Since 1891, New Orleans Fire Fighters
have protected the City of New Orleans with unwavering courage and
loyalty. Hurricane Katrina dealt a near devastating blow,
destroying fire houses and equipment throughout the city,
transforming the already difficult job of fighting fires into a
Herculean task, each and every day.
The Fire Fighters suffered enormous
losses of equipment. A compromised city infrastructure imposes
additional hardship on the 650 men and women who protect us.
This is about public safety and
supporting those who risk their lives every day for us.
The Fire Fighters need your support.
The NOFD’s stated
mission is that:
"The New Orleans Fire Department will respond to
all emergency situations in the City of New Orleans to protect and save life and
property. Further, the Department will strive to reduce the incidence of fire
and the loss of life and injuries to civilians and fire personnel.”
Not a single
member of the NOFD deserted their post during the disaster of Katrina. Moreover,
they rescued over 17,000 people after the storm utilizing their personal boats.
The Department is very proud of these statistics however, since
Hurricane Katrina its ability to accomplish these goals has been hampered.
The NOFD had a written hurricane plan years before Katrina
addressing how to handle a potentially devastating storm, they knew what could
happen. The plan established set areas of last refuge where Fire Fighters and
apparatus were elevated and place in groups. As a result the
NOFD was very successful in protecting its fleet of apparatus’ during the actual
hurricane and the subsequent floods, loosing only three pieces of equipment to
the rising waters. However, they lost 22 of 33 engine houses to flooding. They
have completed temporary repairs to eighteen of these facilities through the
help of generous volunteers and donors. These efforts have allowed firefighters
to get out of trailers and into the structures.
The New Orleans Fire Fighters Foundation (NOFFF)
has assisted the NOFD on several fronts.
generous donations from the New Orleans Rotary Club the NOFFF purchased uniforms
for New Orleans Fire Fighters in 2008.
In 2009 the
Foundation pledged money to assist the Department in purchasing a Mobile Command Van.
The value of this type of, state of the art, vehicle was demonstrated when one
was brought to New Orleans and utilized during Katrina by the FDNY. It would
increase safety by allowing experienced incident commanders to remotely observe
fire ground operations and assist lesser experienced officers in their decision
making and increase scene safety through closer monitoring of assignments. It
has the additional capability of integrating communication systems so varied
agencies can speak directly to each other.
manpower strength has been reduced. The Department currently is down
approximately 100 Fire Fighters from its pre Katrina strength. This has resulted
in engine companies being forced to operate with 3 instead of 4 members, this
often places firefighters in the untenable situation of having to choose between
securing a water source to fight the fire or begin search and rescue. When
companies are sufficiently staffed these operations can commence
simultaneously. Moreover, this drop in manpower has resulted in the loss of
many veteran and knowledgeable Captains and Chiefs. Although, the members that
have risen to replace them are good firefighters there is no substitute for
experienced officers in this dangerous profession.
In an effort to increase the
skills of these younger Fire Fighters and Officers, the Foundation has committed
to assist the NOFD in purchasing COMPUTERIZED
FIRE-TRAINING SIMULATORS. This equipment
will allow Fire Fighters to gain valuable experience using virtual reality
techniques already applied in other fields enabling the fire Fighter to learn
without the possibility of harming himself/herself or others. With the recent
influx of new Fire Fighters since Hurricane Katrina, computer fire-training
simulators will serve as an excellent training tool facilitating the safety of
the Fire Fighters and of the New Orleans community.
Additionally the Foundation is funding
A thermal imager translates infrared radiation into a viewable image,
which shows a heat picture of the fire scene. Because infrared radiation is not
blocked by smoke, Fire Fighters can use thermal imagers to see through smoke
enabling them to find victims faster, to identify the seat of the fire earlier,
and to detect structural dangers that could put Fire Fighters at risk.
funding of these tools, we can continue to see improvements in the safety of the
citizens and Fire Fighters.
Orleans Fire Fighters Foundation is honored to have the opportunity to support
the NOFD and welcomes everyone to join in for this historic time in by assisting
in rebuilding the New Orleans Fire Department. The
Board of Directors of the Foundation would like to thank you in advance for your
support of this proud Department. And with your help looks forward accomplishing
these goals to continue take the New Orleans Fire Department to new heights in
*The New Orleans
FireFighters Foundation is a 501-3C non-profit organization and all
donations are tax deductible.