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Channelview Fire Department serves, protects

HARRIS COUNTY ESD NO. 50 –
L – R: Standing: Jimmy Sumbera, Administrator; Ryan Thistle, Fire Chief; Steven Adams EMS Assist. Chief; D-Shift Staff: Andrea Brown, Chad Mikush, Jason Tharling, Jason Ramirez, Eric Mosley, Nicholas Villareal, Charles Moore, Rigo Juarez, Austin Tisdel, Cody Barron, Justin Roach, William Alvarado.
L – R: Kneeling: Miguel Maldonado, James McMahon, Luis Ibarra, Herbert Otis, Josue Posada, Julio Flores, James Harris, Alan Ramirez Members not present in photo were off duty or works another shift at time of photo (Photo by Allan Jamail)

Harris County Emergency Service District (ESD No. 50)

By Allan Jamail

Channelview Fire Department was established in 1949. From 1949 to 2012, the fire department was operated by volunteers. On January 1, 2012, Channelview Fire Department has been a fully paid, professional fire department operated as a local government agency under Harris County Emergency Service District (ESD No. 50).

All employees including administration are Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) or Paramedics. The fire department operates two fire stations, one located at 16229 Market St. and the other at 1210 Dell Dale St. The fire department staffs and operates the following apparatus 24/7: A District Chief, Emergency Medical Service (EMS) Supervisor, 2 fire engines with 4 firefighters each, a ladder truck with 4 firefighters, and 4 ambulance staff with 2 paramedics each. These are staff using 4-shifts, where each shift works a 48-hour shifts and then are off for 6 days.

The fire department also cross trains the staff in different areas of expertise to ensure that under special circumstances they are able to respond adequately and quickly. These special operations include: swift water rescue, high angle and confined space rescue. The fire department owns and operates two 10-men Zodiac Rescue Boats and a 5-Ton military vehicle for high water rescues. With the heavy chemical and industrial presents in our area, the department is very fortunate to work closely with Harris County Haz-Mat, which is located in Atascocita.

While the fire department is very capable of handling all emergencies, it does periodically rely on mutual aid from other fire departments to assist with large emergencies. At the same time, Channelview responds outside of its jurisdiction to provide the same type of assistance when requested. Channelview Fire Department works very closely with the neighboring EMS and fire Departments including: Highlands Fire Department, Cloverleaf Fire Department, North Channel EMS, South Lake Houston EMS, and Sheldon Community Fire Department.

Each year Channelview Fire Department responds to approximately 1,600 fire related emergencies and 4,500 medical emergencies. The average response time for fire is 4 minutes and 30 seconds and the average response time for EMS is 5 minutes. These calls for service are received at a 911 call center located in Channelview which dispatches for the region. This center is a joint venture by five different ESD’s included ESD No. 50 which owns 20% of the center. This center dispatches for Channelview, Sheldon, Cloverleaf, Highlands, Crosby, Harris County Haz-Mat, and CEMA.

The fire department has had many accomplishments over the last 10- years which they are extremely proud of. First, they increased staffing from 1 fire truck and 2 ambulances to the staffing mentioned before. They have completely rebuilt and updated the stations and all the equipment. Their EMS operations have been extremely successful at improving cardiac arrest outcomes, heart attach treatments, trauma response, just to name a few. On June 1, 2021, the Channelview Community accomplished an ISO Class 1 Rating which indicates superior fire protection and reflects on the fact that the department is rated with best in the nation. In the US there are only 362 ISO Class 1 rated communities.

The fire department is quick to point out that none of their success could have been possible without the support and tax base provided by the community and local businesses. The firefighters and administration have a strong understanding that this is the community’s fire department and they are very much community oriented. In 2021 the fire department operated on a $9.5 million budget. As the fire department has built the new stations and updated its equipment, it has done so without taking on any debt.

According to Administrator Jimmy Sumbera, “the department created a plan with anticipated budgets and they have followed that. Each year they live within their budget and do not spend funds that the department does not have. Since 2011 there has been no debt or loans used to fund any project or aspect of the fire department.”

“The fire department is always looking for new ways to improve and make a positive impact on the community. In 2021, we opened a training field which has a walking track that is open to the public located at 1210 Dell Dale. We’ve started hosting certified child car seat inspection days, and currently working on plans to rollout community CPR training with the goal to improve CPR outcomes. Each year we organize a Christmas Parade which is always at 6 pm the Friday that Channelview ISD is released for Christmas Break. Along with community sponsors and Channelview ISD, the fire department plays a big role in the Channelview Community Toy Drive, providing Christmas for over 200 children annually,” Sumbera said.

Harris County ESD No. 50 ~ Channelview Fire Department, phone – 281-452- 5782

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