Lake Cities Fire Chief Michael Ross has a lot to celebrate. He’s been singing his department’s praises constantly since taking the helm nearly two years ago, and now he’s not the only one. The 53 men and women who protect and serve the region aren’t just his pride and joy; they’ve now been recognized as among the best of the best, taking top honors in a series of reviews and awards by industry professionals.
The recognition is appreciated, but it’s something Chief Ross has known all along.
LCFD has three fire stations to serve and protect residents in Corinth, Hickory Creek, Lake Dallas, and Shady Shores. The department recently underwent a thorough review by The Center for Public Safety Management to determine its ability to protect, educate, and manage the community’s anticipated rapid growth. Not only did the department pass with flying colors for its existing structure, training, performance measures, prevention activities, and interactions with the community, but Ross said he heard that CPSM officials were struggling to find anything wrong.
“I’ve always been proud of this department and will tell people how good it is. But everyone thinks their baby is beautiful,” Ross said with a laugh. “It’s nice to have someone validate those beliefs. They went through us with a fine-tooth comb and believed like we do that we are taking care of our community. I like where we are at right now.”
The best practices review is just one in a long line of accolades and new developments for both the fire department and the City of Corinth, which for the past two years has unveiled several steps they’ve taken to put the city on the map. The Fire Department is no exception. In 2018, the Insurance Services Office (ISO) upgraded the LCFD’s rating from a Class 4/4X to a split Class 2/2Y. The rating is from 1-10, with 1 being “the best.” Insurance companies use this information to help establish fair premiums for fire insurance and generally offer lower premiums in communities with better protection.
Included in that ISO rating was the department’s new Station 3, which was under construction at the time and completed in 2019. The new station put an emergency services presence on the west side of the community and allows the fire department to provide more coverage and significantly improve its response times throughout the Lake Cities.
The fire department was also awarded Gold Level for Pediatric Care in April, and Station 3 was awarded the Texas Masonry Council Golden Trowel Award in October for its design.
“The changes we have gone through, they’ve all been accepted well,” Ross said. “Our efficiencies are better. We’ve streamlined our processes. We’ve had some growth and promotions. It’s just a good time for us right now, even with all the added stress of COVID-19. And by following our new protocols, we haven’t had any internal contamination. I just couldn’t be happier with the way we are all working together and the relationship we have with all the towns and cities.”
Corinth City Manager Bob Hart agreed, saying that it’s those relationships that have truly set the fire department apart.
“When you talk about effectiveness, you look at what type of difference the fire department is making in the community and how good the communication level is and interaction with businesses and schools with fire education and prevention. That’s where I feel they do a great job,” Hart said.
With the fire department firing on all cylinders, the City of Corinth can continue pushing forward with its strategic plan called Corinth 2030. Corinth has long been one of the top growth areas in Texas and the United States and boasts nearly 22,000 residents. But the city wants to attract quality residential and nonresidential development, increase citizen engagement and proactive government, and focus more on regional cooperation among all the Lake Cities communities.
In the near future, there will be a 20-acre mixed-use development at the southwest corner of Corinth Parkway and I-35E. It will include a mix of sit-down restaurants, a hotel, high-end multi-family residences, and a trail system that ties into the existing trail network around Corinth.
With an exciting future ahead, significant growth is bound to happen. And when it does, the Lake Cities Fire Department will be there to ensure a safe transition.
“When I came here, the goal was to do our jobs better,” Ross said. “If certain things were working, then great. But if not, what can we do to be better? I am blessed to lead this amazing group of individuals and am honored to be their Chief.”