HFD creates COVID-19 kits to help tackle severe weather this weekend

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Houston Fire Department is preparing for what the tropical depression in the Gulf will bring to the city when the first bands of rain begin Friday.

Officials are taking preparations for potential high water rescues that fire department personnel will have to address during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We have what we call COVID kits on each of our high water vehicles," said chief of operations for HFD, Michael Mire. "Inside a waterproof plastic case will be 300 masks for people we rescue. The trucks that can hold up to 20 people can be decontaminated after each trip. COVID is now layering everything the fire department does."

He also added that what could be a flooding emergency on top of a pandemic, is just more of a test for the department.

"I've never seen a group of people more resilient," Mire said of the fire department.

Firefighters will be the ones to get people out of flooded homes or take people injured in accidents to hospitals.

"If the medical center is flooded in, we may have to take them to hospitals other than Ben Taub or Memorial Hermann. We're also asking people to be understanding if that should happen," Mire said.

Should you need to call an ambulance during the storm that's predicted to last into Sunday, Mire asks you to gather all your medications and be ready to go.

"That saves time during rapid evacuations. And if you have symptoms or have tested positive for COVID, inform the 911 dispatcher so our crews know how to respond safely."

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