Who We Are
The Jamaica Beach Volunteer Fire Department (JBVFD) is a certified First Responder organization with Advanced Life Support (ALS) capabilities founded in 1976. JBVFD is a 501(c)(3) 100% volunteer-based organization dedicated to the safety of the citizens of Jamaica Beach and to the safety of everyone who lives or visits the West end of Galveston Island. JBVFD is certified under the State Fireman’s and Fire Marshal’s Association (SFFMA) and all Firefighters are certified SFFMA Firefighter 1 or higher.
JBVFD has 34 active volunteer firefighters operating a 2010 Class A Pumper, a 1998 Class A Pumper, a 2004 105’ Platform Aerial, a 2000 Medium Rescue Truck, a 2017 Light Rescue Truck, a 2011 Brush Truck, a 21’ SeaLegs Amphibious rescue boat, a 2017 Tow Vehicle, 2 jet skis with rescue sleds, and two 2020 command vehicles that are BLS capable.
JBVFD has an automatic mutual aid agreement with the Galveston Fire Department for all structure fires on the West end of Galveston Island, and conversely, GFD will assist JBVFD with structure fires in Jamaica Beach.
JBVFD is a founding member of the Galveston Marine Response (GMR) which is made up of first responders from JBVFD, Galveston Island Beach Patrol, Galveston Fire Department, Galveston Police Department, Schlitterbahn Water Park, and Texas State Park Police. The GMR is set up to operate in any water-related emergency under the direction of the Galveston Emergency Operations Center. JBVFD will respond to any water-related rescue on the West end of Galveston Island. Additionally, we perform water rescue/searches in West Bay as mutual aid to the United States Coast Guard.
Jamaica Beach VFD is funded entirely by private donations and grants.
Jamaica Beach started when Johnny Goyen and Earl Galceran of the Jamaica Corporation developed Jamaica Beach as a 2,000-lot resort subdivision close to a marina. They acquired an area of 320 acres that was owned by the Moody family. An oil business person named R.E. “Bob” Smith decided not to be a partner in the development, but he purchased the Moody land and sold it to the developers. The city was incorporated on May 12, 1975, and by 1978, 141 residents lived in Jamaica Beach. By 1988 the city had 446 residents but no businesses. Currently today there are approximately 1078 residents, with a large influx during the peak season of March – October raising the population to 2,000-3,000. There are also three strip centers that house offices, restaurants, small businesses, and a hardware store. There are also two convenience stores and two houses of worship.
Before Jamaica Beach became its town, there was the West Isle Volunteer Fire Department. It was made up of several members from Galveston and what are now Jamaica Beach residents. When the West Isle Fire Department disbanded, it gave its equipment to several locals who were still dedicated to the volunteer fire service. They housed the equipment and made calls out of one of the individual’s garages. In 1976, after Jamaica Beach established itself as a town, a large brush fire almost destroyed the town. The city decided to build garages attached to the city hall to house the fire trucks and equipment. This became what is today the Jamaica Beach Volunteer Fire Department.
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