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Fire At George Bush Park In Harris County—Take Steps To Avoid Being The Cause Of Any Fires

There is a wildfire at George H.W. Bush Park in Harris County.

Here is a non-ideological assessment of the presidency of G.H.W. Bush.  Though this is not the main subject of this blog post, it is always the right time to learn about and to think about new things.

Here is a report on the fire from Houston TV station KTRK. 

(Update—9/14/11—Progress was made overnight in figthing the fire.)

The picture above is of smoke from the fire as it was seen a few hours ago. This picture was taken by my friend Ms. Alex Ragsdale.

As you can see, the fire is an urbanized area.

This fire is not surprising as there is an extreme drought in Harris County and in Texas.  There have been many wildfires in Texas in 2011 and in recent weeks.

These fires have been made more difficult to fight than need be, because Rick Perry and the Republican-dominated state legislature have cut funds for the Texas Forest Service and for firefighters in Texas.

Given the extreme drought conditions in the Houston and in Texas, it is best that we take steps to avoid being the cause of any more fires.

While some people may wish to do what is best, often we make mistakes.

Here are some tips from the Houston Fire Department about how you avoid being the cause of any more fires.

HFD recommends the following safety tips during this drought: Continue reading

September 14, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Woman Houston Firefighter Harassed By Colleagues—Uniformed Forces Need Self-Discpline And Should Attend To Job At Hand

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ruled that the Houston Fire Department failed to correctly address workplace harassment against firefighter Jane Draycott.

From the Houston Chronicle—

“The Houston Fire Department’s failure to properly address discrimination complaints by a female firefighter and subsequent retaliation subjected her to a “hostile work environment” based on her gender, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has determined….Draycott and another firefighter, Paula Keyes, found racist and sexist graffiti scrawled on the walls of their dormitory at Station 54 on July 7, 2009. The incident occurred after Draycott had complained to HFD officials of harassment.  The EEOC looked at two events. The first one was what took place after Draycott filed the complaint of harassment on June 29, 2009, and then was subjected, along with Keyes, to racist and sexist graffiti scrawled on their dormitory walls on July 7. The second involved Draycott alone. The EEOC confirmed Draycott’s allegation that former Fire Chief Phil Boriskie and other members of the HFD command staff allowed and encouraged “male firefighters to disparage and humiliate” her upon her return to work on Jan. 13, 2010….”

To her credit, Houston Mayor Annise Parker has taken a very tough line on this behavior.

Folks in Houston may recall just a few years ago when some in our fire department were in my view openly disrespectful to then Mayor Lee Brown.

Update—1/19/10—A Latino Houston firefighter has filed a complaint with the city claiming that he was hanged in effigy at a Houston firehouse and a ethnic slur was used against him.

When people join an uniformed force that is run by taxpayer dollars and is subject to civilian control, the expectation is that there will be discipline and respect for others from that force.

Hopefully Mayor Parker will continue to demand higher standards of conduct from our Houston firefighters.

January 18, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 5 Comments

Good Work By Annise Parker In Getting Rid Of Fire Chief—Picture Of Fire Engine

Houston Fire Chief Phil Boriskie has resigned his post.

(Above—This fire engine on tracks fights fires in railway tunnels in Austria.)

It seems clear enough that new Mayor Annise Parker made him go.

There have been recent incidents of racial and gender-based harassment in the Houston Fire Department.

After these incidents, Chief Boriskie did not handle the response very well.

At core, Chief Boriskie did not seem able to control his people.

Good work by Mayor Parker in bringing about a change of leadership at the Houston Fire Department.

January 20, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 3 Comments