Members of the Kingwood Public Safety Committee were shocked to learn recently that Kingwood has no permanent cardiopulmonary resuscitation assist devices. The Houston Fire Department operates them and they do not, by policy, have any placed in Kingwood. These devices help individuals keep CPR going as it is a strenuous endeavor, particularly in an emergency.
A question about the equipment raised during the May committee meeting was answered at the June meeting.
The answer, provided by Dustin Hodges of Houston Mayor Pro Tem Dave Martin’s office and confirmed by resident Dave Lambrix, a retired chief federal law enforcement officer, came as a surprise and was deemed unacceptable by the committee. Simply stated, Kingwood has no assist devices due to a policy issue.
“Houston Fire Chief Pena, Assistant Chief Wells and Assistant Chief White said these devices are permanently deployed with EMS supervisors,” Hodges said.
Supervisors arrive on a scene and make the devices available.
“For those of you who don’t know, supervisors are not stationed in Kingwood. The nearest [supervisor] is at 610 and 59, I believe their last response time up here, to the back of Kingwood, the fire station No. 103 area, was 38 minutes at 10:30 a.m. with no traffic,” Lambrix said.
He said he researched and found that response vehicles in Huffman, which is not part of the Houston Fire Department, are equipped with these critical devices, as are those units in the Porter area and also at the Atascocita Fire Department.
“I have been doing CPR for over 40 years and I’ll tell you what, 38 minutes to get that machine up here and then get somebody to a hospital, with the traffic and the time it takes to get to the hospital, the patient is probably not going to make it,” Lambrix said. He pointed out when a person administers CPR, to do it for any extended length of time without an assist device is grueling hard work. If there are no other trained people in the area or if others must be taken off a fire or other emergency, it becomes a more dangerous and difficult situation for all involved.
These are not defibrillators. They are CPR devices and they cost approximately $26,500 a unit.
Lambrix noted he had talked with a state fire marshal’s group regarding sources of funding and the only financial grants available are what are called “2604” money, which requires partners in the application. He noted those kinds of grants are not easy to obtain, based on having done them in the past.
“It’s kind of amazing that with your ESD in Huffman, both of their ambulances have them. Even Porter is a lot closer than the Kingwood supervisor is. I’m not sure what the mutual aid agreement covers in terms of medical response, but as a resident, as a first responder in this business for too many years, that is unacceptable when you have that kind of response in the third largest city in the United States,” Lambrix said.
Hodges pointed out that Martin’s office is not allowed to use its funds in a situation like this. It is considered an operational issue to be funded and handled within the appropriate operating department, which in this case is the fire department.
A representative from the Houston Fire Department was not present at the meeting so no immediate response was available. Dee Price asked Hodges what the process was for recourse to get the equipment located physically within Kingwood. Before Hodges could answer, Lambrix responded:
“My suggestion would be to put the supervisor’s device on the district chief’s truck instead. He is located in Kingwood, at Station 102,” he said.
Price pointed out that perhaps the supervisor for Kingwood should be in Kingwood.
“Our options are to either get an EMS supervisor stationed in Kingwood or get them to give it to the district chief,” Price said.
Hodges announced he had just texted Assistant Chief Wells about the issue, “He said he will talk with Chief Pena tomorrow,” Hodges said.
Settegast closed the discussion and said, “We’re all on the same page. Dustin, let’s have some response within a week. Let’s not wait until next month. This is something that is serious that does need to be addressed,” Hodges and the committee agreed.
In other business Hodges pointed out City Councilman, Mayor Pro Tem Martin has scheduled a Lake Houston Spillway Project meeting soon. It will be in person July 8 at the Kingwood Community Center at 6 p.m. He highlighted it is a public meeting and they are not expecting any Covid related restrictions by that time. He urged everyone to attend.
The next Public Safety Committee Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, July 14 at 7 p.m. at the South Woodland Hills Community Room. The public is invited to attend. Due to the current COVID-19 situation, you are encouraged to call the Kingwood Association Management office at 281-358-5192 a day or two prior to confirm if the meeting is still scheduled as planned or will take place as a Zoom teleconference.