can read them.
- Put your street address on both sides of the mailbox so it can be viewed from either direction.
- Put your address on the curb or your house but wherever your address is, make sure it contrasts with the background so we can read it. The bigger the better!
- Ask others to keep from parking cars on both sides of the road directly across from each other. We have had cases where we were not able to get down a street because there were two cars parked away from the curb across from each other. This will cause us to have to back out and go down another street that will delay us several minutes.
- We have a division called Rehab in our department that provides drinks and cold towels for the firefighters at calls when we are going to be there for a long time. You don’t need to know anything about firefighting to help. The Rehab division is one of the most important divisions to a firefighter! If you would like to participate in the Rehab division, contact Shannon at 281-355-1266 and she will put you in contact with the leader of our Rehab Division.
Q: Why do I see fire trucks coming down the street with lights and sirens on and all of a sudden they shut their lights and sirens off? Are they just trying to get through traffic?
Q: How do the volunteers get notified of a fire or medical call?
Q: Does the fire department offer CPR training for citizens?
Q: Does the fire department offer any type of training to it's residents or business owners?
A: Yes, Currently the department offers fire extinguisher training to businesses within our service area that request it, at no cost. We also offer First Aid, CPR, and AED courses at a cost. Check out our Events page for upcoming courses.