The Fire Fighters Foundation of Houston Makes Initial Donations to HFD; Announces Second Annual Fire Fighters Ball

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The Fire Fighters Foundation of Houston Makes Initial Donations to HFD; Announces Second Annual Fire Fighters Ball

DATE: April 13, 2007
CONTACT: HFD Public Information, 713-495-7900

The Houston Fire Department and the Fire Fighters Foundation of Houston will hold a press conference, today, April 13, 2007, at 1:30 p.m. at the HFD Training Academy, 8030 Braniff Rd near Hobby Airport. The equipment donated by the Foundation will be exhibited and demonstrated. The press conference will follow the completion of Fire Ops 101, a hands-on introduction to the Department’s burn building, simulator and rappelling exercises by Foundation members and members of the media.

The Fire Fighters Foundation of Houston has announced the donation of life-saving equipment and more to the Houston Fire Department (HFD). The Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was established in 2006 to provide support to HFD. It held the inaugural Fire Fighter’s Ball on September 11, 2006, and raised nearly $300,000. From those funds came a number of important donations to HFD, which were made recently, including:

  • $51,775.00 worth of Motorola Radios.
  • 44 Grinders (Dewalt Cut Off Tool) and Accessories. Firefighters frequently encounter obstacles that impede their progress during the performance of their duties. One such obstacle, burglars bars, delays entry and thus search and rescue efforts. The grinders can be used to rapidly remove the burglar bars, allowing access for a faster search, increasing the potential to save the life of an occupant. The Department intends to install one grinder on each of our Ladder Truck units. The tool has been tested and recommended by HFD’s Special Operations Rescue Team as an excellent solution to the burglar bar problem.
  • 2 Thermal Imaging Cameras. The generation of smoke in a confined space produces an atmosphere of reduced, and often times, zero visibility. The Thermal Imaging Cameras differentiate temperature differences as low as one tenth of a degree. As firefighters perform their search, they will be able to use the cameras to scan the inside of the structure, picking up temperature differences that would detect victims who otherwise might go unnoticed. The cameras can also be used to detect fire hidden in void spaces, thus providing for a quicker extinguishment and reduction in property loss.
  • 8 Carbon Monoxide Pulse Oximeters. This device is used to measure carbon monoxide levels of patients, as well as firefighters, who are suffering from smoke inhalation. Determining the level of carbon monoxide exposure will provide for a more accurate assessment, mode of treatment and medical facility destination.
  • 3 donations of $2,500 each to the Valor Awards Committee, the Honor Guard and the Pipe & Drums Organization. The Valor Awards Committee recognizes firefighters each year for outstanding service to the Department. The Honor Guard and The Pipes & Drums are volunteer organizations made up of firefighters. They represent the Department at various functions including funerals, promotion and graduation ceremonies and other special events. These donations will defray costs associated with maintaining these organizations.

This is the first donation to HFD from the foundation, which was established to help provide Houston’s bravest men and women with the necessary tools, technology, and equipment so that they may be able to best serve and protect the citizens of Houston.

According to Chairman of the Fire Fighters Foundation of Houston Board William E. King, the Fire Firefighters Foundation of Houston is committed to filling the gap between the needs of HFD and the limits of government spending.

“Unfortunately, recent advances in technology and new equipment demands have too frequently fallen further down the priority list,” said King. “As a result, these demands rarely receive the funding and attention they deserve.”

This donation includes cut off grinders for every HFD ladder, two thermal imaging cameras, Carbon Monoxide Pulse Oximeters for every HFD ambulance and ambulance supervisor and several donations to non-profit entities that assist Houston Firefighters.

The cut off grinders, which are currently on only HFD Rescue units will enable firefighters to quickly and efficiently cut through burglar bars and similar obstacles that they face in attempting to rescue citizens from burning structures.

According to Assistant Fire Chief Omero Longoria, a ladder unit is dispatched to every structure fire and the greater accessibility of the cut off grinders will enable the fire department to reduce rescue efforts and perhaps prevent deaths. During this press conference, HFD will be giving a live demonstration of how these cut off grinders work.

Another life-saving device is the thermal imaging camera. Currently, the fire department has these cameras, which allow firefighters to see heat through smoke and fire, on every ladder. The donation will provide the department with a needed back-up reserve.

According to HFD EMS Assistant Chief Adrian Trevino, one of the most deadly elements of a fire is not the heat but the smoke. The carbon monoxide can build up in a person’s system and cause severe illness leading to death.

The Carbon Monoxide Pulse Oximeters will allow all HFD ambulance crews and supervisors to measure carbon monoxide levels of both citizens and firefighters exposed to long periods of time in a smoldering incident.

“These devices will also allow HFD to determine which hospital would be best to treat the patient,” said Trevino.

Fire Chief Phil Boriskie applauds the Foundation for its efforts in helping to ensure the safety of not only the citizens of Houston, but also the members of the Houston Fire Department.

“I look forward to our continued partnership with the Houston Fire Fighters Foundation,” said Boriskie. “Ultimately, this support gives us a greater chance of rescuing citizens and making sure that our members return home to their families.”

King also announced that the Second Annual Fire Fighter’s Ball has been scheduled for September 11, 2007. Jane Page, the managing director of Crescent Real Estate Equities, will chair this year’s event.

King said, “We are extremely excited to have Ms. Page chairing this year’s event. Crescent is a longtime supporter of the Houston Fire Department and this is a generous extension of that support.”

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