Tarkington VFD
When do you hold your meetings?
Meetings are held every Monday night at 19:00. The first Monday of the month is our business meeting, the second and fourth are training, and the third is a work detail.

What does it take to be a member of the TVFD?
First off, it takes a tremendous amount of dedication. TVFD is all volunteer, meaning no one is paid for their time and there is a huge time commitment. You have to be willing to respond to calls at a moment's notice, often in the poorest of conditions. You have to be willing to go to meetings every Monday night (or makeup the time during the week), as well as train during other times, including weekends. Plus, you have to be willing to plan and participate in fundraisers, which often occur on weekends or during holidays. Other than that, you have to reside within Tarkington ISD and be in good standing. No experience is necessary. TVFD provides all the equipment and training.

So no one is paid?
Nope, no one receives a penny in compensation.

Why not, isn't the budget large enough to cover?
Not even close. TVFD's finances are pretty much stretched to the limit paying the notes on the trucks, insurance, fuel, utilities, etc. In addition, TVFD often purchases equipment to insure that the firefighters and residents have the best equipped department for the money.

What about all the tax funding you receive?
What tax funding? TVFD is not supported by a city or an Emergency Services District, and as such, receives no direct tax funding. TVFD is reimbursed by Liberty County for responding to calls, but often this reimbursement doesn't even cover the expenses. TVFD depends heavily on donations and fundraisers.

What about grants?
While TVFD is constantly applying for various grants, they are very, very competitive. Fire departments often spend years on waiting lists before receiving grants. In addition, most grants are cost-share, meaning the departments have to come up with some of the funds themselves. TVFD received a grant from the Texas Forest Service in October 2006 for $108,000 to purchase a tanker. The purchase price of the tanker was $148,400, with TVFD having to finance the balance.

I work evenings/nights and can't make the Monday night meetings, can I still be a member?
YES!! While the Monday night meetings are very important, we do realize that there are those who work evenings or nights and can't make the meetings, so there are other ways to make up the time. In fact, we highly encourage you to join, as often evening/night workers are home during the day to cover calls when everyone else is at work.

What areas does TVFD cover?
For the most part, TVFD covers the same area as Tarkington ISD.

I've seen a fire truck going one way pass one of your volunteers going the other. What gives?
With the exception of officers in certain situations, all TVFD members are required to report to the station at the sound of the tone. Since some members live further from the station than others, what you are seeing is a member passing the first responding apparatus.

I've seen a fire truck or a volunteer in his/her personal vehicle go racing past, with lights and sirens blazing, only to turn these off shortly thereafter. What happened?
What you saw was a unit responding to a call, only to be disregarded prior to arriving on location. Units can be disregarded if the call turns out to be a false alarm or if first arriving units determine that no further assistance is needed.

Why are there so many different types of fire trucks, especially when they cost so much? Couldn't you just have one truck to fight all the fires?
Different types of fires require different types of fire trucks. A structure fire, such as a barn fire or house fire, requires the truck to pump a lot of water, meaning it needs a larger pump and water tank. Plus, other equipment such as ladders, SCBA, and PPV fans, and larger hoses are needed, all of which much be carried on the truck. Then add that the truck needs to carry the firefighters and you have a truck much like Engine 51. On the other hand, a brush fire requires a lightweight truck with four-wheel drive to go out into the fields and woods to put out the fire, something like Booster 51. However, both of these trucks are limited to the amount of water they can carry before they become overloaded, so we have trucks specially designed to carry large amounts of water, like Tanker 51 or Tanker 52. Then, to respond to First Responder calls or bring additional manpower to fight a fire and save wear and tear on the larger trucks, you have trucks like Squad 51.

Does TVFD fill swimming pools?
No, per agreement with the Tarkington SUD. Filling swimming pools also places a truck out of service that might be needed to respond to fire, as well as causing wear-and-tear on this expensive equipment.

If these FAQs didn't answer your question, send us a an e-mail and we'll answer it ASAP.