Issue 4
July 2018
Houston Firefighter Receives International Award for Harvey Rescue

Captain Dennis LeVausser Rescue 10D, was recently internationally recognized by The Higgins and Langley Memorial Board of Directors for his teams work during Hurricane Harvey. These internationally recognized awards are presented to individuals, teams, and agencies that demonstrate outstanding achievements, skills and/or preparedness in the technical rescue discipline of swiftwater and flood rescue. Captain LeVasseur is a Texas Task Force 1 member and  also a Rescue Technician on the elite TX-TF1 Helicopter Search and Rescue Team.

There were countless rescues for his team aboard the UH60 helicopter during Hurricane Harvey, but they are being recognized for two very High-Profile Rescues. LeVausseur and his  wife travelled to South Bend Indiana to receive the award. One high profile rescue involved two Florida Fish and Game Officers. The officers were aboard their boat when they suddenly found themselves in trouble and heir boat capsized. In the first picture above, you can see parts of the boat behind them and in front of them. The current destroyed it. The crew of the UH60 was able to thread the needle within all the trees, and save the officer. 

HFD Academy 

Mentioned in Firehouse Article

Second High-Profile Rescue:

A Boat team called for an air asset for a victim who was showing signs of a stroke and needed expedited medical care. Captain Levasseur’s HSART team was assigned the call and arrived on location within 7 minutes. The patient was quickly loaded and then flown to Lake Charles Louisiana. From the time the boat crew made patient contact to the time the aircraft landed in Louisiana was within 1 hour.

LeVasseur team spent more than a week rescuing citizens from the flood waters of hurricane Harvey. In the meantime,  he has lost his own home from the flooding.  All the while, his friends say he stayed focused and determined to risk his life to save others. Captain Dennis LeVasseur of the Houston Fire Department is one of 6 rescue swimmers for the Texas Task Force USAR Team. 

Organizers of the  Higgins and Langley awards say theses honors are not heroism awards, but awards to recognize preparedness, teamwork, and a job performed often under extreme conditions, where training is vital to the success of rescue missions, and the safety of rescue personnel.

EMS Update
Assistant Chief Justin Wells

The Houston Fire Department will be switching to a new Fire Records System as of July 1, 2018. We currently use ImageTrend Elite for EMS records but after this transition, we will use ImageTrend Elite for both Fire and EMS record entry. A big benefit from this transition will be that all heavy apparatus that make an EMS response will only be required to complete an ImageTrend EMS record. They will no longer be required to complete a Firehouse record as well. Another benefit, will be that members will be able to complete records in the field on their unit tablets without having to wait until they return to the station. Coming with the change in fire records will also be hydrant inspections. Those too will be performed via ImageTrend Elite. Members will no longer be required to use Firehouse to enter information for new responses and inspections performed after July 1, 

2018. The Department will also be making several changes to EMS records depending on the response and disposition. A unified EMS record will be added to allow units to complete a simplified record and transfer it to another HFD unit saving time and reducing redundancy in completing the record. By changing our EMS records, we will continue to be NEMSIS and DSHS compliant but ultimately, fully compliant with NFIRS as well. Training is currently under way at all the district stations and online via Medic-CE. Members are reminded that for ImageTrend record support, please visit HFDhelpteam.com for LIVE 24/7 support.

Periwinkle Day Camp Visits HFD Academy

Campers from Periwinkle Day Camp made a visit to the Houston Fire Department Training Academy.  Campers had a blast hanging out with firefighters.  They tried on gear and learned about fire prevention.  The Periwinkle program is a week-long summer day camp for children ages 7 to 12 with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses treated at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers. Periwinkle Day Camp provides a safe and emotionally-healing program to promote independence and grow self-esteem in every camper. The Periwinkle 

Foundation provides Camps, Arts In Medicine and Survivor programs throughout the year for patients, siblings and families who have been challenged by cancer and other life threatening illnesses at Texas Children's Hospital. The foundation's name, Periwinkle, comes from the perennial Vinca minor, a plant which is used to make vincristine, a chemotherapy agent.

Human Resources Update
Assistant Chief Michelle Bentley

Engineer Operator Exam

For the upcoming EO exam, applicants will be provided with a link to the HFD Guidelines and Executive Order listed in the source material. Applicants may access the electronic files, download, and print if desired. HFD will not be providing hard copies of this source material.

Classified Recruiting and New Hires

Certified civil service exam scheduled for 8/22 at HCC

Non-certified civil service exam scheduled for 9/26 at HCC

Upcoming projected cadet classes: Certified, 40 cadets, 2018D September 10, 2018, Certified, 40 cadets, 2019A, January 2, 2019, Certified, 40 cadets 2019B, March 25, 2019, and Non Certified, 70 cadets, 2019C, April 8, 2019

Firefighter Foundation of Houston Recognizes Donations

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The Firefighter Foundation of Houston recently dedicated emergency equipment purchased by the group in preparation of the 2018 hurricane season. Through the generous donations of companies like AT&T, HEB, MetroNational, KBR, Civic Entertainment and through the support of Houston City Council Member Brenda Stardig, the Foundation was able to purchase more than $260,000 worth of life saving equipment specifically geared to rescue operations in the event of another devastating hurricane like Harvey in 2017.  Equipment purchased includes:   two Zodiac rescue boats on a double stack trailer, an inflatable rescue boat, two evacuation boats with trailer, and two high-water vehicles for rescue/evacuation efforts. 

In previous years the foundation has also purchased Other equipment purchased BlitzFire Nozzles, protective wipes for fire fighters, dry suits and more. 

Crews training from the South Montgomery County, TX, Fire Department were at the Houston Fire Academy learning tank extinguishing techniques.

They utilized techniques of cooling the approach path, tank and exposures, followed by cooling the thermal column. Once those were accomplished, the crew applied foam to the tank for final extinguishment.

Home Stretch

Isaac King is a six year old boy who was diagnosed with childhood ALL (acute lymphoblastic leukemia).  ALL is a cancer of the blood. Childhood cancer is the #1 disease killer for kids in the United States.  Isaac’s prognosis is good but his treatment required 3.5 years of chemotherapy. 

His family says one thing that keeps Isaac in good spirits is his love for firefighters and dreams of driving the ladder truck when he has beaten cancer and grows up. Firefighters are his heroes! 

Recently HFD gave Isaac a helmet and made him and honorary firefighter. Isaac has just 6 more months left of chemotherapy.  Stay strong buddy! 

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.

 

All H.F.D. personnel must become aware of responsibilities regarding confidentiality and management of “PHI.”

“PHI” (Protected Health Information) is any information, including genetic information, whether oral or recorded in any form or medium, that:

1.) Is created or received by a health care provider, health plan, or health care clearinghouse: and

2.) Relates to the past, present, or future physical or mental health or condition of an individual; the provision of health care to an individual; or the past, present, or future payment for the provision of health care to an individual. 

“PHI” constitutes the following patient information:  Names, Addresses, Dates, Phone Numbers, Fax Numbers, E-Mail addresses, Social Security Numbers, Medical Record Numbers, Full Face Photographic Images, and any contents of which can be used to make a reasonable assumption as to the patient’s identity.

 

HIPAA Compliance Officer:  Chief Communications Kenneth W. Payne.

Office # 832-394-6865.  Cell # 713-299-2872

Fitness Donation
Planning & Homeland Security / Fire Prevention
Assistant Chief Richard Mann 

Infor Update

LSB will be moving to Infor with PWE as opposed to PWE moving after LSB. This may delay the “go live” date a little, but it will to require building interfaces with PWE's existing systems or the additional costs associated with moving seperately. 

New Request for Code Enforcement Procedure

A new link/form will now be used in lieu of form 113 Request for Code Enforcement, and the information entered will be routed directly to 311 and LSB. To access the form, go to the HFD Desktop and click  the “Quick links” tab. From the list of links click “Fire Prevention Complaints.”

Hunt, Fish, Feed

Dozens first responders were treated to dinner at Fire Station No. 8 in downtown Houston thanks to the Sportsman Channel's Hunt. Fish. Feed. Outreach program.

Its mission is to use donated game meat and fish to feed people across the country.

Sportsman Channel teamed up with Xfinity to host a the dinner for Houston-area first responders (Fire-EMS and Police) as a way of saying “Thank You” for their heroic efforts and selfless giving during Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Hunt.Fish.Feed. is a national campaign created in 2007 by Sportsman Channel to educate the public about providing natural resources to help combat nationwide hunger. The network hosts and sponsors an annual tour that visits local cities and serves meals to people in need. 

A generous donation for Station 68! The crew from Station 68 lost most of their exercise equipment during the hurricane Harvey. 

Sam Iturrino with Marathon Fitness was able to secure the donation from his company and several suppliers.  

Station 68 received a commercial treadmill, an elliptical, a flat adjustable bench with wheels, a dumbbell rack with new dumbbells as well as 

several new accessories - foam rollers, medicine balls, stability balls and some resistance bands.

School Visit

Firefighters visited Montessori Children's Cottage. Kids learned about HFD’s high water rescue vehicle.  

BNSF First Responder Express Train Ride

BNSF treated Houston, Texas first responders to a train ride. 

The First Responder Express event honored fire and police officer. Nearly 150 first responders, their family members and special guests participated in a round-trip ride. 

In addition to the train trip, The BNSF Railway Foundation presented $5,000 grants to HFD and HPD foundations.  

Michael Bingham
Photo Courtesy: Houston Chronicle

How long have you been a firefighter?

I was in Class 12-2002, which started May 2002. I was a rookie at 9’s. Shortly after my phase testing was over I moved to 16’s. I have been a firefighter, ambulance EO and pumper EO at 16’s. I spent a brief time driving ambulance 26 when I first got promoted to EO. I spent two years driving engine 52. I got promoted to captain and went to 15’s for a few months and then transferred to 48’s where I am currently stationed. 

How long have you been a firefighter?

I was in Class 12-2002, which started May 2002. I was a rookie at 9’s. 

Shortly after my phase testing was over I moved to 16’s. I have been a firefighter, ambulance EO and pumper EO at 16’s. I spent a brief time driving ambulance 26 when I first got promoted to EO. I spent two years driving engine 52. I got promoted to captain and went to 15’s for a few months and then transferred to 48’s where I am currently stationed. 

 

You were recently featured in an article in the Houston Chronicle. How was that experience?

It is nice to get recognition for doing hard work, but I wish the Chronicle article focused more on my crew and the other firefighters that busted their butts for several days in a row. My story was just one of many. The city is still going through a rebuilding period after Harvey. Living in the Meyerland area I still see houses being renovated all around. There are several streets where the houses are just empty. So there’s a pretty big reminder of Harvey all around me on a daily basis. I’m not really sure the city has recovered or done things to alleviate this situation in the future. I know a year isn’t enough time to completely rebuild or fix the overall issues, but having worked this past July 4th I saw plenty of flooding around the area. That doesn’t bode well if a hurricane hits here this season. 

 

How has the department changed?

The department has more high-water vehicles and boats that have been donated from various groups and I think that’s a step in the right direction. 

 

What other groups do you belong to? 

I’m in charge of Houston Fire Soccer and have been for 10 years. We have gone to the Texas Firefighter Summer Games every year and competed in three World Police and Fire Games. Houston Fire Soccer isn’t just about playing soccer. We have been part of several charity events and fundraisers. 

 I was also the editor of the union newsletter for five years.

 

What do you love most about your job?

I love being able to work in the neighborhood in which I live. It gives me a great sense of community. I’ve invited several different groups to the station so they can get to know us and what we do. Being part of the community is a huge part of the job.

Know a member we should Spotlight? 

Click the button to the right and let us know a little about them and who to contact. Our members deserve the to be recognized! 

Astros Foundation and Gardner Denver Adopt station 18
Valor Awards

The HFD Valor and Service Awards Committee is pleased to honor HFD Firefighters who have gone beyond the call of duty at Medal Day 2018.

 

The 2018 Ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, October 27, 2018, at the Omni Houston Hotel at Westside, 13210 Katy Freeway, 77079 at 1800 hrs. Additional information will be provided in future announcements.

 

Every day members of HFD risk their lives to provide service to the citizens of Houston, for that we receive a paycheck. The Valor and Service Award Committee would like to recognize those members that go above and beyond what is expected. These acts may be performed either on or off duty and often involve great personal risk to our members. The committee also accepts nominations for service contributions made outside of acts of valor.

Members are encouraged to nominate fellow members of the Houston Fire Department who demonstrate valor, heroism, or exceptional service.

Nominations will be accepted for incidents occurring from July 2016 – July 2018. 

All nominations are due no later than August 7, 2018. Nominations submitted after this date will be considered for the 2019 valor and service awards. For questions related to the HFD Valor & Service Awards nomination process, please contact District Chief Curtis Hill at (832)394-7000 or Curtis.Hill@houstontx.gov.

 

Sincerely,

The HFD Valor and Service Awards Committee

Upcoming Events:

6th Annual Houston Firefighters and First Responders Appreciation Day is July 17th! Must show Valid ID to get free food, drinks an UNLIMITED Video Game Play! Valid at all three locations. 

St. Jude Day

August 27, 2018

HFD will partner with St. Jude to help raise awareness about childhood cancers.

Valor Awards

October 27 2018, at the Omni Houston Hotel at Westside, 13210 Katy Freeway, 77079

SHRINK RAP

HFD June Statistics

How to Take It Home with You

By Kendall Pfeffer, Psychology Intern

Somewhere along the way someone probably told you not to take your work home with you, and that message has likely been reinforced many times since – by senior firefighters and by your own experience of feeling overwhelmed by certain calls and then thinking, “there is just no way my spouse will be able to understand what I’m going through”. Well I’m going to challenge the whole “don’t take it home with you” motto. Here’s why.

We all know firefighters are exposed to more stress on the job than most other professions. Research consistently identifies the availability and utilization of social support as a vital source of resilience to the negative effects of occupational stress. Social support also functions as a buffer against a number of behavioral health concerns for firefighters such as burnout, depressed mood, posttraumatic stress 

symptoms, and suicidal thoughts. If you’ve been in the department long enough, you no doubt can think of a handful of calls that were a little stickier than the rest. For whatever reason, that one just won’t get out of your head. Or you may have a week here and there when your normal ways of coping with a tough shift aren’t quite enough. One of the best ways to process these sticky calls or stressful few weeks is to talk about it.

 

But if you’re like many natural caregivers, it can be hard to muster the motivation to take care of yourself when you’re expending so much energy taking care of others on the job and at home. It’s important to reminder yourself: If I’m overly taxed, burned out, or ruminating on negative thoughts about last shift, my ability to do my job well and to care for those around me will be compromised. So in the event of an emergency, please put on your oxygen mask before assisting others. Talking to people you trust – crew members, friends, family – is an important part of self-care.

 

It also models valuable emotion regulation strategies to your children. When dad or mom doesn’t talk about his or her feelings or never shares any experiences that are frustrating or worrisome, then kids learn that strength = stoicism and the absence of negative feelings. Kids may also learn that I cannot turn to my mom or dad when I’m upset.

 

Additionally, the “don’t take it home with you” mantra can have a negative impact on your relationship with your partner. It can cause emotional disconnection which in turn may lead to increased conflict.

 

I’m not suggesting that you tell your spouse everything or that a description of your worst call of the day is an appropriate dinner table discussion with young kiddos. But what I am hoping to impart is that sharing some of your work and allowing your loved ones to offer you the same emotional support you provide them is an essential component of self-care and emotional and mental wellbeing.

 

Here are some tips on how to take work home with you without over-burdening your loved ones:

• Gauge the room. Most citizens, like first responders, feel invigorated when they can be of use to the people around them. Your friends and family aren’t likely to feel burdened by your stuff as long as you’re not asking them to listen when they’re in the midst of their own emotional crisis.

• Know your audience. Many people will be able to handle hearing about more than you give them credit for. But you’re the best judge of who can handle what or what may be too much for certain people.

• Proceed with caution. When in doubt, ask if it’s okay before you start sharing. Not everyone in your life will be a good listener.

• State your needs. If you don’t want advice, ask them just to hear you out. If you need a springboard, tell them that. Most people will follow directions when given the opportunity.

 

If you don't seem like yourself and feel disconnected from family and friends, like no one understand what you’ve been through, talking to a behavioral health professional may help. Our services are free to you and your immediate family members.

 

Kendall Pfeffer is an HFD Psychology Intern working with Dr. Sam Buser and Dr. Jana Tran, HFD Staff Psychologists. Kendall is a master’s student in the University of Houston Counseling program.

In June 2018, HFD responded to 28,890 incidents (3,732 Fire and 25,156 EMS); compared to June of 2017 in which we responded to 27,847 incidents (3,439 Fire and 24,408 EMS)

 

Top Call Types:

1. Motor Vehicle Incidents - 3,061

2. Heart Problem - 2,566

3. Breathing Problem - 2,324

4. Sick Person - 2,275

5. Automatic Alarms - 1,711

 

Busiest Stations for June 2018

Station 8 – total of 1,801 responses

Station 7 – total of 1,561 responses

Station 46 – total of 1,532 responses

Station 73 – total of 1,435 responses

Station 55 – total of 1,371 responses

 

Busiest Units for June 2018

 

Ambulance 7 - 528 responses

District Chief 83 - 83 responses

Ambulance Supervisor 30 - 256 responses

Engine 7 – 465 responses

Hazmat Unit 1 & 2 – 67 responses each

Ladder 7 – 172 responses

Medic 32 – 350 responses

Medical Safety Unit 92 (ARFF) – 195 responses

Heavy Rescue 11 – 126 responses

Safety Officer 30 – 160 responses

Squad 8 - 431 responses

Sr EMS Supervisor 33 – 70 responses

Tower 6 – 95 responses

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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