The Houston Fire Department was established in 1838 with one station, Protection Company No. 1. It grew to a volunteer fire department status with three stations by 1859. After having provided volunteer firefighting services for 57 years, the City of Houston Fire Department began paying its firefighters in 1895. HFD is the fourth largest fire department in the United States and is responsible for preserving life and property to a population of 1.8 million in an area totaling 617 square miles.
Today's modern fire service is presently undergoing a transitional process. Over the last few years, HFD has evolved into a highly sophisticated public safety rescue system that has saved hundreds of lives and reduced the severity of countless injuries and illnesses. The Houston Fire Department has a vision that guides the organization towards excellence. That goal is achieved through deliberate planning, adaptability and the courage to embrace challenges and opportunities.