Texas fire union: Broken trucks risk firefighters’ lives

The union asserted that Houston firefighters have had to use duct tape and wooden beams to fix equipment

By FireRescue1 Staff

HOUSTON — The Houston Professional Firefighters Union stated Tuesday broken equipment is endangering the lives of firefighters.

According to Click2Houston, firefighting equipment across Houston is broken and firefighters have been left to make do with the circumstances. Union President Alvin White said one of the trucks at a station is leaking water at about a gallon a minute and requires a hose to be connected when the engine is not in use.

“This is a safety issue. It affects citizens’ safety and the firefighters that are out there,” White said. 

Firefighters have also used a wooden beam to keep an overhead radio in place and duct tape to fix an air conditioning problem in another  truck. 

“They had the duct tape around there to hold those vents in place and to cut down on the water condensation from the units,” White said. 

Lack of water during fire calls has been another concern for firefighters, citing that they’ve encountered numerous problems while heading to a call. 

“They have a malfunction where it stays in one gear so they had to pull the engine over, turn the batteries off and restart it. This happened two times enroute to this fire. They were the ones who were supposed to run [water] lines,” White said. 

The city released the following statement, discussing city budget cuts as the main reason fire trucks are kept longer:

“In 2011, the City of Houston consolidated all fleet operations into one central Fleet Management Division.

The Houston Fire Department is a quasi-client of the FDM so it would be irresponsible for us to comment on another department’s operations except to say, due to decade old revenue cap, we are keeping fires trucks longer, increasing maintenance, and may increase out-of-service time of front-line units. We have a strong relationship with FMD, so we encourage our firefighters to continue their due diligence and report fleet issues. We would like to thank (the fire union) for the strong partnership and working with administration in helping us continue to provide the highest degree of customer service to our citizens, while providing for the safety of firefighters.”

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