ISSUE 20
FEBRUARY 2020
15-year-old Kingwood Girl Thanks HFD and Neighbor for Saving Her Life
By: Diana Rodriguez / EMS Coordinator

Kate Tiedtke is a 15-year-old avid high school soccer player.  In December 2019, she participated in an out-of-state, national Soccer showcase for three days straight, then boarded a delayed flight and finally arrived home at 2 AM!  A few hours later, Kate went to school and attended most of her classes, then practiced soccer – 2 - 4 PM, as usual.  Kate was surprisingly not tired and told her Mom, “I feel like my heart is beating really fast!” Ms. Laura Tiedtke was concerned, but Kate said she was energized and felt fine.  After dinner, Kate became suddenly tired.  She sat on her bed to do some homework and within moments, her Mom witnessed her stop breathing and lose pulses. Kate’s Dad, Darin Tiedtke, called 9-1-1 and asked their neighbor, a retired RN to help.  Their neighbor Katherine performed bystander CPR until HFD arrived. A few minutes later, HFD Ladder 101 EMTs arrived, continued CPR and used their AED to shock Kate several times. HFD paramedics from Medic 102 arrived shortly thereafter and shocked Kate a few more times and provided advanced life support.  Kate’s pulse was restored and as crews placed her in the ambulance, she tried to talk and fought vigorously enroute to the hospital, pulling off her medical equipment!

 

Kate was hospitalized and has had a full recovery.  She is hoping to return to playing soccer very soon! Kate’s parents, Laura and Darin Tiedtke, as well as older brothers, Chase and Luke, are so relieved that she survived this ordeal.  They all want to express their appreciation to the Houston Fire Department as well as to their neighbor Katherine Brown for helping save Kate’s life!

• Bystander CPR: Katherine Brown, RN

• HFD EMS Sr. 9-1-1 Telecommunicator: Mark Williams

• L 101: Sr. Capt. Rebecca Wilson; E/O Michael Dixon, FF Ryan Twyman, FF Tory Rasmus,

• M 102 Paramedics: E/O Jeffrey Grissom; FF Stephen Scott

• EMS Supv. 30: Paramedic Capt. Christopher Ponzica

• MD-6: Dr. Michael G. Gonzalez

New Members Need for HFD's Critical Incident Stress Management Team 
Asst. Chief Rodney West

The HFD CISM (Critical Incident Stress Management) Team is accepting applications for new members. The CISM team provides psychological first aid to members of the department who are exposed to traumatic events such as civilian fatalities, injuries to children, and line-of-duty deaths of fire personnel. Upon occasions, our services are offered to family members, retirees, or to persons outside the immediate department. In helping those who have experienced a traumatic event our goals are to: lessen the negative effects of the traumatic events and provide effective coping strategies. Applicants must have at least five years of experience in the department and must submit:  an application, three most recent EPE's (Rating of 3.00 or higher) , and a letter of recommendation from the immediate supervisor.  Applications should be sent to:  Dr. Sam Buser, Staff Psychologist 1801 Smith Street, 6th Floor Houston, TX 77002. The deadline to submit application is March 6, 2020. After all applications have been received, 

the applicants will be screened by members of the CISM team, including the Clinical Director. TRAINING: Each new CISM Team member will receive three introductory courses in critical incident stress management provided by instructors certified by the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF): •    Individual Crisis Intervention and Peer Support •    Group Crisis Intervention •    Suicide Prevention, Intervention, and Postvention and other more advanced courses are offered to team members on a periodic basis.  

AVAILABILITY: New members are required to be available for deployment as part of the CISM team on a periodic basis and must submit an availability agreement to the CISM Team. Participation on the CISM Team is a voluntary and additional duty. While the service is very beneficial to the HFD family, there will be occasions (based upon staffing and budget constraints) that CISM team members will not receive compensation for services performed. CONFIDENTIALITY· Most importantly, CISM Team members will be in discussions where they hear first-hand details of incidents that have occurred. They become intimately aware of details of those events as well as the impact of those events on 
involved persons. This information cannot be discussed with anyone outside of the CISM team. The team has worked diligently to establish and maintain the trust of HFD members, Command Staff, and families, and this trust must be maintained.

 

For questions, please contact CISM Team Coordinator Captain Jason "Bear" Wilson@ (281 )507-8702. We hope that you will consider this opportunity and step forward to become part of our specialized team. 

Emergency Response Update
Asst. Chief Isaac Garcia

Emergency Response in 2020 will be focusing on several broad goals related to Health and Safety, Dispatch Steering and Guideline Revisions. These initiatives have several special projects supporting these organizational goals. Each division of Emergency Operations, EMS and Professional Development face the challenges of maintaining the high level of emergency services while attempting to refine the delivery of those services. Projects such as Officer Development, Dispatch Steering, Turnout Gear Cleaning and 1851 Compliance, Motorola Accountability System and the Deployable Operations Group (DOG) are just some of the ongoing and new initiatives we hope to improve upon. Emergency Response will be working with and supporting special projects that will improve the health, safety and welfare of our members. Operational staffing and retention continues to be a challenge. Therefore, Emergency Response continues to work with Human Resources and Finance to

forecast needs for hiring and paramedic training. We hope to be able to provide regular updates regarding these initiatives. We appreciate the hard work and dedication that each of you show on a daily basis. Please be safe out there.

HFD Takes Part in National Burn Awareness Week

Sparky and HFD Public Affairs taking part in #NationalBurnAwarenessWeek at Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital. Most “fire-related injuries” are burns. In fact, approximately every 60 seconds someone in the U.S. sustains a burn injury serious enough to require treatment.

Texas Brotherhood Ride 2020

The 2020 Texas Brother Ride is scheduled from September 6th - September 12th. The mission of the Brotherhood Ride is to ride bicycles in honor of emergency responders who died in the line of duty and to provide emotional and financial support to the families and co-workers. The journey will begin in McAllen, Texas and will end in Houston, Texas. The ride is 7 days and will cover over 550 miles. This year the 16 members being honored who paid the ultimate sacrifice are: 

Our support personnel are divided into full time members and part time members. With the leadership of the Support Coordinator, support members keep the event rolling. The Texas Brotherhood Ride is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) public charity organization. Other than the cost of conducting the rides, all donated proceeds go directly to the beneficiaries designated. The application for Sponsorship Packages provides contact information as well as details for monetary donations and/or product donations (list included). No member or rider is compensated for their time and all of our team members sacrifice their own time with their family and work to participate in this event. If you are interested in joining our team, we have limited availability openings for riders and support. To receive an application, please indicate whether you'll be applying as a rider or support member and send your contact information to texasbrotherhoodride@gmail.com. 

Shrink rap

How To Recover From Divorce
By Zongqi Li, Psychology Intern

We all know divorce rates are high, but how about here at the Houston Fire Department (HFD)? Our research shows that 9% of our members are currently divorced. For those who are married, widowed, or living with a partner, 25-37% were previously divorced, with 4-9% being married 3+ times. What this data tells us is… divorce is a common experience in firefighters. We never get married with the intention to divorce. There are many reasons couples end their marriage, such as lack of communication, infidelity, and nonstop arguing. Just because divorce is common, it does not mean it is not painful. For people who are going through a separation (2% of HFD firefighters), it may feel that the pain will never go away. It is fairly common that we will lose faith in love, believing nobody will ever love us again.We may blame the divorce on ourselves. People often ask, “How long does it take to recover from a divorce?” Many factors play a role in this question, such as whether the divorce was a surprise for you, how long have you been together, and whether there are children involved (Gadoua, 2010).

When we are going through a divorce, we are grieving the loss of a relationship and a partner. We are grieving the loss of the future we envisioned with that person. Fortunately, we can heal from divorce, and there are things you can do to speed up this process.

 

1. Allow yourself to feel. It is common to hear firefighters say they do not know how they feel. Many firefighters report they just feel numb. As firefighters, we have to shut down our emotions when responding to calls. If we allow ourselves to access our emotions on the job, we would likely break down and be unable to perform at the scene. As a result, we get used to turning off our feelings - compartmentalizing, and that is how we do not let these distressing calls bother us. However, if we constantly suppress our human emotions, it is possible that we never get a chance to fully process the divorce. If we do not properly grieve, it is likely we will bring the emotional burden into our next relationship.

2. Don’t dwell on the past. Sometimes it is hard for us to understand why the marriage ended. We are prone to retrace everything we did in the marriage, figure out we should or shouldn’t have done, and what mistakes our partner made (Finn, 2017). During this process, it is easy to view ourselves as the victims and the partner as the villain. It is easy for us to get lost in this finger-pointing process. We get stuck in the misery. However, it does nothing for us to recover. Instead, we can view the divorce as a failed relationship and learn from it. When we are constantly dwelling on the past, we are unable to move forward in live our lives.  

3. Rediscover who you are. When we have been married for a long time, being someone’s husband or wife becomes part of our identity. In a marriage, we learned to compromise and give up some personal hobbies and interests. Now that we are single, it is the time to pick up old hobbies, explore new interests, and start to form a new identity. Maybe you used to like playing sports or hanging out with friends. Now it is time to redefine ourselves and to prepare us for the next chapter in life.

 

Going through a divorce can feel isolating. You do not have to do it alone. It’s okay to ask friends and family members for support. If you worry about being a burden to others, that’s where getting professionals involved can be helpful. The Houston Fire Department offers free counseling services to firefighters.

 

There are many ways to get support in healing from divorce.

 

HFD Staff Psychologists    

Dr. Sam Buser 281-799-8032

Dr. Jana Tran 281-901-4341

Chaplain  

Captain Bobby Delgado 281-409-9256

Member Advocate

Captain Laura Hunter 281-896-9499

FSN Assistant

EO Richard Ponce 281-386-5032

 

Zongqi Li is an HFD Psychology Intern working with Dr. Sam Buser and Dr. Jana Tran,  HFD Staff Psychologists. Zongqi is a doctoral student in the UH Counseling Psychology program.

Fill the Boot Gearing Up

The Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association have scheduled the upcoming 2020 Fill the Boot collection dates for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Members should wear only department approved blue HFD caps or the blue MDA caps during collection dates/times. For their safety, all companies should utilize their traffic cones and vest while working intersections. In the event of inclement weather, the dispatcher will tone all stations to cancel the event. FILL THE BOOT DATES: 

D Shift - Saturday, April 11, 2020 C Shift - Saturday, April 18, 2020 B Shift- Saturday, April 25, 2020 A Shift- Saturday, May 2, 2020

The supply & kickoff dates below reflect when MDA staff will visit district fire stations to drop off supplies, answer your questions, and update you about MDA. MDA staff will be calling district stations to let them know the exact time. SUPPLY & KICKOFF DATES: D Shift - Friday, April 3, 2020 
C Shift - Friday, April 10, 2020 
B Shift - Thursday, April 23, 2020 
A Shift - Thursday, April 30, 2020 

Teaching Kids About Fire Safety

Firefighters from Station 67 visiting Edward Vines School teaching kids about fire safety. 

Honoring Veterans

Flag flying high at the grand opening of the new Texas State Veterans Home. Proud to be involved in the celebration.

Public Affairs is responsible for Public Education events which include flag displays like this one, Fire Extinguisher Training (1), Puppet Shows (14), General Fire Safety Speakers (9) and Health Fairs (4) and other events (30). Community Liaisons attended 61 events in the 4th quarter.

School Visit

Station 27 visiting Harbor Christian Academy.  The kids had such a great time and learned a ton! 

Community Interaction

The HFD Public Affairs Office schedules requests for Apparatus Visits, Station Tours, Parades and Specific Events. 343 total events were scheduled in the 4th quarter. 

Upcoming Events 

March 5, 2020

Free Children's Immunization Clinic will be held at Station 27 starting at 4pm.

March 7, 2020

Annual Houston Firefighters' Memorial Ceremony will be held at the Firefighter Memorial Garden Conference Center 

March 26, 2020

Houston Fire Department Promotion Ceremony will be held at the Legacy Room located at 901 Bagby at 11am.

April 2, 2020

The Grand Opening of the new Station 55 will be held at 11am

Send us your ideas for HFD's Monthly Newsletter!

to submit a question to Fire Chief, to Sam Peña 

Chief's Corner
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