Issue 1
April  2018
More Flood Response Equipment Approved 
By: Sheldra Brigham

The Houston city council voted to spend $2 million to purchase new boats, high water vehicles and other rescue equipment to help prepare for future flooding. 

Through a Mayor Approved initiative and private donations the Houston Fire Department is on track to secure the following vehicles as part of its Flood Response Fleet.

The Houston Fire Department will purchase 4 additional High Water Vehicles, 2 Rescue Boats, 4 Evacuation Boats, 10 prime movers, 4 jet skis, personal flotation devices, survival packages for flood strike teams, and a public safety drone.  

“With the acquisition of the requested high water assets and training funds, the HFD will be better prepared to address the normally expected flood evacuation and rescue risk in our community,” Chief Samuel Peña, Houston Fire Department.  

Fleet and Facilities Update
Asst. Chief Ruy Lozano

In addition to the Mayor’s initiative, our community has been extremely generous with donations.   The following organizations have donated either money to purchase equipment or they have purchased equipment themselves.   A special thanks to the Firefighter Foundation of Houston, The 100 Club of Houston, Firehouse Subs Foundation, Civic Entertainment Group, KBR Inc., AT&T, Council Member Travis, Council Member Stardig, and Council Member Steve Le.

The HFD is planning the following purchases:

  • 8 Highwater vehicles

  • 10 Prime moves- 4x4 Pickup trucks equipped to tow boats.

  • 4 Swift Water Rescue Boats (Zodiacs)

  • 10 Evacuation Boats

  • 4 Wave runners

  • 1 Drone

  • Equipment for Technical Rescue Strike Team and for Water Strike Team.

Even more equipment is on the way. Council Member Travis recently approved the use of Council District Funds to purchase 2 Evacuation Boats and rescue saws for his district. Council Member Cisneros recently approved the purchase of rescue saws for her district. Council Member Boykins recently purchased rescue saw for his stations and repaired a significant sink hole in front of station 46s.

FACILITIES MAINTENACE

Bathrooms at the VJTF are nearly completed giving facilities access near the burn building. This was provided by council district funds by Council Member Gallegos. FY19 Fleet CIP budget was nearly doubled to 10.8 million for the purchase of Emergency Response and Support vehicles. The Houston Fire Department was recently awarded a New Hazmat Truck through a Port Security Grant. Station 8- Diesel Exhaust system is nearly complete. This was purchased through a Chevron donation to be a model for all station in the future.

Houston Fire Department Memorial Ceremony
Photos Courtesy of Matt Milam

Firefighters, families and friends gathered to honor members who have died in the line of duty, as well as all members who are gone, but never forgotten. The ceremony took place March 3, 2018 at 4 p.m. at the Houston Firefighters' Memorial Garden. Presenters read the names of 73 men and women. There was also a bell toll for each of their names.

HFD Command Introduction
Professional Development By: Asst. Chief Michael C. Mire 

We’re happy to be a part of this monthly newsletter!  It is our intent to utilize this inaugural issue to familiarize you with the structure of this command and its values. This command’s vision is to “Establish HFD’s brand as a symbol of excellence and become a beacon of direction in the American fire service.”  Objectives carrying Professional Development Command toward that vision include: (a) supporting Operations by being an impetus for performance; (b) expanding Regional Training to become a premier training institution; (c) establishing industry standards; and (d) being a catalyst for organizational culture change.  The benchmarks are: (a) capital improvements; (b) increased training; (c) member certifications; (d) succession planning; and (e) improved accountability in Operations.  It is these points that guide the changes of this command and any decisions the officers can make with confidence.

Professional Development Command intends to make reports and executive summaries available on CityPointe in effort to keep members informed.  We extend an opportunity for members to become active in effecting great change in this organization.  You are welcome to review the reports and forward your suggestions through the chain-of-command.

You are encouraged to explore our CityPointe page.  This is where you’ll find training information, reports, and an updated organizational chart.  The organizational chart details Professional Development, each division, project managers and their extension number.  You are always welcome to contact the project manager should you need their assistance.  We will continue to update our desktop in efforts to keep you informed.

In upcoming newsletters this command will detail progress in achieving its benchmarks and how organizational objectives are met.  There are a lot of great training and performance projects in development that will soon become a fruition. 

Remembering Retired Captain Terry Crawford

Captain Terry Neal Crawford passed away on February 8, 2018. Captain Crawford joined the Houston Fire Department on April 15, 1972. According to his wife he loved everything about the fire department, He was a leader willing to do whatever it took to make things better for all. He gave his heart and soul to the men and women of the Houston Fire Department.

His love and devotion to them led him to be one of the founding members of the HFD Pipes and Drums, Honor Guard and write the HFD Funeral Procedure. He also designed the HFD Retiree uniform patch as well as the Honor Guard Service Medal.

Neal also loved the Rodeo. He competed in the National Rodeo Finals and he also met his wife while attending the Rodeo.

After almost 33 years of dedication, Captain Crawford retired from the Houston Fire Department on May 15, 2004, however he continued to work with and develop the HFD Pipes and Drums.

Those who served with him say it was an honor to know Neal and his memory lives on through his work and the impact he had on those around him.

Emergency Response Division
By: Assistant Chief Isaac Garcia

The Emergency Response Division has been focusing on improving communication with members in the field and allowing feedback to reach those who can affect positive change. In the Emergency Response Division we have Emergency Operations, EMS, and Professional Development.  Each division has their own challenges and goals. Many of the challenges have been amplified due to financial constraints however we have been able to make modest improvements within our organization despite these challenges. We have several Chief Officers who are committed to helping the department and are serving as program managers within our division. Without their help and commitment many of HFD’s initiatives would be unfulfilled. Chief Kibler is the program manager for the SCBA, Hood, Radio and Inline Mask Communication rollout scheduled for late May or early June.  Chief Martin is the Program Manager for the Accountability System and is assisting in the Harvey AAR. Chief Haygood is assigned to Special Projects and is the point of contact for the Kingwood response project due to the repair of 59 bridge damaged by Hurricane Harvey.  Chief Ortiz is the project manager for the Dispatch Steering Committee and is working with OEC to make recommendations to our dispatch model to ensure HFD is using an Effective Response Force model. Thorough and complete Fire and EMS records are a vital piece to his efforts.  Chief Fritsch is our Administrative Staffing Chief who oversees the Transfer and Staffing Office. He is currently revising the Transfer Guideline and is preparing for an April posting.

 

FY’19 Budget submissions have been completed by our division and we look forward to the new fiscal year. Many of our recommendations have been accepted and we hope to have a successful year of training initiatives. We recently received 4 Engine apparatus from Metro Fire and expect 10 new engines, 2 ladder trucks and 1 tower in FY’19.  Tentatively the 4 engines will replace E27, E48, E 18 and E77. HFD can also expect 7 new EMS units to assist with the squad to Medic transition in the month of April.

 

The EMS division has several initiatives for FY’19 that will improve response, records, and funding. Training for EMS such as Medical Management is currently in our FY’19 budget along with other training initiatives.  HFD expects to hold a paramedic credentialing class early April that will have at least 20 to 25 members entering the paramedic internship.

 

This year Emergency Response Command has seen spectacular efforts on fire scenes and rescue events. We continue to be impressed by the performance of our Firefighters and EMS personnel.  We will continue to work diligently to provide you all with the necessary equipment, training and support to effectively respond to emergencies and to be safe.

OEC Brief
By: Deputy Chief Communications John W. Syzdek Sr.
  • There were 86 successful psych call diversions to the CCD counsellors during the month of February 2018.

  • HIPAA training for the HFD civilian employees is being developed and scheduled for delivery in April 2018.  Classified employees are current as training was delivered via Moodle in October 2017.

  • On-going meetings to develop an active shooter protocol.

  • On-going meetings to address the impact to Kingwood responses because of the I-69 bridge construction over the San Jacinto River.

  • EMS Dispatch Steering Committee currently in the process of updating the call taker training manual.

  • Fire Dispatch Steering Committee is researching and looking for efficiencies in fire responses.  Recommendations scheduled to be ready by June 2018 for the Fire Chief’s approval.

  • Digital Sandbox training for OEC personnel to be delivered at the end of the month in March 2018.

RBI Model in Process

On December 5,2017, a presentation was given to the City Council Public Safety & Homeland Security regarding the implementation of the Risk Based Inspection Program. It can be viewed at the following link: http://houstontx.swagit.com/play/12122017-1938. The purpose of this presentation was to inform council that a strategic, risk-based approach to the inspection process has been developed and implemented. However, it was also to advise them that there is currently a lack of resources to meet the full implementation of the model. Future discussions will involve recommendations on the exact additional resources needed to meet the demand. The Life Safety Bureau implemented the Risk Base Inspection model. The RBI model identified all businesses in the City of Houston. These businesses were assigned a rating and prioritize for inspections. Tablet roll-out for Inspectors completed in October 2017. RBI model went live end of October.

Fire Prevention, Planning, and Homeland Security
From the Desk of Chief Richard Mann, Assistant Chief

It has already been nine months since being assigned to Fire Prevention, Planning and Homeland Security. It has been a very educational and informative time. The most important take-away has been that this division has an excellent and dedicated group of members that do an outstanding job in an everyday basis. I intend to be a strong advocate for this division through the core values of citizen safety and customer service, and hope to find ways to bridge the gap that occasionally occurs between Fire Prevention and Emergency Operations.

I hope through this newsletter we can basically capture the successes and challenges of this division and looking ahead at what we anticipate in the upcoming months. We hope this information sharing will help keep the division as well as the department informed and on the same page.

Houston Fire Department Honors Trailblazers

Every year in the spirit of Black History Month, the Houston Fire Department honors the first class of African- Americans to be sworn into the Department.

This Annual Trailblazers event began in 2006, as an opportunity to honor and say “Thank You” to the Class of 1955 – 10 men who set the tone for more African-Americans to become members of this elite organization.

In addition, the goal of the Trailblazers Event has always been to establish a scholarship program to enable the next generation to become future firefighters. Over the past few years, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen-area franchisees saw the vision and donated a portion of their restaurant sales toward thousands of dollars in scholarship. The scholarships were awarded to three Houston-area high school seniors involved in the Houston Fire Department’s C.A.S.E.Y. Club.

HFD Operations Update
By: Assistant Chief Herbert Griffin
  • HFD is receiving (10) new double stack evacuation boats allocated for Fire stations# 102, 84, 44, 90 and New Fire Station 55. EV Boat training will begin March 2018 thru April 2018

  • HFD has be approved to develop a (60) member Water Strike Team.

  • HFD received funding for the purchase of its second UAS Drone.

  • Emergency Operations Command is working on providing District Chiefs with gas monitoring devices.

  • Digital Sandbox is being reformatted to a more efficient Rapid Assessment Form for uploading TEAP information.

Houston Firehouse 32 Reopens

Station 32 was the original Garden Oaks Volunteer Fire Station located at the corner of West 34th and Brinkman and was relocated in 1980 at Tidwell and Mayberry.

Since 1980, the station has seen minor renovations. On March 21, 2017 Engine 32 moved into a temporary building at the station while the Ambulance was moved to nearby Station 45.

Then on January 17, 2018, the renovations were completed and now the 9,700-square foot station houses the Engine, Ambulance and Booster unit.

The major renovations cost $1,400,000 and were done completely by the General Services Division in House Renovation Group. This work includes: the walls, flooring, plumbing, electrical, ceiling, HVAC, furniture, appliances, and pavement repair.

Firefighters Visit Young Boy Fighting Cancer

Houston Fire Department Station 33 fulfilled a special request for the coolest kid. His name is Damon and he is fighting for his life. Damon was receiving treatment at MD Anderson. He’s from San Antonio and was made and honorary firefighter by the San Antonio Fire Department. But while he was in Houston getting treatment, he’s was made and HFD honorary firefighter! The crew from Station 33 visited Damon at the Shelter for Cancer Families’ apartments and there were a lot of smiles. The crew visited with other kids and their families also fighting cancer.

A Special thanks to Chief Charles Hood, Houston Fire Chief Sam Pena, Francis Tran, Richard Cole and Chief Herbert Griffin for organizing and of course station 33 for lifting the spirits of these tough kids and their families.

Firefighter Support Network:  Update March 2018
by: Laura Hunter

Psychology Services were provided to 119 firefighters and/or family members, many had multiple sessions.

9 firefighters entered external (non COH or HFD Psychology) treatment programs.

165 firefighters received assistance regarding COH Benefits

Worker’s Compensation

Family Leave Medical Act (FMLA)

Wellness Initiatives

2018 OPEN ENROLLMENT begins April 1st and runs through Friday, April 13th.

What’s New???

Contribution rates are increasing in all medical plans.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is now covered as a medical benefit.

Cholesterol medications (statins) will be available for no co-pay at retail pharmacies if you are between the ages of 40 and 75.

Telehealth benefits are available.  If your doctor provides this service, a co-payment will apply.

Any unused Healthcare Flexible Spending Account funds as of April 30, 2019 will be lost or forfeited, so it is important to elect an amount that you will use between May 1, 2018 -April 30, 2019.

Premiums & Premium Discounts

Please review your 1st full pay check in May.  The 1st full pay-period consists of time worked from May 5th -May 18th, 2018.  The new premiums will be visible on the check and any non-compliance fees should also be visible.

Astros Partner with Gardner Denver to Adopt Fire Stations

The Houston Astros and Gardner Denver are continuing to adopt Houston Fire Stations. The program seeks to support local first responders and the work they do in the community. The program connected Houston Fire Stations and Astros players by their corresponding jersey numbers. Stations 6,13, and 62 which are linked to Astros players Jake Marinick, Tyler White, and Brady Rodgers were introduced to members during the Astros Caravan in January. The Astros plan to provide tickets and tee-shirts to the different stations.

Jennifer Horlick HFD's First Female Communications Chief

How long have you been with HFD?

16 years

What made you decide to join HFD?

A few things: It involves being outdoors, no two days are the same, being part of a team and serving the community.  

What was your first/last fire station?

Upon joining the HFD, I was first assigned to fire station 73. I am currently assigned to the Office of Emergency Communications.

How long have you been in your current role?

I have now been in my current role as Chief Communications Officer for just over 1 month.

What do you love most about your job?

Helping people-It is very fulfilling to work in a profession in which one is given the opportunity daily to provide a service that helps not only the public but our own.

The camaraderie-Being part of and working as a team for 16 years, I have developed some incredible strong bonds.

New challenges- The HFD provides many opportunities for learning, gaining and developing new skill sets. 

How do you feel about being the first woman to achieve the title of chief communications officer?

It is exciting that all divisions within the department now have female chiefs.  As with any promotion, I am honored, humbled and thrilled.   I have no doubt that this division as well as others will continue to see qualified women advance to higher ranking positions.   This title of Chief Communications Officer was not achieved on my own merit alone, but is comprised of the sacrifice, advice and efforts given of all my supporters; my family, mentors and co-workers.  This achievement is as much theirs as it is mine.

What is your vision for the communications division?

First and foremost-To exceed our customers' expectations as they are the focus of everything we do. To meet the needs of the growing city and continue to provide the best level of service, it is imperative that we improve our equipment and tools to keep up with the ever changing technology.  Updating the departments' response protocol for both Fire/EMS will benefit both the public and the members. 

Houston Fire Department Promotions Ceremony

Those who were recently promoted (only those in attendance pictured), included:

District Chiefs Adam Kibler and Charles Martin; Chief Communications Officers Jamie Devall and Jennifer Horlick; Senior Captains Robert Ausmus, John Gilbert, Christopher Mcallister and Jason Sorn;  Senior Communications Captains Aaron Emmons and Scott Pritchett; Melinda Abbt, Jaron Black,  Aaron Duhon, Zachary Eby, Patrick Horton,  Brian McWilliams, Jia Wen Ng, Cody Pope and Casey Robinson; Inspectors Rorick Fuller, Jeremy Smith, John Thorp, Michael Thuesen, Bradley Winter and Dean Zalesnik; Investigators Jorge Cisneros and Mark Garcia; and Engineer Operations Wes Bailey, Jeff Fischer, Crescencio Fonseca, David Hefner, Matthew Johnson, Alexander Miller, Randy Qualls, Joshua Ream, Damon Scales, Vonkeith Spencer, Landon Taylor, John Venzke, Jermain Woodard, and Patrick Young.  

Thank You!
 

Thanks to Fernando Fernandez for his generous donation of $5,000. His gift will go toward the purchase of survival packages for flood response teams. This includes dry suit, boots, helmet, knife, whistle, PFD, throw rope, radio, harness, eye protection, and gloves.

Community Donor
 

A big thank you to the Albemarle Foundation. Their donation allowed for the purchase of 18,000 fire safety coloring books!

School Visit
 

Houston Fire Department talking to 1st and 2nd graders at Bush Elementary about fire safety.

Virtual Reality Training

The Houston Fire Department was recently featured in an article by Brien Shaw with Houston Public Media. Shaw interviewed Patrick Hagan, a tech specialist with the HFD. The article focused on virtual reality training.

“We can start to develop products and platform that continuously judge the caliber of firefighter that we have in the Houston Fire Department,” said Patrick Hagan in the article. “We can augment our training based on the data that we get back.

HFD is working with Houston-based HTX labs which develops training for a variety of safety workers.  The Houston Fire Department hopes to start using V-R training in 2018.

Coming Up

April 9, 2018

6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

HFD Pipes and Drums Benefit

St. Arnolds Brewery

2000 Lyons Ave

Houston, Texas

May 17, 2018

10:00 AM

Promotional Ceremony

Legacy Room, City Hall

Baby Street Houston Texas

May 21, 2018

Houston Fire Golf Tournament 

Pine Forest Country Club

18003 Clay Rd Houston, Texas

New Pumpers Arrive, More on the Way

HFD received 4 new pumpers (46, 28, 51 and 67) this month and 4 more are expected in March.  The Spartan pumpers are equipped with added safety features, including: intercom headset communication system/ hearing protection, backup camera with microphone., full curtain side airbags, anti-theft door locks system and in-cab tool brackets.

Hats Off

Fill The Boot
The Houston Fire came in 2nd in the nation in funds raised for the Muscular Dystrophy Association's Fill the Boot Campaign in 2017!!! The total amount raised was $436,639 coming in only behind Fairfax County, Virginia, at $500,025. We did amazing this past year. Organizers sent their thanks for all your hard work and support of MDA and the Fill the Boot campaign!

 

Rescues...just to mention a few

The crew from Houston Fire Station 59 rescued one civilian from a house fire on Chasewood on the evening of January 11th. The victim was transported to the hospital by medic 80.

On December 30th, firefighters from District 19 responded to a house fire in the 2000 block of Stevens with reports of occupants trapped. The crews helped rescue a woman who was found in a bedroom.  Both the woman and man attempting to rescue her were transported to the hospital. 

Also on December 30th, HFD rescue crews were dispatched to a car in the bayou at Katy Fwy IB at Studemont.  A 10 year gilrl was initially assisted out of the vehicle by bystanders on bicycles via the right back door. A firefighter carried the girl from the south side of the bayou to the north side of the bayou, where she was assisted by other firefighters. The driver was assisted across and was also assisted up the steep embankment. The front seat passenger was removed from the vehicle via stokes basket and slide across the ground ladders to the north side of the bayou. All three patients were transported to the hospital.

Upcoming Training

Fire Executive Management Training Program (FEMT) at SHSU.

The Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT) partnered with the Texas Fire Marshals' Association to provide the first executive management training session for the discipline in the nation. The program addresses the professional qualifications for fire marshals and evaluates the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to meet essential tasks of the job based on National Fire Protection Association standards. The program also focuses on the day-to-day operations of the job as well as community risk assessments and resource distribution. Admission to the program will be on a competitive basis through an application process.

1 Chief Inspector and 2 Chief Investigators completed FEMT Module I (2 Modules total).

 2 – 4 members will be attending Module I in May 2018 depending on budget.

Leadership Command College

The Leadership Command College is the most comprehensive program offered at LEMIT and is often compared to the FBI National Academy. The

nine-week program (consists of three 3-week modules) is designed to provide law enforcement executives with the knowledge and skills necessary for successful leadership in a modern law enforcement agency. Targeted for completion over a two-year period, this program consists of three modules held at prestigious universities in Texas, including Texas A&M, Sam Houston State University and Texas Woman's University, which focus on the strengths of each institution. It also includes an optional fourth module to continue educational opportunities as well as a Leadership Command College Alumni Association to keep in touch with colleagues from the course and ongoing information on topics of interest to the field of criminal justice.

Must have a minimum of five years of full-time, paid law enforcement employment and two years as a supervisor.

Upon completion, member earns 9 undergrad credits or 6 graduate credits and 130 TCOLE hours per module.

Community Praises

"At approximately 1130 hours this morning (3/15) your firemen and EMT’s came to the assistance of my wife after she took a spill on her bike along the Terry Hershey Trail close to the Energy Corridor. All team members involved were wonderful and offered excellent care. A short trip to the ER confirmed your captain’s educated guess of a broken clavicle. Your team also transported our bikes back to Station 75 on Dairy Ashford where I was able to pick them up later. Please thank all involved and express our sincere gratitude for a job well done!" Earl Francis
Sharon Hatzel

A Valentines Thank you!

“I just want to take a moment to say thank you for the swift and organized response from multiple stations to a (false) alarm at my apartment complex this evening. I would imagine that, as a first responder, you never really know what you’re walking into with every new emergency alert you receive, and the bravery to face that uncertainty is admirable and unique to only the strongest of minds and hearts, all of which you possess. The dedication and support that you provide every day, in addition to the sacrifices you make on a night like tonight.. a night where you could and should be with your families and loved ones but instead are dedicating your time to support families you’ve never met and people like me... it is a level of service that cannot be expressed in words, and the appreciation you deserve is severely under-recognized. Thank you for everything you do to keep the people of this city safe. You are the living, breathing heart of Houston, and we love you. Happy Valentine’s Day.”  - Morgan Camp

Incidents for the week of March 26th  by Fire District

DISTRICT  8    -  645 

DISTRICT  46  -  608 

DISTRICT  68  -  514 

DISTRICT  26  -  484 

DISTRICT  28  -  482 

DISTRICT  31  -  414 

DISTRICT  83  -  396 

DISTRICT  34  -  343 

DISTRICT  19  -  317 

DISTRICT  64  -  303 

DISTRICT   4   -  300 

DISTRICT  59  -  300 

DISTRICT    5  -  290 

DISTRICT  45   - 227 

DISTRICT  78  -  209 

DISTRICT  21  -  204 

DISTRICT  70  -  200 

DISTRICT  20  -  180 

DISTRICT    6  -  173 

DISTRICT  102 - 118 

DISTRICT    71  -  79

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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