Fire coverage in Texas County outside of the city limits of Houston is almost entirely funded by membership dues.
According to the Houston Rural Fire Association Board, only about 25-percent of residents within the department’s coverage area currently pay dues.
Volunteer fire departments around the nation face constantly rising operation costs, including insurance, workmen’s compensation, vehicle maintenance, fuel and more. Funding for Houston Rural’s equipment, fuel, training and more is dependent on membership dues, which is why the board made the decision to raise dues this year.
“And paying your dues allows you to enjoy peace of mind, knowing that you are protected and can receive help when you need it most,” said Houston Rural Fire Department Chief Don Gaston.
Conversely, if you choose not to be a member and Houston Rural responds to a fire at your residence, you will be charged for expenses (which is permitted by state law; RSMo Sec 320.302).
“And that will far surpass the cost of dues,” Gaston said.
In the past, Houston Rural has been lenient with regard to charging non-members, but increasing expenses mean that those times must end, Gaston said.
Fire department membership status not only ensures fire protection, Gaston said, but because of Houston Rural’s ISO-7 rating it also results (in most cases) in homeowner’s insurance discounts that are often greater than the cost dues. And paying dues for both fire and rescue services results in a discount in the total dues amount.
For more information, call Gaston at 417-217-1747.
“It’s all about being able to help and protect the people in our area and their belongings,” he said.