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HFD chief asks council for funds to buy more rescue equipment

HOUSTON – The Houston Fire Department asked the city for millions of dollars to start replacing its aging fleet. 

"As it stands right now, our abilities are limited in that we only have 10 boats for the whole city, six rescue boats and one high water vehicle," Chief Samuel Pena said.

He laid out his plan to Houston City Council members Tuesday morning. Pena wants 20 evacuation boats, 10 rescue boats and eight high water vehicles for a cost of $1.8 million.

READ: New problems with HFD emergency fleet

On an annual basis, Pena called for nine fire engines, four ladder trucks and 16 ambulances. The total approximate cost is $10.9 million a year.

In addition, Pena hoped to increase training for swift water rescues.

"It's irresponsible of me to place anybody in these boats and require them to do a job that we're asking them to do," Pena said.

He said we need to plan for the expected risk in our community.

READ: HFD has inadequate equipment to handle floods

"We know we're going to see these types of events again in the future and we need to be better prepared equipped to efficiently respond," Pena said.

The chief said during Harvey he wasn't able to call in all of his firefighters to help because he didn't have enough equipment.

The city council will talk about the chief's proposal later this fall when they start considering next year's budget.

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