Bulletin: 116                                      Volume: 23                 Friday 1 September 2017




 Yesterday, I landed in Austin and arrived at our disaster relief operations in Houston, where I met with Local 341 and Texas State Association of Fire Fighters (TSAFF) leadership and IAFF staff for a briefing.

It goes without saying that it has been a challenging week for our members in Texas and Louisiana, where Hurricane Harvey has brought torrential rain, devastating winds and widespread flooding.  

As our members do, they are on the frontlines protecting their communities even while suffering great personal loss and damage themselves. And, as this union does, we are helping our brothers and sisters in their time of need.

Our disaster relief operation center is up and running in Houston at the Local 341 union hall. Our state and local leadership, along with IAFF staff, are providing direct support to our members in the disaster zone. Now that the destruction from Hurricane Harvey has reached Louisiana, 14th District Vice President Danny Todd is in the process of setting up a second disaster relief operation center in the Lake Charles/Sulphur area to assist members in southeast Texas and western Louisiana. Both operation centers are already coordinating work to help our members.

I am so proud of our incredible disaster relief teams whose sole focus is on providing assistance to our members, including direct financial aid, emergency medical screenings and vaccines and exposure monitoring, behavioral health needs and anything else required to assist our members.

  • A cadre of Peer Support instructors has been divided into eight teams that will be visiting members at every station to address mental health concerns and needs.
  • We will be coordinating and delivering Tetanus, Hep A and Hep B vaccines for each command center.  
  • Now that the city has initiated a recall of personnel, we are bringing in cots to each station to accommodate the double crews.  

I want to thank our Austin Local 975 and the Austin Fire Department for their assistance in making sure our members are taken care of and for providing department vehicles to help with transportation to Houston, as well as having drivers available for our disaster relief team for as long as they are here. Additionally, Local 975 is providing water for every fire station.

We also owe our gratitude to the TSAFF for its incredible support, including financial assistance to help our brothers and sisters in need.

Now we need you to do your part to ensure funds are available to assist these thousands of members in both states whose homes have been devastated by flooding while they’ve remained on the frontlines, rescuing thousands of people in the storm’s path.

Because of the magnitude of this hurricane, the recovery and rebuilding process will be ongoing for some time. Our members’ needs are great. We are asking you to have their backs by making sure money is there to assist our members now and in future disasters.

We need everyone to donate to the IAFF Disaster Relief Fund.

In Solidarity, 

Harold Schaitberger
General President

Strength in Unity

Authorised by Peter Marshall, Branch Secretary