Council approves $2M HFD request for high water equipment

The Houston Fire Department will be adding to their high water rescue fleet after city council approved a request for more vehicles, boats, and even a drone. And in a city that is no stranger to floods, this equipment, the fire department says, is much needed especially as we inch toward another hurricane season.

"We got to get this before hurricane season. That's our goal," said Assistant Fire Chief Ruy Lozano with the Houston Fire Department.

A request granted by Mayor Sylvester Turner and council members that will add high water equipment for HFD.

"We are certainly in a much better position, six months after Harvey, than we were then and much, much better than when we were from the Tax Day flood," said Mayor Turner.

The price tag is right around $2 million. That cost includes $300,000 in training so when another storm hits, more first responders will be ready at a moment's notice.

"It's our opportunity to amp up our resources, give our members the tools they need to be successful in those severe weather events," said Assistant Chief Lozano.

The request for new equipment was brought to council in December. At the time, Houston Fire Chief Pena, among other items, was asking for seven High Water Vehicles (HWV). Private donations combined with the appropriations will fulfill the need.

"We've had private donors everywhere from KBR, the Firefighter's Foundation of Houston, the Civic Entertainment Group. They've all donated assets that are going to compliment this purchase," said Lozano.

Also on the list: evacuation boats with trailers, rescue boats, 10 prime movers, 4 wave runner jet ski's, even a drone for $30,000.

"We're really trying to have a big, holistic fleet," said Lozano.

A fleet that will be strategically placed throughout the city, also able to move when weather moves in.

"Harvey is kind of an outlier. I don't think we're going to see another Harvey, but every year this city floods," said Lozano.

Some of this equipment, as the Assistant Chief said, has already been donated. Training is ongoing and hopefully the equipment can be purchased not just before hurricane season, but rather before the city experiences its next flood.