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When Mark Jack began serving as a Commissioner for ESD 1 in 1998 he said he was determined to make the best use of his opportunity to serve.
In 2016, Jack was appointed to the Board of Directors for SAFE-D, which is the State Association of Fire and Emergency Services District.
Last year, he was elected by the Board of Directors to assume the role of President of SAFE-D. Through this role he said he hopes to bring better ESD operations to Parker County as a result of his role and experience.
“My position and participation on the SAFE-D Board provides me with a 30,000-foot perspective on ESD operations, which includes regular contact with other ESDs around the state,” Jack said. “I communicate and collaborate with other ESDs to learn how they are solving problems or collaborating on new ideas to benefit the local ESDs. Also, as President of the Board, I am the Legislative Chairman.
“In this role I work with the various senators and representatives on issues such as funding, safety, annexation, and mandates that affect all ESDs. I also have the opportunity to present local county issues to our state legislators. SAFE-D has prepared our 2019 Legislative Vision and Legislative Platform, and I am looking forward to working with legislators in Austin for the upcoming legislative session.”
Jack said Parker County is in a much better position in regards to fire protection throughout the incorporated and unincorporated areas due to the development and elections of ESD’s in the county.
“The level of fire protection in Parker County has vastly improved; however, looking forward, continued work and improvements are needed to keep up with the growth in the county,” he said. “Not only with ESD 1, but all the ESDs in Parker County, the cooperative working relationship between ESDs and departments is healthier than it has ever been. The ESDs funding has increased along with training opportunities. All of this results in better protection and service delivery to the county as a whole. We are in a better position now to provide new service for the growth stages that are occurring throughout the county.”
According to Jack the biggest problems facing the ESD’s in Parker County consist of planning and staffing. He said volunteers are not as available as in years past. Specific to fire, Jack said the risk of wild land urban interface fires continues, like the Willow Park fire in 2018 that quickly spread to the Tarrant County line. He said moving the county’s fire marshal position back to full time will help.
“I feel this is a valuable move to assist not only the fire departments and ESD’s but also everyone in the county,” he said. “When we have a major incident, the coordination and communication needs to be handled and controlled at a different level than the incident. School are involved, along with transportation routes and of course our residents. Having a full time fire marshal will benefit all the ESD’s and the county taxpayers.”
Preparation and working together is the key Jack said.
“That is something Parker County can and will continue to excel at,” he said.