Issue 9
December 2018
New High Water Vehicle at Station 84
PIO Sheldra Brigham

The Houston Fire Department has added an additional High-water vehicle to its fleet. The newest HWV has been assigned to Station 84. This station is located in the flood-prone Greenspoint area of Houston.  This latest addition boosts HFD’s high water fleet to 9 total.  

Hazmat Award

HFD Hazmat received a grant from Flint Hills Resources in the amount of $10,000.00. The grant will be used purchase 4 licenses for PEAC software. PEAC software is a one stop shop program that simplifies several of the tasks that needs to be done on hazmat scenes. It includes:

  • Tech Reference with over 11,000 unique substances & 100,000 Chemical, All Chemical Protective Clothing with breakthrough times, EPA Reactivity Information, MSDS, Decontamination Data, Reference Checks, & host of other tools.

  • 8 Different Calculators, including; Plume Modeling, Vapor Cloud Explosions, Pool Fires, 

​Explosive/Fragmentation, Gamma Dose, Nuclear Model, Fallout, & our most recent addition a Radiological Dispersal Device (Dirty Bomb).

  • TII sites with all reported Facility & Contact Information, Site Plans, Threat, Hazard, & Quantity Matrixes, and Worse-Case Scenario Hazard Analysis

  • Incident Management Feature fully integrated with NIMS & ICS Forms that auto-populate common fields, chemical information, & maps.

Currently, to get all of this information a person has to be very proficient on 5-6 different web applications which takes about 8 hrs each of initial training plus monthly training. To be fully functional on PEAC software will only take about 4 hrs of training. Both hazmat units will have this capability. 

Upcoming Training Opportunity: Fire Officer Program
Assistant Chief Michael Mire

There is an upcoming opportunity to increase knowledge of various management and leadership abilities to effectively lead and manage fire service personnel both on and off the fire ground. Registration is now open for the upcoming Texas Fire Officer Program. All members of volunteer, paid, or part-paid fire departments of cities and industries who need or wish to obtain state or national certification in accordance with NFPA 1021, Standard for Fire Officer Professional Qualifications may register. he class is being conducted by: Texas Engineering Extension Service, a member of the Texas A&M University Syste and will be held at the Webster Fire Department June 17-28, 2019 from 8am – 5 pm. The cost is $500 for Texas Firefighters  and $1,300 for Out-of-State Firefighters. NFPA 1021 Fire Officer III/IV Course meets Texas Commission on Fire Protection (TCFP), State Firemen’s & Fire Marshals’ Assn. (SFFMA) and ProBoard (NBFSPQ) certification requirements. 

Rural Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) Assistance Program (HB 2604)

  • Training tuition grants under this program will be provided up to a maximum of $129 per day, not to exceed $645 per trainee per school.

  • Training tuition grants are limited to a maximum of $6,250 per department per school.

  • The maximum amount of Training Tuition assistance a department may receive in a fiscal year (September through August) is $12,500.

Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System (TIFMAS)

  • Training Tuition grants under this program will be provided up to a maximum of $129 per day, not to exceed $645 per trainee per school.

  • Training tuition grants are limited to a maximum of $6,250 per department per school.

  • The maximum amount of Training Tuition assistance a department may receive in a fiscal year (September through August) is $12,500.

For more information: Merrie Noak at 979.845.0518 or and to register go to: or contact Merrie Noak at 979.845.0518 or

EMS Patient Reunion
By: Diana Rodriguez

A thankful family visited HFD Station 75 recently to thank firefighters for their dedicated work.  In October, Mr. Gee Fung called his wife to let her know he was not feeling well and began to slur his speech.  He is a diabetic and his wife knew this was an emergency and called 9-1-1.  

Mrs. Deborah Fung, a local teacher, rushed home.  Upon her arrival, her husband was already unconscious, but being attended by HFD EMTs and paramedics.  Mr. Fung was barely breathing with a very faint pulse.  HFD members applied their AED and prepared to start CPR and defibrillate.  They assisted his breathing and performed advanced life support measures to get his heart beating properly.

 A few minutes later, he would have been in cardiac arrest. He was transported to a local hospital and recovered from his medical emergency.  The Fung family came by HFD station 75 to say “thanks” to their HFD heroes for saving their loved one and giving them the opportunity to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. 

Those involved were: Sr. 9-1-1 Telecommunicator: Jamicka LaCour, Engine 75: Capt. Kenneth Willingham; EMT Randy Ostwalt; EMT Donald Richardson; Paramedic Zachary Perez, Medic 78 Paramedics: E/O Tyler Renken; FF Oscar Pedraza, EMS Supervisor 69 – Paramedic Capt.  J. J. Riojas

Houston Fire Department Kicks off Operation Stocking Stuffer Toy Drive

On Nov. 17, the Houston Fire Department officially launched our annual Operation Stocking Stuffer Toy Drive with a kick-off event at Houston Fire Station #37. The day was filled with donations from the community, musical performances, and interviews from sponsors.   The toy giveaway day is December 20th for registered families. 

Mass Casualty Training Event Held at HFD's Training Academy





Students from Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth, McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, UTHealth School of Public Health and UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics participated in the mass casualty incident drill at the Houston Fire Department’s Val Jahnke Training Facility. The annual mass casualty incident drill offers UTHealth students the training they need to hone their emergency first responder skills in a realistic simulation and presents them with a rare opportunity to learn with experienced faculty and staff by their side.

Shell Bike Build Provides Hundreds of Bikes to HFD's Toy Drive

Shell Oil Company recently made a major contribution to the Annual HFD Operation Stocking Stuffer. For the second year, they held a special “bike build” day to assemble the hundreds of bicycles to donate to this year’s toy drive. Shell employees will worked alongside firefighters to build bikes for Houston families in need of help this Christmas.

The Bike Build is part of Shell’s on-going partnership with the Houston Fire Department. Shell employees will built hundreds of bicycles to donate valued at more than $100,000. In addition to this substantial donation, Shell has donated $15,000 to this years’ toy drive.  On December 13th and 14th volunteers from Shell will also be helping to sort the toys for the toy give-away on December 20th.

"We appreciate the long partnership with Shell over the years and through donations from Shell we are reaching more children and families through our toy drive than ever before,” Sam Pena, Houston Fire Chief. 

The event was held at two Shell locations: Shell Woodcreek Facility, where Bruce Culpepper, President Shell Oil Company and HFD Fire Chief Samuel Pena gave remarks. The second "bike build" location was the Shell Technology Center where Assistant Chief Rodney West addressed the attendees.  Over the years Shell has provided the following:

• $100,000 to purchase a smoke trailer to teach students about fire safety

▪ $140,000 towards purchase of protective hoods. The protective hood covers those exposed areas of the neck, which are not protected by the coat collar, face piece or helmet.

▪ $150,000 to build 800 bikes to distribute with Operation Stocking Stuffer toy giveaway

▪ $45,000 towards Operation Stocking Stuffer that provides toys to children in our community

▪ Shell Volunteers – 2years of Bike Building. 

▪ Shell HR staff providing 200 staff and volunteers to sort and bag toys for the toy drive.  

We appreciate Shell’s continued support of the Houston Fire Department and all our programs.  

Popeyes Thanksgiving Dinner and Awards Presentation

For many years now Houston area Popeyes have held a luncheon to honor Houston firefighters commitment, courage, and dedication to saving lives. This year, they selected the crews from Engine 16, Ladder 16, Engine 7, Engine 25. The incident being recognized today was a high-rise fire on Blodgett. High-rise fires always present their own dangers and challenges.  The crews who responded to this fire successfully managed the situation and were able to rescue multiple people despite the circumstances. In addition to recognizing these firefighters, the Houston-area Popeyes will provide turkeys to fire stations throughout Houston for Thanksgiving dinner as a way of saying thanks to those working to the holiday to keep Houston citizens safe. 

Texans Player Visit

Texans player, Nick Martin made a visit to Fire Station 33 to tour the station and talk to the crew about the NFL initiative – My Cause My Cleats which allows players to represent charitable causes that they are passionate about on their cleats for one game each year. Nick chose to show support for firefighters on his cleats because he has a lot of 

family members who are firefighters and has tremendous respect for their jobs. Martin toured the station and surprised the crew with the news about representing all  firefighters on the field by wearing the marked cleats. 

Thanksgiving Day Parade
Anthony Perez: Communications Captain

How long have you been with HFD?

I’ve been with HFD for 14 years. 


What made you want to work in this profession?

After witnessing the pride and brotherhood of the fire service during 9/1, I knew that I wanted to start a career with the Houston Fire Department. I also wanted to have a rewarding career and something my family could be proud of. While 

working a full time job I went to HCC Fire school and Emt school in order to be certified and applied at HFD. 


What do you love most about your job?

There are many things I love about the job. Initially it was helping those in need. The first five minutes of a house fire was always exciting as well as helping people as an EMT. I’ve been a Communications Captain since 2009 so my job responsibilities have changed. Now I enjoy utilizing what I have learned in the field to be the best Radio Operator I can possibly be. Where as in the past I would be involved with single incidents from a single station, I now see the whole city and enjoy working under pressure. But overall throughout the years I would have to say I love meeting and working with the people by my side during emergencies. Those people have become my second family and we all share a special bond that is unlike no other. 


What is the most challenging thing about your job?

The most challenging part of my job in the past was seeing and hearing hurt children. Those images and scenes never leave. Now the most challenging aspect of my job is attempting to make Communications as efficient as possible. We have made some changes that have greatly affected emergency response, but there is still more to do. 


What are you most proud of?

I’m proud to be a member of the HFD. I love that I get to work doing something I love. 


Life outside of work:

Outside of work my life is just as busy as anyone else’s. We have 3 children, 16, 12, and 10 and 3 dogs. So there’s never a dull moment in our household. I’ve enjoyed coaching all of our kids in the many sports they have played. The most interesting was coaching lacrosse, which I had to YouTube how to play. Also for the past year I have started woodworking, making desks, farmhouse tables, kitchen tables, baseball bat holders etc. 


Attitude of Gratitude

By: Samantha Sciulli


It’s that time of year again - time for family gatherings and celebrations, gift giving, food, and football. Thanksgiving and the holidays that follow are a time to “give thanks” and remember what we are grateful for.  However, as humans, we are exceptionally good at taking things for granted and we often forget about giving thanks until the calendar rolls over to the next year. And sometimes the stress of life sets in and it’s hard to think of things we are grateful for. So why bother?


Well, research shows that gratitude is an uplifting positive emotion, meaning that it will not only make you feel happier in the present, but it will also create more positive emotions for you in the future. People who practice gratitude as part of their day-to-day lives experience increases in well-being, happiness, satisfaction, energy, enthusiasm, resilience, and other positive emotions. Studies have also found that it is good for our overall health, such as reducing blood pressure, depression, and stress, and can help us sleep better at night and strengthen our immune system. Not to mention, research suggests that practicing gratitude will also strengthen our relationships with family and friends and increase feelings of connectedness with others. Another great thing about practicing gratitude, is that nothing is too small to be appreciated. The big stuff and the very little things all produce the same effect on our emotional and physical state!


Practicing gratitude might also be especially helpful in the fire department as switching from home life to making calls can feel a bit abrupt sometimes. For some, trying to get sleep the night before shift is difficult, already feeling amped up for the next day. So before you start tossing and turning, I would encourage you to write down the people, situations, acts of kindness, nature and other things that you are thankful for. Try to visualize whatever it is before moving on. Even just a few seconds of concentrated gratitude will stimulate the production of dopamine and serotonin in your brain stem making it easier for your nervous system to cut you a break, so you can catch some Zs. And for others it’s challenging coming off shift and heading home to be with family. For this, I would recommend setting a chime on your phone or placing a reminder in your car so you can remember to ask yourself “what am I thankful for” before you walk in your front door. Since gratitude decreased negative emotions, such as frustration, resentment, regret, and aggression and increases feelings of satisfaction, empathy, and belonging, you’ll find it easier to reconnect with your home life and loved ones.  


First and foremost, remember gratitude is a practice. Life will get chaotic and there will be days when you don’t feel particularly grateful, but it is in these moments that you can experience all the benefits that gratitude has to offer. Choosing to feel grateful even when you don’t feel like it can help change your perspective on a situation, relieve stress, and produce more positive emotions – it is after all, difficult to feel angry and grateful at the same time.


One way to begin is by writing down a few new things each day that you are grateful for in a gratitude journal or write letters expressing your thanks to the people in your life. Alternatively, you can engage your family and friends over a morning coffee or meal by sharing what you are grateful for and encouraging them to do the same.


Here are a few prompts you can ask yourself to get started:

• What are 3 things you can appreciate about this moment in the here and now?

• What do you appreciate about your life? And yourself?

• Who are 3 people who have a positive effect on your life or your day? And what things do they do that help you out or create a positive experience?

• What am I taking for granted that I would miss when it’s gone?


If this practice of gratitude feels difficult for you, then it might be a good idea to check in with us about how you’re doing. Therapy services are free to you and your immediate family members


Dr. Buser: (281) 799-8032

Dr. Tran: (281) 901-4341

Samantha Sciulli.: (512) 703-0506

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

International Visit

A delegation of 25 workplace safety government officials and professionals from China attended a chemical process safety training program in Houston in December. During their stay, they visited with  HFD’s Hazmat team to learn about emergency response procedures to industrial chemical spills, explosions or other chemical incidents. Thanks to Hazmat Chief Colburn and our Hazmat team for hosting and being a great representation of HFD to the world! 

HIPAA Update


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.



What is a “Breach” of Protected Health Information (PHI)?

It is acquisition, access, use, or disclosure of PHI in an impermissible manner which compromises the security or privacy of the PHI.

What is Encryption?

It is the coding or scrambling of information so that it can only be read by someone who has the correct decoding key.

HIPAA Case and Settlement:  Catholic Health Care Services (CHCS) issued an iPhone to an employee which was stolen that contained PHI of over 400 individuals.  This information was not encrypted or password protected.  They were fined $650,000.00 by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) and received a two-year corrective action plan.

Conclusion:  Maintain the confidentiality of any individual’s health information.

HIPAA Compliance Officer:

Kenneth W. Payne

Chief Communication

Office #832-394-6865

Cell #713-299-2872

Field Advisory Committee Update

The field advisory committee has now held three meetings and has met with the Fire Chief.

One of the main objectives of FAC is to carry the voice of the field and to do that they need to hear from the field.


The FAC is meeting monthly and those meetings are open to all district chiefs.  The committee establishes the date location at the end of each monthly meeting as they attempt to alternate shifts and location.   In the future, the FAC will send an email to the district chief email group with the time date and location once it is established.


The first portion of each meeting is open forum, allowing those who cannot stay for the entire meeting to introduce concerns. Items brought up during the open forum will be added two new business on the days agenda for a more thorough discussion The first portion of each meeting is open forum, allowing those who cannot stay for the entire meeting to introduce concerns. Items brought up during the open forum will be added to”new business” on the day’s agenda for a more thorough discussion. 


Another method of contacting the committee is by email field advisory committee at Houston All members of the committee as well as some members of command staff are on the receiving end of these emails. Send your question request concern or information to share and you will receive an informative reply within a few days confirming receipt and status.


If you are making a request for action be open to receiving questions and feedback as we seek a proper solution. If you have a direct question or concern and you feel the above message do not seem appropriate district chief Dennis Fisher is serving as the district chief liaison. Contact him directly and he will determine the most appropriate means to mitigate.

Upcoming ARFF Course

Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting will be conducting an 80 our basic ARFF certification course (a prerequisite to transfer to ARFF) scheduled for February 4-15, 2019 Monday through Friday 0700 to 1500. The course will be held in classroom 5 at the Val Jahnke training facility.  


The openings for the 2019 ARFF certification course are: 2-Senior captains, 2 Captains, 8-Engineer Operators, and



The openings are determined by the number of non-assigned ARFF certified members available to transfer into ARFF. Any unfilled rank openings in the class will be filled with other applicants. 


The mission of ARFF is to provide a safe escape route for aircraft passengers and to mitigate emergencies that occur in the aircraft operations area. ARFF members are expected to participate in daily training to maintain and demonstrate proficiency in the 14 required subject areas and an annual live burn in addition to the monthly HFD continuing education training. Candidate should be self-motivated, enthusiastic, in good health, and physically fit to perform successfully as an airport firefighter. 


The following are minimum requirements that must be met before completing the application process:


Must have at least five years of service in Houston Fire Department.


Member must be currently certified as an EMT.


Must not be locked in a long term current assignment either through Personal transfer or service commitment. Committments to must expire no later than July 31, 2019 to be eligible for the 2019 class.  


Applications will be ranked based on a point system. There should be a maximum of five certification points awarded and a maximum of five seniority points in current rank. 


Any member who fails to state exam will be given an opportunity to re-test. If I’m successful on the retest the member will not be allowed to apply for another ARFF certification class for three years. 


Please contact one of the following training officers if you have any questions:


Captain Jeff Gentry 281-233-7879 or Captain Bobby Thompson 713-640-3029

Firefighter Mass

The HFD Honor Guard along with the Houston Chapter of The St. Florian Society was happy to present Father Troy Gately with the 2018 Kimberly Ann Smith Award. He is this years recipient, but was unable to attend this year’s Firefighter Mass at Sacred Co-Cathedral as he is pastor at St. John Vianney in West Houston. Father Troy was instrumental in getting the annual Mass off of the ground in the old church while getting the new church built. Congratulations Father Troy and a big thanks to Stations 75, 78 and 86 for participating in today’s Mass.

In the Community

A few weeks ago a family in need that resides in 67’s district came by the station and left a letter asking for help. This Grandmother suffered a stroke and because of this financial issues arose. B shift collectively made Christmas possible for this family in need. Thank you 67’s B shift!

Christmas Event
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