It’s been a trying late-summer stretch for firefighters and the communities they serve in many parts of the United States. The full impact of Hurricane Irma on Florida will become more clear in the days ahead. While Irma dominates the news cycle, as it should, we must not forget about the devastation left behind in east Texas caused by Hurricane Harvey.
Make no mistake: assistance is necessary. For example, we learned that in one Texas community, an estimated 80% of the local firefighters have lost their homes and are living at the firehouse.
According to our friends at the State Firefighters’ and Fire Marshals’ Association in Manchaca, Texas:
- More than 315 firefighter homes have been destroyed or damaged
- 60 fire trucks have been destroyed
- 16 fire stations have been destroyed or damaged
Additionally, numerous city of Houston firefighter homes, apparatus and fire stations were damaged or destroyed by the floods. The Texas fire service needs assistance to recover. That’s why, again, the IAFC is appealing to the fire service community to consider sending donations to one or more of the following organizations:
With this in mind, the IAFC has been in contact with IAFC Southwestern Division leaders and other state and national fire service organizations asking how IAFC members can help. On behalf of the IAFC Board of Directors, I'm requesting IAFC members and the fire service community to consider sending donations to one or more of the following organizations:
NVFC's firefighter support fund supports volunteer first responders whose homes have been impacted by a state- or federally-declared disaster. The fund provides a stipend to help these individuals meet basic needs in the aftermath of a disaster. Visit the NVFC website for information about eligibility.
An important reminder: The IAFC urges all fire and emergency service leaders to prohibit the practice of self-dispatching to emergency response and recovery locations. There is much recovery work ahead for the communities affected by the floods. Responders desiring to assist on the ground should coordinate through their state emergency management agencies or the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC).
The IAFC continues to offer our thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of Hurricane Harvey victims and prays for the strength and safety of all first responders serving the communities suffering in the aftermath of the devastating storm.
Chief Thomas Jenkins
IAFC President and Chairman of the Board
Note: This blog post was updated on September 15.