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The Harris County Emergency Corps (HCEC) was founded in 1927 as a fully volunteer rescue and first aid group and was highly supported by both the Houston Fire Department and the Houston Police Department. Ted Felds was one of the organizations principal founders shortly after he opened a business called the Allied Safety Equipment Company in Houston. He remained the HCEC's director for many years during the era when funeral homes mostly provided ambulance service and were later joined by commercial services. Throughout the years, the HCEC responded to emergency calls throughout both the City of Houston and Harris County. When the Texas City Ship Disaster occured in 1947, the HCEC responded. It was during this incident that the vessel "High Flyer" exploded and caused Ted to loose his hearing.
During the 1960's, the Harris County Emergency Corps, Inc. expanded its operations to serve a fast growing city. The City of Houston Fire Department allowed its old Fire Station #15 at North Main Street & Houston Avenue to be used as its headquarters. In the late 60's the HCEC operated Unit 551 which was a 60's International Travel-All panel truck, Unit 552 and Unit 553 which were both late 50's Chevrolet panel trucks and its primary response Unit 554 which was a 1968 Chevrolet suburban panel truck. These units were staffed with a "running member" who drove and functioned as the senior officer, a regular member who rode "seat" and a reserve member who rode in the middle.
"Running Members" also lived in various parts of the city and maintained private station wagons and sedans which were equipped with a resuscitator, a 36-unit first aid kit, back boards and other American Red Cross "Emergency First Aid Unit" authorized equipment. In those days, the Houston Fire Department mainly concentrated on rescue at fires and rarely responded to medical calls. If a "resuscitator call" was received, the HCEC would dispatch the closest running member unit and a close-by member could also respond with a rescue truck when needed for accidents. The HCEC relocated to the unincorporated area of North Harris County when the Houston Fire Department took over the city-wide ambulance service in April-1971.
During follow-on years, the HCEC greatly diminished its rescue mission and became a paramedic level ambulance service serving a district in North Harris County until the organization ceased operations in the 90's after their district was reassigned to another private 911 provider company.
Last Revision Date: 3/4/08 - 8:17 AM