February 2019
Issue 11
More than Sixty Houston Firefighters Promoted

Dozens of Houston firefighters celebrated promotions recently.  Sixty-Six were recognized with special remarks by Deysy Rios, Reporter for Univision. Family and friends joined the members for a badge and certificate presentation.

Promotions include the ranks of: (1) Chief Communication Officer, (1) Chief Investigator, (3) Districtrict Chiefs, (4) Senior Captains, (1) Senior Invesitgator, (19) Captains, (2) Inspectors, (3) Investigators, (1) Commication Captain and (29) Engineer Operators. 

World Class Training Ship Under Construction a HFD Training Academy

The Houston Fire Department’s 1.5 Million ship training prop is near completion.  There are only two props like this one in the world and it will be a tremendous asset to the City of Houston once complete.  The ship prop is being constructed at the Houston Fire Department’s Training Academy.  

Plans to Remove Harmful Exhaust Fumes from Fire Stations Moves Forward

Houston Fire Chief Sam Peña’s efforts to improve the health and safety of firefighters is moving forward through the implementation of removing hazardous exhaust fumes from fire stations.

HFD leadership applied to FEMA for an Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) to begin modernizing and installing vehicle exhaust capture and removal systems in each of the city’s 94 fire stations. In July of 2018, the HFD was awarded the 2017 AFG in the amount of $703,914, with a grant match obligation of $70,391, to begin this health and safety initiative.

This week, the Houston City Council approved the use and matching funds for a federal grant intended to protect firefighters from toxic diesel exhaust emanating from fire trucks.

Through a risk-based study HFD has identified the initial 15 stations to be retrofitted through the 2017 AFG/FEMA grant. They include fire station 7, 9,16, 21, 25, 28, 31, 39, 46, 51, 56, 58, 60, 68 and 73. There are 78 fire stations that remain in need of modernization and retrofit with the standardized vehicle exhaust system. With an average cost of $80,000 per station, the retrofitting of the remaining 78 fire stations will require a capital outlay of approximately $6,240,000.

“The installation of a vehicle exhaust system in each of our 94 fire stations throughout the city is essential to creating a healthy and safe working environment for our employees. I appreciate the Mayor and the Houston City Council’s commitment and continued support of this initiative,” Sam Peña, Fire Chief. 

The HFD will continue to pursue grant opportunities in forwarding its health and safety initiative with the plan to modernize 15 additional fire stations in calendar year 2019-2020

HFD Boxing Team Prepares for Charity Event

HFD’s Boxing Team is training to take part in the “Battle at the Ballroom” event. The elegant venue, Ballroom at Bayou Place, will be the location for this charity event and will feature first responders from Houston and surrounding areas. A DJ will keep the event lively, and food and beverages will be available at the venue.

Doors will open at 5:30pm and the under fight card will begin at 6:00pm. The main event fight card will begin at 7:00pm. Check out the above video to learn more about HFD’s Boxing Team. For info on the event and tickets click here: 

 

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/houston-battle-of-the-badges-presents-battle-at-the-ballroom-tickets-54072387968?aff=ebdssbdestsearch

HFD Boxing Mission Statement:

Our mission is promote health and fitness through boxing. We strive to be a positive role model for other firefighters and youth by sponsoring local community members’ boxing gym fees and creating special events which the funds raised will be donated to charity. We also strive to be able to improve the life of our brothers and sisters by creating a community where they feel a sense of family and belonging. Boxing is fun and we hope to bring that joy to others through our events.

Houston Firefighters Prepping for Big Climb Houston

​The Houston Fire Department is partnering with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Big Climb Houston to climb for a cure. Our participation will help LLS’s mission: To cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.

The annual Big Climb Houston is an exciting way to support LLS, by bringing people together for one mission: to end cancer. This stair climb gives participants the opportunity to challenge themselves and climb 51 flights of stairs to end up on the top of 1600 Smith Street in downtown Houston.

LLS and Planet Fitness have stepped up in support of first responders, and is waiving the registration fee for all local first responders for the 2019 Big Climb Houston. All employees are invited to join the team.

By joining the company team, you’ll enjoy an extraordinary experience, celebrating and commemorating lives touched by cancer.

If you are interested in participating please let Sheldra Brigham know at Sheldra.Brigham@houstontx.gov OR register online - Go to www.bigclimbhouston.org and choose “Join a Team” Follow the ensuing steps and type in the team name “Houston Fire Department” when prompted. The coupon code to waive the $30 registration fee is FREETEAM. Together, LLS and HFD can take steps to end cancer. Thank you for your commitment and generosity.

Houston Zoo Donates Stuffed Animals for HFD Program

The Houston Zoo and SSA made a special donation to the Houston Fire Department to assist in community outreach programs.  The two groups came up with the idea to donate SSA Giftshop’s stuffed animals to HFD.  SSA is located inside the Houston Zoo.  The zoo has a long standing relationship with HFD and contacted Captain

Bonnie Richter and from there the partnership was sealed! Once learning about HFD’s Hangin with Heroes program where the firefighters deliver donated stuffed animals to local children’s hospitals the zoo decided it was a perfect program for their donation!They selected Station 33 as the recipient since they are the Zoo’s primary First Responders for emergencies. 

“HFD has always provided outstanding service for the Houston Zoo. We are honored to be able to give back to these courageous, committed and compassionate men and women,” said Maria Gallegos, Director-Health Safety & Security _Houston Zoo

 

When Danny Anchondo the General Manager for SSA learned firefighters utilize toys and stuffed animals at fire scenes where children have lost all their toys he says SSA wanted to help. 

 

“We are blessed to work at the zoo with great people and a great mission.  We are always looking for a way to show our gratitude,” he said. “Firefighters are first responders, they are there when we need them most, and usually taken for granted. For years my family and I have done all we can to recognize our local heroes. One of my favorite photos is actually with my family at a firehouse in a fire truck when we delivered Easter meals to the local House. With such admiration for the people that choose to do this work, when we heard that there was an opportunity for us to help them help others, for us to help make their lives a little easier, there was no hesitation to make the effort,” Daniel Anchondo General Manager SSA - Houston Zoo.

By: Retired E/O F. Scott Mellott

www.houstonfirememorial.org
Personally, Valentine’s Day has meant different things. Valentine’s Day 1960, I was ten years old and it snowed! Not only did it snow, but the snow stuck to the ground and lasted until the next day. The Principal at Alamo Elementary in La Marque, Texas dismissed the students and we all went home early. I was able to make a snowman with the other kids in the neighborhood and I have pictures to prove it. That was one Valentine’s Day that I will never forget.
On February 14, 2000, Valentine’s Day quickly began to be a day that every member of the Houston Fire Department will never forget. This is the day that the roof of a burning McDonald’s restaurant collapsed and fell on two Houston fire fighters, Kimberly Ann Smith and Lewis Evans Mayo III. Kim and Lewis did not go home to their family that day. They became 55 and 56 on the list of HFD’s Line of Duty Fire Fighters deaths since the beginning of the paid department in 1895.

It was not discovered by me until after Kim and Lewis died, that on February 14, 1921, Valentine’s Day, around 7:00 in the evening, a wall of a burning building fell on seven Houston fire fighters. One fire fighter did not survive. His name is H. A. “Ace” Harris, a Houston fire fighter for only 15 days. He worked for the Dallas Fire Department for 12 years and moved to Houston and joined the ranks of the Houston Fire Department. For some reason, Harris was never listed as a HFD Line of Duty Death. In early 2000 his name surfaced when it was discovered in a scrapbook originally owned by Chief Grover Adams Sr., who served the HFD from 1915 to 1960. The newspaper clipping in the scrapbook had a hand-written notation of February 15, 1921. This hand-dated Houston Chronicle newspaper clipping allowed me to research the tenth HFD Line of Duty Death.

On Valentine’s Day 1995, The City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania lost three fire fighters: Thomas A. Brooks, Patricia Ann “Pat” Conroy, Marc R. Kolenda. That day also marked Pittsburgh's first female fire fighter lost in the line of duty. I discovered this fact while I interviewing Kim’s parents for my Memorial Section in the 2000 HFD Yearbook. Pat’s mom had reached out to Kim’s mom Rosann shortly after her daughter’s death and had discovered that the two fire fighters had a lot in common.

They both were the first female fire fighter to die in the line-of-duty in their department. They both died on Valentine’s Day, Pat in 1995 and Kim in 2000. The fires were deliberately set, the one in Pittsburgh by a homeowner in an attempt to collect insurance money, the one in Houston was the result of a failed burglary. The memorial services were both held on the 18th of February in a large stadium. Kim and Louis' services took place at Rice Stadium, Pat's and her fellow fire fighters were held at Three Rivers Stadium. The two share the name, “Ann”, as their middle name and their fathers had a long career in law enforcement. Is there more? Of course, there is. They both have three siblings, two sisters and one brother. I pretty much stopped there with finding out what these fire fighters had in common. I am sure I could find more similarities. Oh, I almost forgot, the two were both devout Catholics, and were very involved with their church.

In closing, Valentine’s Day has become a day of remembrance. Please remember these fire fighters who were doing their job that day and paid the ultimate price.

Texas Brotherhood Ride 2019

Calling all Riders! The 2019 Texas Brother Ride is scheduled from August 17th – August 24th. 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 Hempstead, Texas and will end in Austin, Texas. The ride is 8 days and will cover over 650 miles. This year the 14 members being honored who paid the ultimate sacrifice are:

Loren Y. Vasquez Waller County Sherriff Office, Raymond Bradley Jimmerson Nacogdoches County Sherriff Office, M.V. Hudson New London Volunteer Fire Department, Earl James "Jamie" Givens, III Dallas Police Department, Rogelio Santander, Jr. Dallas Police Department, Paul Scott Ragsdale US Department of Justice – ATF, David Charles Sherrard Richardson Police Department, Garrett Willis Hull Fort Worth Police Department, Andy Loller Weatherford Fire Department, Caleb Scott North 

Richland Hills Fire Department, Damon Charles Allen Texas Department of Public Safety, K9 Pastor Waco Police Department, Charles Whites Round Rock Police Department, Devon Coney Austin Fire Department.

Riders must all be 1st Responders and are required to have either a road or tri bike. During this time, all riders will ride together, eat together and bunk together.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. If you are interested in participating as a Rider or as a Support Member should send an email to texasbrotherhoodride@gmail.Applications are due before March 1, 2019. Submitting an application does not guarantee a position on the 2019 Team.

Chaplain Bobby Delgado

How long have you been with HFD? 15+ Years

 

What has been the most rewarding aspect of being a firefighter? Doing hero stuff, you know saving babies and hanging with ladies. Actually, I have loved helping the general public in their most dire moments and have enjoyed the brotherhood and camaraderie shared with my brother and sister firefighters.

What do you hope to bring to your new role as Chaplain? My award winning smile and supreme wit of course. In all seriousness I hope to bring a down to earth authenticity, an unwavering faith, and a sense of duty and service to our retirees, active members, and their families. I’ve spent the last 15 years taking care of the citizens of this great city. It’s now time to help serve and care for my HFD family.  I’ve been married for to my wife Jen. We have five kids: Sydney 16, Riley 14, Kinsey 11, Mo 12, Jeremiah 9 and…about to adopt #6, Luke, from China in March. I am currently the Associate Pastor of Life Church Fort Bend in Richmond, Tx. Outside of work, I supper  our local sports teams, attend my kids games, recitals, and events. I also like to fish, hunt, watch Netflix and Chill. 

Shrink rap

After-Holiday Scene Assessment for Divorced or Separated Families

By Sarah Lute, HFD Psychology Intern

The new year gives us an opportunity to reflect on our lives. When it comes to custody, kids, and your ex, it might not be so simple. You may doubt if you are making the right decisions, feel frustrated by court rulings, wonder what is fair, and if the ex is making the right choices as well.  With the wrap up of last year’s holiday season, it’s a perfect time to look back and assess the scene.

Holidays can be great times to celebrate with family and make meaningful memories. After a family has gone through a divorce or separation, you and your kids may wonder how to face the holidays with a new family arrangement. Whether it is your first year or 10th year managing this, now is a great time to reflect on how the holiday season went. Check in with yourself and kids. Were there things that felt good or things that need to change?  If there are things you want to do differently, check out the tips below. Parenting isn’t about always doing the perfect thing. It’s about trying new things until you find something that works.

I’d like to share some tips that benefit your child’s well-being (and your 

sanity) when navigating the holidays, and custody in general. Always be mindful of age/maturity of your child and adjust the independence to match your kiddo.

1. Keep traditions if you can. If you loved making handmade treats with your kiddo, keep doing it. If you host ugly Christmas sweater contests, have at it.  

2. Add new traditions. Reality is, things have changed. Not all traditions can stay. Its okay to show your child new meaningful things can happen, while mourning the loss of what they were used to. Time to start yearly turkey trots or pumpkin catapult contests.

3. Inform the other parent of school activities, school parties, recitals, or games (even if they are supposed to know). Remember you want your child to feel loved and supported and it helps if both parents show up to their events when they can.  

4. Avoid canceling plans. Custody around the holidays can often be inconvenient or have hassles tied to time/day changes.  Follow them the best you can. Sometimes plans must be cancelled. Make sure you tell your child directly or over the phone. Give them a planned time you will see them. Don’t use the other parent as the sole messenger. Make sure you can keep the new plans.

5. Don’t put your kid in the middle between you and the ex. This can play out in many ways, but this is one of the most damaging things to your child-parent relationship. Your kid is going to have a hard time trusting or being open if his/her words are going to be used to as weapons to hurt either parent. You cannot control what the other parent does, but you can make a choice to respond differently.

6. Do take your kid out of the middle (even if they put themselves there). If they bring up a

problem with the other parent, unless it is a welfare concern, acknowledge their feelings and encourage them to talk to the other parent about the problem. You can even problem solve with your kid. If they want to gossip about mom/dad or a step-significant other, don’t join in and remind them you are confident they will work it out (even if the other parent doesn’t show you this courtesy.)

7. Avoid arguing about custody and child support in front of the kids. They know this about them and can feel like they are the problem. Do make hand offs friendly and casual.

8. Let your child love the other parent. Give your child acceptance and support in loving their mom/dad (or even step parents). If they want to share how Christmas went, smile and say you are glad they had a good time and are glad they feel loved by mom or dad.

9. Don’t do it alone. Do get support. Parenting is hard. Custody is hard. It can be easy to get lost in the confusion and frustration. Built a team of friends and family in your life and talk to them about the challenges that come up. They can help you see blind spots and give you credit for the work you’re doing.

Some of these tips won’t feel good in the moment. You’re going to be frustrated. Its going to feel difficult or painful. Remember it only takes one parent stepping aside to take your kid out of the middle. One day they will see the sacrifice you made, and they will grow up better because of you. You may sacrifice time and energy on side jobs, let go of hobbies, and finances to meet the demands of your life and family needs. Give yourself permission to balance financial support with quality time. The value of connecting to your child and seeing them light up and get excited to see you at their big event and tell you about their day is irreplaceable.

On the job, you come and go at the worst moment in peoples lives. Once the job is done, you head out to the next call. Most often the nameless, faceless symbol of heroism. Sometimes, your kids will need that silent hero. The person making small choices, sacrifices, and well-meaning actions that lead them to adjusting to the pain of divorce and becoming more resilient. With your kids, you will experience the joy of seeing them grow up into admirable daughters and sons and know that, in the end, you are the named hero is their eyes.

Co-parenting and Custody Workshop

Always feel free to reach out to our services for any help you need, even for family therapy with your child. Be on the lookout for our new and upcoming workshop on co-parenting and custody after divorce. Date, time, and location to be announced. We cover topics about how to inform kids you are getting divorced, co-parenting, managing new relationships, and how to help your child adjust post-divorce.

Dr. Sam Buser: 281-799-8032

Dr. Jana Tran: 281-901-4341

Sarah Lute, M.Ed., LPC: 413-367-7009

Sarah Lute is a HFD Psychology Intern working with Dr. Sam Buser and Dr. Jana Tran, HFD Staff Psychologists. Sarah is a current doctoral student at the University of Houston Counseling Psychology program.

Ballistic Vests on the Way

Due to an increase in the number of violent incidents firefighters face in Houston and other U.S. cities, Houston Fire Chief Sam Peña pushed for the purchase of ballistic vests for firefighters.  Those vest are on schedule to arrive late February or early March.  

 

“It is a new reality that is contrary to how we’ve always viewed this honorable profession, but protective clothing must be compatible with the environment we work in,” Peña said.

 

Firefighters will wear the vests on potentially dangerous calls, such as shootings or domestic violence incidents.

 

The order for the HFD ballistic package was finalized and placed on 1/16/19. They are in production at this time with a maximum of 90-day production window. Delivery is slated for late Feb/ early March. In summary, we ordered the following:

  • 869 ballistic vests

  • 869 tactical helmets

  • 1878 ballistic plates

  • 1000 Individual First Aid Kits (IFAK, stop the bleed)

The total cost was - $1,068,560 paid for by city approved funding and grant money. 

A letter of Thanks from a Houston Mom

Tonight was the scariest night of mine and my families life. My 3 year old son went from zero to 100 with sky high fever. His eyes were rolling, body weak as ever he couldn’t hold himself up, his mouth was foaming and his lips were purple. I swear my son was dying 😩. First responders showed up mr Kevin Denny and his partner (I can not remember his name). They asses my son immediately and calm us both down during the process. You see I know this is their job however what is not in their job title is to be a singer, going above and beyond their line of duty to make my son feel comfortable. They sat in the ambulance and actually sang baby shark while working on my son. Their immediate response to my son being autistic and his seizure was remarkable but their heartfelt actions will forever be memorable to me. My heart is joyful because of these two men and their loving actions for my son. Thank you Lord for our first responders I’m going home with my baby boy feeling better and smiling. God bless these men and all first responders for what they do!!!

Special Guests

Taiwan Police Cadets visited the  HFD Arson Division as part of a scheduled field trip with instructor Lee Dees of UH Downtown Police Academy. 

Training Event

Multi-jurisdiction Regional Training. Joint Teams of Houston Fire Department Hazmat and Harris County Fire Marshals Office Hazmat Team. 

Houston Marathon Runner Thanks HFD

I am Brazilian, and I came to Houston to participate in the Houston Marathon on 01/20. As I have little experience with cold weather, I was surprised by the intense cold before the start, and because I had no cap for the protection of my head, my expectation was of a very difficult race. Given my complicated situation, my brother asked a member of the fire department "where could I buy a winter cap?" That was when the fireman promptly gave me his cap saying "this cap is from the fire department, no problem, you can run with it, you can have it." This kindness was of fundamental importance to the risks I had during the race. As it was near the moment of the start, we did not have the chance to thank properly. I would like to thank that gesture publicly, and I would like to know his name. I want to let him know how his touching gesture affected me, as well as everyone who got to know about this story. This aspect of firemen's spirit of unconditional aid to others is so inspiring. As for the cap, I will keep it as an unforgettable reminder of the feeling of brotherhood and help to others. Many thanks for the wonderful welcome to Houston.

 

José Barbanti Pereira Leite

HIPAA Update

HIPAA UPDATE

HEALTH INSURANCE PORTABILITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY ACT

enacted 1996.

 

Mission Statement

This monthly newsletter is to keep H.F.D. personnel informed of HIPAA news and regulations throughout the year in concomitance with the yearly Moodle class.

 

MESSAGE

A patient has the right to complain to HFD, or to the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, if a patient believes that their privacy rights have been violated.  A patient that has any questions, comments or complaints, should be directed to the HFD HIPAA Compliance Officer.  Individuals will not be retaliated against for filing a complaint.   

 

HFD HIPAA Compliance Officer:

Kenneth W. Payne

Chief Communications

Office #832-394-6865

Cell #713-299-2872

HFD and Caring for Children Foundation Gear up for Vaccinations

Throughout the year, The Caring for Children Foundation Care Van Program is giving free childhood vaccinations to children, birth to 18 years at select Houston Fire Stations and community centers. Since 2005, more than 15,000 children have been vaccinated through this program in participation with HFD.

 

All children’s vaccines will be provided to uninsured and Medicaid children. Unfortunately, they cannot service children with CHIP or private insurance. The parent or guardian will need to provide the child’s current immunization record.

 

Parents or guardians MUST accompany their child.

 

The Caravan will be at the following locations from 1600 hrs to 1830 hrs:

 

• February 7, 2019 at Fire Station #44, 675 Maxey Rd. 77013

• March 7, 2019 at Fire Station #27, 6515 Lyons 77020

• April 4, 2019 at Fire Station #29, 4831 Galveston Rd. 77017

• May 2, 2019 at Fire Station #59, 13925 S. Post Oak 77045

• Sept. 5, 2019 at Fire Station #44, 675 Maxey 77013

• Oct. 3, 2019 at Fire Station #27, 6515 Lyons 77020

• Nov. 7, 2019 at Fire Station #29, 4831 Galveston Rd. 77017

• Dec. 5, 2019 at Fire station #59, 13925 S. Post Oak 77045

 

Questions may be directed to the HFD Public Affairs Office at 832.394.6636. Additional dates and locations may be found on the Care Van website at www.carevan.org.

Community Outreach

Ladder 46 taking part in the MLK Parade.

Station Statistics

From January 1 – 30, 2019

 

HFD responded to 25,815 incidents.

(22,489 EMS related calls and 3,326 Fire related calls)

 

Busiest Fire Districts:

District 46 with 2,328 incidents

District 68 with 2,049 incidents

District 8 with 1,988 incidents

 

Top Responding Units:

Ambulance 46 – 454 responses

Ambulance Supervisor 30 – 253 responses

District Chief 69 – 80 responses

Engine 46 – 358 responses

Ladder 51 – 163 responses

Medic 8 – 337 responses

Rescue 42 – 49 responses

Squad 68 – 401 responses

Senior Ambulance Supervisor 33 – 144 responses

Safety Officer 24 – 167 responses

 

Top Call Types:

Breathing Problem (EMS) – 2,499 incidents

Heart Problem (EMS) – 2,405 incidents

Motor Vehicle Inc. (EMS) – 1,854 incidents

Automatic Alarm (Fire) – 1,280 incidents

Fall (EMS) – 1,012 incidents

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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