The following article was acquired from the Community Impact website and was written by Danica Lloyd.
Cy-Fair residents could soon see rapid growth of the Cy-Fair Fire Department. Officials with Citygate Associates, a California-based consulting firm that works with local government entities across the country, have recommended the addition of eight new fire stations and more staff over the next few years to keep up with population growth.
In a presentation months in the making, three leaders from Citygate delivered several recommendations Sept. 19 to the Harris County Emergency Services District No. 9 board, the taxing entity that supports CFFD. Officials indicated the ESD’s financial reserves put the district in a good position to fund future projects.
“You’re serving an immense amount of square miles and are already responsible for a population of 600,000 resident souls,” Public Safety Principal Stewart Gary said. “You bear a significant customer service burden already, and the good news is you’re going to have a plan and the resources to grow it commensurate with good outcomes equitably everywhere, not just by happenstance where you find yourselves today.”
The Citygate report concluded the department’s three main challenges at this time are:
Recommendations included plans for three future infill stations to help close service gaps in populated areas as well as five future stations to accommodate future growth.
The infill stations—which include one off Greenhouse Road near Hwy. 290, one off Tuckerton Road near Queenston Boulevard, and one near Fry Road and West Little York Road—should be prioritized, Gary said. The other five stations should be built depending on the pace of development with four spread along the Grand Parkway south of Hwy. 290 and one slated for the northern part of the district near the Telge Road and Grant Road intersection.
In the meantime, adding ambulance capacity will be short-term priority for the district. Gary said the goal is for medic units to be utilized no more than 35% of any given hour; however, data in the report indicates many units are operating at overcapacity multiple hours a day, and relief is needed immediately.
“We have to set a trip wire in our industry and say, ‘Wait a minute now, if they’ve been going call to call to call for six, eight, 10 hours, a) did they get any rest or relief? [and] b) how effective are they on the 15th call of the shift in terms of patient care ability?’” Gary said. “You really need extra ambulance capacity yesterday.”
CFFD has not opened a new fire station since before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to prior reporting. Station 13 cost the district about $5 million and opened in Bridgeland in 2018, although some renovations at older stations have been ongoing since.
Earlier this summer, ESD 9 made a deal to purchase a tract of land from Caldwell Cos. for $450,000 to build a future station near Hwy. 290 in the Towne Lake area.
Citygate’s report included estimated costs of these priorities:
Andrew Green, local government finance specialist with Citygate, said because ESD 9 has $126.45 million in reserves, the district is able to fund additional staffing and facilities. He also described their financial conditions as “fiscally sound” with “prudent management.”
Based on recommendations from Citygate, next steps for the ESD include:
Once these top four priorities are completed, the next emphasis will be on adding headquarters staff to grow field services. Visit www.cyfairfd.org to learn more about ESD 9 and to view recordings of previous meetings.