The Pedernales Volunteer Fire Department and Pedernales Emergency Medical Services were originally established in 1974 as individual, private non-profit corporations. The departments originally covered an area of 55 square miles with a population of approximately 400 residents.
At that time, both departments were funded totally by resident donations and Auxiliary fund raising activities. Both were managed by independent Boards of Directors.
As the area grew and demands for service increased, the departments realized that they could no longer operate with budgets funded by donations alone and that additional funding was required. In 1986, both departments were instrumental in the creation of Travis County Rural Fire Prevention District 12. This allowed District 12 to assess an Ad-Valorem property tax and each department contracted with the District 12 Board of Commissioners to provide fire and EMS services.
In 1995 an agreement was reached to merge Pedernales Volunteer Fire Department and Pedernales Emergency Medical Services into one corporation with the name of Pedernales Emergency Services. Shortly thereafter, the new organization was instrumental in a conversion from a Rural Fire Prevention District to an Emergency Service District, allowing the District to increase the maximum tax rate. In 2009, the name was again changed to Pedernales Fire Department, which was funded by Travis County Emergency Services District 8.
Travis County Emergency Services District No. 8 is a local government, much like a school district or a municipal utility district. It is responsible for providing fire protection and emergency medical first-response for our citizens. Travis County ESD No. 8 provides tax dollars for the Pedernales Fire Department. To pay for that,the ESD levies a ten-cent-per $100 ad valorem tax rate. That is the maximum allowed by the State Constitution.
ESD 8 was created by the Texas Legislature and is an adjunct of state government. As such, it is an independent government agency. The Board of ESD 8 is comprised of five commissioners who are volunteers appointed by the Travis County Commissioner for Precinct 3, currently Gerald Daugherty.
ESD 8 is one of 14 Emergency Services Districts in Travis County, and serves fifty-five square miles in the southwestern sector of Travis County. It is the duty of the ESD to levy property taxes in this area to pay for fire and emergency medical services within its boundaries. ESD 8 also collects a portion of the sales tax to support its mission which includes delivering fire and emergency medical services. Due to the rugged topography of the area Lake Travis, and the high influx of recreational visitors, there is a constant demand for these services.
We serve our community with twenty-three full time firefighters, volunteers, one Fire Chief, three Battalion Chiefs, and a Business Manager.
Currently, the Pedernales Fire Department operates out of one headquarters station and two additional stations. Two stations are staffed twenty four hours per day with the third station staffed twelve hours per day. Other facilities include a smoke house training building, a two story roof ventilation prop, and vehicle fire and extrication props. The department’s fleet consists of three Engines, four Brush Trucks, two Tenders, two Command cars, two Jet Ski’s, and one Fire / Rescue Boat.
The Pedernales Fire Department provides a variety of services including fire suppression, EMS first response, wilderness rescue, high angle rescue, water rescue, and marine fire suppression. Some our public education activities include Public Safety discussions, CPR, and First Aid training. The Travis County Fire Marshal’s Office provides code enforcement, investigations, and plan reviews.