Texas fire departments hit by Hurricane Harvey ask for help
Sept. 27, 2017 — COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Officials from key fire service organizations of Texas are asking for equipment and monetary donations to help local Texas fire departments impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
Texas A&M Forest Service, State Firefighters’ and Fire Marshals’ Association, Texas Fire Chiefs Association, Texas Interstate Fire Mutual Aid System, and State Fire Marshal’s Office, officials deployed a Rapid Fire Department Assessment Tool to determine needs and damage to local fire departments following Hurricane Harvey. Base assessments have been conducted on 309 fire departments in 36 counties, with an estimated 64 fire departments still to be completed.
Currently, 145 fire apparatus have been confirmed as damaged or destroyed. Twenty-four fire stations were completely destroyed and hundreds more have wind and water damage. Hundreds of sets of protective clothing, over 50 SCBA (breathing apparatus), multiple SCBA refill stations, hydraulic rescue tool and other rescue tools have been lost or destroyed. Much of this equipment was damaged while responding to calls for assistance during the disaster.
Fire departments will need to replace fire apparatus lost or severely damaged in the storm, as well as fire and rescue equipment. A difficult process, particularly when 94 percent of the fire departments surveyed are all volunteer or combination. Corporations, fire departments or others wishing to donate fire equipment to affected fire departments can do so through the Texas A&M Forest Service Helping Hands Program. Established by the Texas Legislature, the Helping Hands Program allows donations of fire/rescue equipment, fire apparatus and other items to fire departments while providing liability relief to the donor.
Current needs are firefighting apparatus, structural and wildland firefighting personal protective clothing, self-contained breathing apparatus, rescue tools, SCBA (cascade) filling stations and small generators. Please contact the Texas A&M Forest Service Helping Hands program at http://tfsweb.tamu.edu/helpinghands/ or 936-639-8130 for more information.
“The State of Texas appreciates the outpouring of support to Texas firefighters and fire departments,” said Texas A&M Forest Service Fire Chief Mark Stanford. “Hurricane Harvey devastated the region and impacts to our fire service are no exception.”
Additionally, over 300 firefighters’ homes have been reported damaged or destroyed. Monetary donations for fire departments, firefighters and their families are being accepted through SFFMA at www.texasfirefighterrelief.org and the Texas Fire Chiefs Association at https://texasfireservice.org/.