Issue 13
April 2019
HFD Welcomes Riders for the 2019 Soldier Ride
By: Ronny Harrison / Sr. Community Liaison

HFD was proud to host the Wounded Warrior Project Houston Soldier Ride.  Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) is a charity and veterans service organization that offers a variety of programs, services and events for wounded veterans of the military actions following September 11, 2001. The riders parked their trailer at HFD Station 11 and and ended the ride there as well.   

Helping a Family Need
By: Sr. Captain Josh Vogal

District 70 and District 71 are helping a Houston family recover after they lost everything they owned in a fire.  Crews responded to the apartment fire and once the flames were extinguished they realized the family living in the apartment did not have much. Crews were there when the family of four approached the apartment and witnessed their reaction when they realized it was their home that had been destroyed. The look on the father’s face broke their hearts.  From his expression it was obvious he was barely holding it together for his family and now they had  just lost

everything. The couple has two children ages 10 and 8. They were devastated at the realization that any toys and clothes they had were now lost forever. 

That same night firefighters invited the family to their station for dinner where they got to know them better.  It was then they promised to leave them better off then they were before the fire.

The entire district began collecting toys, clothes and toiletries. Then donations started to come in, in the form of gift cards and money. Now as they secure a new home, furniture is being collected as well as kitchen supplies.

The family has had dinners with firefighters since then and the son now expresses a desire to be a firefighter when he grows up.

“It was just one of those times we saw an opportunity to really help out a family in need,” said Sr. Captain Josh Vogal.  “As a District we are not only firefighters but we are parents and families and being able to help give this family hope really makes us proud and grateful for the opportunities we have been given. It is not often in our jobs that we get to create a lasting friendship with those we help by investing in their recovery. To see the kids smiles return to their faces and embrace us with hugs is priceless and why we choose this profession. We love being firefighters and will always answer the call to help.”

HFD Golf Classic Approaching: Proceeds Benefit Firefighter Support Network
By: Paul Box/ HFD Public Affairs

The 15th Annual Houston Firefighters Charity Golf Classic is May 13 but spots are filling up fast. You don’t want to miss this one so sign up today! This event benefits the Houston Firefighters Protection Fund (HFPF). This fund was created in 2006 to provide financial assistance to firefighters and their families to help cover emergency medical costs if a member of the family is hospitalized due to illness or injury. The tournament is a 4-player scramble format with lots of hole challenges throughout where you can win some amazing prizes. The tournament is May 13 at Pine Forest Country Club located at 18003 Clay Road (between Hwy 6 and Barker Cypress).

Shotgun Start at 9:00am with check-in and breakfast starts at 7:00am. Your $150 entry fee includes: Breakfast, lunch, snacks throughout. We will also have amazing goodie bags from RTIC filled with lots of surprises

You will also have a chance to participate in the best live and silent auction anywhere along with some fantastic raffle prizes. Included in the live auction is a trip to Las Vegas that includes round trip air fare on United Airlines and $3,000 in MGM Resorts gift cards redeemable for rooms, dining, shows, shopping and more at any of their Las Vegas properties like Aria, Bellagio, Mandalay Bay and others. So, there is no time to waste. You can register today on-line by visiting:

More Ambulances on the Way

The HFD received several new ambulances recently.  Here is the TYPE I Frazer Custom Emergency Vehicle for Houston Fire Department Crew M-63. Two more new Type 1's will be A23 and A76.  

Gearing Up for Fill the Boot

The Houston Fire Department and the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association Local 341 are supporting the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) by once again taking part in the annual Fill the Boot fundraising campaign.  This campaign helps to raise critical funds to help transform the lives of kids and adults with muscular dystrophy, ALS and related muscle-debilitating diseases. Continuing a 65-year tradition, thousands of dedicated Houston firefighters will hit the streets or storefronts with boots in hand asking pedestrians, motorists, customers and other passersby to donate to MDA. Houston’s Fill the Boot drive is scheduled on the following Saturdays from 10am – 2pm: April 13, 20, 27 and May 4. There will a press conference:  Wednesday, April 10 at 10 am, Houston Fire Station 11 460 TC Jester Blvd. 

Wednesday, April 10 at 10 am, Houston Fire Station 11 460 TC Jester Blvd. Houston, TX 77007.

Funds raised through the 2019 Houston Fill the Boot campaign will empower families with life-enhancing resources and support that open new possibilities and maximize independence, so they can experience the world without any limits. 

Houston firefighters have raised more than $8 million for MDA which funds groundbreaking research, programs and services that enrich the lives of individuals living with neuromuscular disease. Additionally, dollars raised during Fill the Boot help to send local Houston kids to MDA Summer Camp at no cost to their families. Every June, more than 100 campers from the Houston area experience a week of barrier-free fun while gaining confidence and independence

District Chief Josef Gregory
By: Assistant Chief Michael C. Mire
Professional Development Command

From childhood, Josef Gregory did not dream of being a firefighter.  Instead, he had thoughts of pursuing a career that would bring self-fulfillment.  A military-type structure is where he knew he’d thrive most.  “Where could I go and what can I do that will provide such satisfaction in helping others within a disciplined environment?”  Then, there was a day he heard the Houston Fire Department was hiring.  Josef knew immediately he found his calling.

Josef Gregory entered the Houston Fire Department at 20 years old.  Probationary Firefighter Gregory would be assigned to Fire Station 26 “Dixie Dogs.”  He fought many notable fires throughout his years in the fire station.  Perhaps some of the most notable are the 7-alarm Woodway Square Apartments fire on July 31st, 1979 while assigned to Engine 26, the 7-alarm Market Street fire on June 24th, 1995 while assigned to Ladder 20, and the 4-alarm Gallery Furniture fire on May 21st, 2009 as the fire academy’s Water Supply Officer.  Josef enjoyed his time in Operations, however his drive for self-fulfillment originating from his time as a teenager truly wouldn’t be realized until his promotion to District Chief in 1996.  This is when his real passion would become most evident.

Josef finished #2 on the District Chief’s promotional list.  He was offered a position at the Houston Fire Department Val Jahnke Training Facility (VJTF), the only chief’s opening in the summer of ‘96, which he reluctantly took.  The VJTF had a revolving door filled with officers coming and going.  Could he be any different?  He seized the opportunity to affect HFD and its members on a large scale.  He may be able to affect 40 or so firefighter lives in a district; but, he could affect every life in HFD at the VJTF?  “Leave the place better than you found it” is the motto he worked by.  I have to say to Chief Gregory, you did sir.

Chief Gregory oversaw operations at the VJTF for 23 years.  The VJTF was finished in 1969 with six buildings and was sparse in training props. Chief Gregory grew the academy into what it is today, with 23 buildings, state-of-the-art burn props, an Officer Development Center, and an Incident Command Simulator, the only one like it in the world.  The train derailment, Xtreme Fire Behavior/Rollover Chamber, Flashover Simulator, Fire Ground Survival Cottage, Survival House, and the Shipboard Firefighting prop are only a few things to mention in Chief Gregory’s development of the VJTF.  His tenacity to make things better than how he found it wasn’t limited to the academy.  He wanted to leave people better compared to when he would first meet them.

Tens of thousands of Houston Firefighters, prospective cadets, and firefighters from around the world have been trained at the academy.  A usual sight was Chief Gregory teaching, pumping, conducting ventilation, even welding and constructing.  He was above nothing, dedicated only to improving the teaching environment and learning experience for both instructors and students.  Many credit their training to Chief Gregory’s contributions.  His altruism extends into his extracurricular activities too; the HFD Honor Guard, Valor and Service Awards, HFD Fire Fest, and the St. Florian Society are all organizations he helped found and continued to work until his retirement.

Chief Gregory, or “Chief Greg” as he’s affectionately known by his closest staff, thank you for your 39 years, 7 months, and 29 days of service to the citizens of Houston and the Houston Fire Department.  We in Professional Development believe you’ve succeeded in reaching self-fulfillment, positively affecting thousands of lives, and leaving this place better than you found it.  We hope you find the same fulfillment in retirement.  We tilt our helmets to you for the time you have given us.  Thank you for your many contributions to HFD and the VJTF.

Community Outreach

HFD participated in a Career day for some young minds at Wesley Elementary Houston Independent School District

Free Registration for Big Climb

Come climb 51 flights of stairs with us! 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.

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.

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. 

HIPAA Update

By: Kenneth W. Payne

Chief Communications

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

The two “covered entities” for the City of Houston which are subject to HIPAA in protecting PHI (Protected Health Information) are the Houston Fire Department and the Houston Health Department.  The Houston Police Department is not subject to HIPAA which means that if they are on location with a patient, then they can independently collect patient information for their records using the data for Police business.  Also, the City of Houston’s group health plans are covered under HIPAA.    

HFD HIPAA Compliance Officer:

Kenneth W. Payne

Chief Communications

Office #832-394-6865

Cell #713-299-2872

HFD Statistics

In March 2019, HFD responded to 29,136 incidents (25,591 EMS service calls & 3,545 fire service calls)

 

Top Responding Units in March

 

Ambulance 46 - 487 Responses

Ambulance Supervisor 30 - 243 Responses

District Chief 8 - 67 Responses

Engine 28 - 405 Responses

Ladder 28 - 175 Responses

Medic 8 - 368 Responses

MS 92 - 215 Responses

Rescue 42 - 43 Responses

Safety Officer 30 - 146 Responses

Squad 46 - 446 Responses

Senior Ambulance Supervisor 15 - 133 Responses

Battle of the Branch

HFD's Softball team took part in the Battle of the Branch for the second year in a row. They did not get the win against HPD but were happy to take part in this community event and represent HFD.

Public Affairs takes Part in Memorial Herman's "Live your Dreams" Event
HFD Interview with the "Bull" Radio about Golf Classic
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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