Canyon Lake Fire/EMS hiring
Canyon Lake Fire/EMS has started a new hiring program which they hope will double the number of firefighters who respond to fire/EMS calls.
The hirings are the first step toward the upgrade of public safety services in the lake area due to a 2003 ballot by Canyon Lake voters to set a one-cent sales tax to increase funding for fire protection. This tax shifted some of the burden for fire and EMS services to tourists, who represent the majority of calls.
It also made Canyon Lake Fire/EMS "go it alone" on shouldering the costs of fire protection. According to ESD 3 President Keith Lewis, "The county will not be providing any funds to us next year. We have the sales tax now and we shoud be masters of our own house."
Fire/EMS calls during 2004 increased 35 percent over 2003 creating a demand for more firefighters. In 2003, four firefighters dispatched from two stations, the Central station in Sattler and the other in Startzville, could respond to fires. Earlier this year, Canyon Lake Fire/EMS Chief Shawn Wherry said he was able to increase paid staffing to six firefighters per shift. He hopes to add a seventh firefighter by the end of the year, and an eighth firefighter by 2005. Interested applicants should be certified firefighters who have completed the fire academy, have EMS medical technician training; or be a licensed paramedic willing to go to the academy.