City of Houston Mayor's Office of Communications 

Mayor's Press Release

Mayor Turner Highlights City's Robust Investment in The Houston Fire Department

June 26, 2023 -- Mayor Sylvester Turner today is highlighting the robust investment the City of Houston has made in the Houston Fire Department through equipment acquisition, funding, and personnel during his administration. Despite numerous court decisions on lawsuits filed by the fire union, including the Texas Supreme Court’s most recent ruling in favor of the City of Houston against pay parity, this administration has remained steadfast in its support of the brave men and women of the Houston Fire Department.

HFD Chief Sam Pena recently shared a detailed report with the mayor and members of the Houston City Council that provides a high-level overview of over $155 million in investments for the HFD from FY2017 through FY2023. Mayor Turner and City Council have approved $16.3 million for fire trucks, aerial trucks, and utility vehicles, plus another $3.8 Million for tools and personal protective equipment in FY24.

"Public safety and protecting all Houstonians have remained a priority during my administration in the past 7 1/2 years. The City has invested in equipment and budgeted additional cadet classes for FY 24 to enhance HFD's response capabilities. Whether we are replacing aging equipment for fire and rescue or providing new high-water rescue apparatus, I do not want the public to overlook our commitment and the taxpayers' investment in building a highly -skilled and well-equipped department," said Mayor Turner.

To: Mayor and City Council
From Houston Fire Chief Sam Pena

The past seven years have been pivotal for the City of Houston and the Houston Fire Department (HFD). Despite a global pandemic and several weather-related disasters, the last few years are a story of how the city confronted a series of unprecedented challenges and, with resolve and ingenuity, rose to meet each of them. The following represents a list of accomplishments and investments in the HFD that have enabled us to protect our residents and firefighters.

As Fire Chief, it is important for me to maintain the trust bestowed upon us and to fulfill the promise to our community. Through responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars and sound planning, we have aimed to make good on those promises. The department’s priorities have been focused on improving the reliability of our response fleet and resources; updating emergency response guidelines and deployment models; certification and continuing education training; and investing in essential public and firefighter health and safety resources. With support from Mayor Sylvester Turner, City Council, and Houston taxpayers, the HFD has significantly progressed in meeting the stated priorities. This report will highlight our progress and provide information on the department’s effort to improve service to our community and employees continually.

The following is a high-level overview of over $155 Million in investments for the HFD from FY2017 through FY2023. Countless minor investments are not highlighted here, but they are no less significant and can be quantified by referencing purchase orders approved through council action over the last seven years.  The work ahead is vital, and I look forward to building on the momentum we have created. Please do not hesitate to ask if you need additional information or have any questions.

Fire Department Budget

  • FY2024 = $593,314,576
  • FY2023 = $559,069,018
  • FY2022 = $535,459,419
  • FY2021 = $509,950,566
  • FY2020 = $507,076,141
  • FY2019 = $503, 459,709
  • FY2018 = $481,151,022

Grants / Donations (2017 -2023)

  • Total Non-Traditional Funding = $27,610,833
    • Donations = $1,402,769
    • Grants (Local, State, Federal) = $26,208,064 


  • Headcount ~3,700
  • 18% total pay raise for all classified employees (6% per year from FY22-FY24)

Cadet Hiring

  • 1, 127 fire cadets hired from 2017 through June 20, 2023
  • 25% Pay Increase for HFD Cadets starting February 2020 (First cadet pay raise since 2001)
  • $5,000 Cadet Incentive Pay

Department Awards

  • Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) accredited agency 2021
  • Insurance Services Office (ISO) Public Protection Classification (PPC)
    • The HFD was awarded an ISO PPC of one (1) in 2022. The PPC is a community fire protection scoring system that grades the community’s water distribution system, fire department equipment and manpower, fire alarm facilities, and other factors. Communities are given a PPC score from 1 to 10.
      • One means the community has superior property fire protection. Ten means the community’s fire protection efforts don’t meet ISO’s minimum criteria.

Personnel Health and Safety

  • NFPA 1582 Compliant Medical Physicals/Cancer Screening to be available for all classified employees
  • Health and Safety Chief Position Created

Operational Investments

  • Added a HazMat Response Unit
  • Added five (5) Peak-Time Ambulance Units
  • Added and formalized 42-member Wildland Firefighter Team
  • Added and formalized 80-member Water Strike Team


  • Fleet Capital Investment
    • 2016 = $5.7 Million
    • 2017 = $6.2 Million
    • 2018 = $7.5 Million
    • 2019 = $10.6 Million
    • 2020 = $10.1 Million
    • 2021 = $14.9 Million
    • 2022 = $10.3 Million
    • 2023 = $10.3 Million 

Apparatus/Equipment cont.

  • Over 50% of all HFD fleet vehicles were replaced in the last seven years (including Engine Units, Aerial Units, District Chiefs vehicles, Supervisor Vehicles, Brush Trucks, and Cascades Units)
  • 105 Light duty vehicles replaced under the vehicle lease program
  • 15 High Water Evacuation Vehicles added (HWVs and HW Boosters)
  • 10 Prime Movers added
  • Replaced Evacuation and Rescue Boats, Jet Skies, and Fire Boat
  • NFPA Ladder and Hose testing contracts formalized
  • Mobile Data Computer (MDT) and Radio upgrades for apparatus

Personal Protective, Safety, and Accountability Equipment

  • 2nd Set of Bunker Gear/PPE for Emergency Ops – Strategic Purchase Plan
  • Ballistic Helmets/Vests for all Emergency Ops riding positions
  • SDI Accountability System replacement
  • Thermal Imaging Cameras – full replacement
  • Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) Replacement
  • Radio Replacement
  • Life Safety Bureau (LSB) Records Management System
  • Half-Mask Respirators for Emergency Ops, LSB, and Arson
  • ICC Contract for 2012, 2015, and 2021 fire code publication rights
  • Arson and LSB Personal Protective Equipment augment
  • Equipment and training for Active Attack Integrated Response (AAIR) classes

Health and Safety – Building/Infrastructure Improvements

  • Plymovent Vehicle Exhaust Systems Installation at all HFD facilities – 100% funded
  • Extractor Commercial Gar Washers at all HFD Facilities – 100% funded
  • Electrical and Plumbing upgrades funded as needed to accommodate Extractor installation