The Rockwall Fire Department was started in 1903 to protect the lives and property of the citizens of Rockwall. The department was created because the city was losing valuable property by fire within the community. The volunteers originally were just men from the community who wanted to help. They lived in Rockwall and many owned or operated business and had little to no training. They were a re-active group of men. When emergencies took place, they reacted and responded to do what they could to help the citizens of the community.
From 1903 to today, many things have changed in the fire service. Today we operate a Combination Department. We still heavily rely on part-time and volunteer firefighters, supplemented by limited paid staff. The part-time and volunteer firefighters of today are still business owners and homeowners who want to serve their community by protecting the lives and property of the citizens. The difference now is that we are living in a complex world where we have to be pro-active and not re-active. Today’s firefighters have to be highly trained, physically fit, and prepared to handle today’s complex emergencies.
At our current 40,920 population, the Fire Department now operates out of four (4) Fire Stations. The department’s paid staff consists of a Chief, Battalion Chief, three Captains, eighteen full-time Driver/Operators, Fire Marshal, three Fire Inspector/Arson Investigator/Firefighter, eighteen certified part-time Driver/Operators, an Administrative Assistant and an Administrative Technician. We also maintain approximately twenty five volunteer firefighters. The stations are manned 24/7 with one (1) Captain and one (1) Driver/Operator at Station 1, two (2) Driver/Operators at Station 2, one (1) Driver/Operator at Station 3 and two (2) Driver/Operators at Station 4. The volunteer command staff consists of three Assistant Chiefs and a Safety Officer. We currently are recruiting volunteers and we have a goal to have a maximum of seventy-two volunteers. When calls come in, the full time Captain and the Driver/Operators respond with the needed equipment. The volunteers respond as our main force of firefighters. The volunteers are highly trained in many areas. Within the volunteer staff, we have certified paid firefighters who range from master, advanced, intermediate and basic structural firefighter certification, driver/operator certified personnel, certified hazardous material technicians, Texas Fire Commission instructors, high angle rescue technicians, arson investigators, fire inspectors, swift water technicians, search & recovery scuba divers, emergency medical technicians, paramedics and emergency care attendants.
As each year passes, our community grows larger and larger. With the rapid change in technologies, construction, firefighting equipment, complex emergencies and firefighting methods, it is becoming more difficult to keep volunteers trained. This puts more demands on the volunteers as each year passes, but they still come through and do the job with pride and dedication.
If we were a fully paid department today, operating with the four stations and our required four engine and two ladder companies, we would need eighty eight (88) full-time personnel. The total cost to operate a fully paid department including operations, equipment, administrative staff, salaries, insurance benefits, retirement, workers composition, etc. would be approximately $9,085,263.00 per year. The cost to operate our combination department today is $3,122,036.00. The cost savings to our citizens is $5,963,227.00 which equates to 15.45 cents per hundred dollars at today’s assessed tax value. On a home or business valued at $200,000.00 this equates to a property tax savings of over $309.01 per year.
Other factors which contribute to our maintaining a combination force are the ability to keep good manpower levels, low fire loss, and expedient response times. Our Insurance Services Offices (ISO) Public Protection Classification (PPC) is a 2 and our Outside Protected Classification (OPA) is a 9. The PPC rating of a 1 is the best and a 10 is the worse. See more on our web page about PPC & OPA Rating.
We are glad to present the Rockwall Fire Department Business Plan as part of the city’s overall Balance Scorecard Strategic Initiative. We recognize the value of setting goals, developing priorities for our objectives, and measuring departmental effectiveness in saving lives and property. Through our Strategic plan, it is our intention to bring clarity and greater unification to the Department. It will communicate to the citizens our core values and guiding principles. Furthermore, the Strategic Plan will explain our objectives and goals and how we plan to accomplish them as well as how they relate to the City Council’s Seven Focus Areas. See more on our web page about our Balance Scorecard.
To join the volunteer 100 year tradition of our department see How Do I Become A Rockwall Fire Fighter on our web page. There you will find the application, minimum requirements and job description. If you have any questions about our department please feel free to call me at 972-771-7770 or send me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.