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Spicewood fire and EMS move under ESD; will have some paid staff

Spicewood Fire and Rescue

After 44 years basically on its own, the Spicewood Volunteer Fire Department-EMS is becoming part of the Burnet County Emergency Services District No. 9. The ESD will transition the volunteer department to a paid-volunteer staff. Staff photo by Alex Copeland

As of May 27, the Spicewood Volunteer Fire Department-EMS is now Spicewood Fire and Rescue under Burnet County Emergency Services District 9.

The long-term goal of ESD No. 9, which was created in 2014, will be a model that includes both paid and volunteer staff with current volunteers possibly being among the first paid staff members hired during the process.

“The reorganization builds a better structure that can handle the coming evolution in personnel and capabilities,” said David Bailey, the ESD No. 9 fire administrator. “The new structure, it enables us to go places and build programs that was really hard to do when it was dependent and reliant on a volunteer workforce.”

ESD No. 9 is taxpayer funded and covers a portion of southeastern Burnet County, including Spicewood.

Volunteers should see very little initial change in operations, according to an ESD No. 9 statement. Bailey will oversee hiring a paid chief, under whom the organization will be regulated by the Texas Commission on Fire Protection.

The district’s fire administrator will establish policies, training programs, reporting systems, and more for the department. All equipment, radios, and gear have legally transferred over to ESD No. 9.

“Many VFD and ESD relationships go through this,” Bailey said. “The challenge on my part is that the VFD world still knows they’re valued and appreciated and very much needed. They need to be contributors. If they want to serve their community, that role and opportunity is still right there waiting for them.”

The department will still rely on volunteers, and Bailey encourages people to apply.

“The role of a volunteer to serve their neighbors is still very much alive and embraced, and we want to encourage that,” Bailey said. “Don’t think we’ve moved away from that. We still very much embrace those volunteers.”

The Spicewood VFD-EMS was founded in 1976 with its first fire truck purchased from Marble Falls for just $1.