Fire Department History
Emergency Response Team
In early 1974 a group of citizens from this newly formed community recognized the immediate need for an emergency ready response team for fire and medical situations. After several meetings and training sessions the group became The Colony Volunteer Fire Department. This group of dedicated people were assisted by the Frisco Volunteer Fire Department and also by many citizens who were paid career firefighters for other communities.
Fox and Jacobs constructed a fire station at 4900 Blair Oaks Drive and presented it to the volunteers on July 4, 1976. Along with this project, a reserve pumper was acquired from the Dallas Fire Department and donated by Fox and Jacobs to the volunteers. This engine was formerly Dallas Attack Engine Number 23. It became affectionately known as "The General" because of its apparatus brand name, its age and time of active service with the city of Dallas. It's restoration was completed in 1998. For many years a dedicated group of people got up at all hours of the night to see if they could help someone in need.
Time and circumstances change all things and so it was for the volunteer department. The need for both spouses to work, church, family and other social requirements, seemed to place the volunteer program at the bottom of most prospective firefighter's lists. It has become increasingly difficult to recruit people with the time to sacrifice some of their own basic needs for others. This is a very commonplace situation across our country, especially among the X generation.
Until 1977, the volunteer department was completely self-funded and self-governed. When The Colony, Texas became an incorporated city that year, it also acquired the oversight of the fire department. The city recognized the need for stronger leadership, specialized fire-fighting equipment and more positive control over an extremely high spirited group.
As the city continued to grow by leaps and bounds it was becoming apparent to city officials that the pressures and requirements that were being placed upon the volunteer staff were simply overwhelming. With the exception of 1 (one) free coke for each call responded to, the volunteer force continued to do their job without compensation.
In January 1981 the city hired its first professional Fire Chief. The fire chief's responsibilities included organizing the volunteers, the ordering of new equipment, the EMS program, the Emergency Management Team, the fire marshaling activities and the training of the volunteer personnel. Not to be misunderstood, the volunteers worked extremely hard in those times. They simply lacked a level of professional expertise while carrying out their duties.
In October of 1981 an assistant to the fire chief was hired to help relieve some of the administrative, operational and training duties that were becoming rather cumbersome for the Chief.
Volunteer response times for the department were very high during those days. The response times were often between 12 and 20 minutes for most emergencies. It was this realization, along with some other reasons, that caused the seated council at the time to approve the initial hiring of full time shift assigned firefighters.
There were 3 career firefighters hired in January 1982 and given shift assignments. They worked the standard 24 hour on duty and 48 hour off duty shift. One person responded alone with backup coming from the Captain, Fire Chief and hopefully from the volunteers.
As the personnel were assigned to shift duties, the emergency response times immediately dropped to below 4 ½ minutes or less for most areas of the city. The exception to this was Wynnewood Peninsula. Today, 20 plus years later, with all paid personnel, response times remain between 2 minutes and 6 minutes for approximately 80% of The Colony. Hidden Cove Park, Wynnewood Peninsula, the western portion of Stewart's Peninsula, and the southern portion of Plano Parkway fall outside of the minimum 5 minute response time that is required by the ISO (fire insurance grading company). In 1982, the fire department began implementing the paramedic program to increase its service to the citizens of The Colony.
The department is attempting to ride the new wave of concentrated fire prevention along with high priority being placed on firefighter training for preparedness sake. All of this is done to raise the quality of life for every resident of The Colony, from the youngest to the most elderly. The quality of life in our city is a team effort by every city department.