Houston Fire Department is hosting a new clinic to help firefighters navigate hurdles in their nuptials, so they can continue to safely and effectively serve their community.
Executive Assistant Fire Chief of Houston Fire Department Rodney West told KPRC2, “We realized in the Houston Fire Department our most valuable asset is not the multi-million dollar fire stations, it’s not the $1.2 million ladder trucks, it’s the men and women that serve, and we realize we have to make or at least provide positive outlooks for the things money can’t buy,” explained West. “I believe marriage is the biggest investment we can make. We have to continue to work on it. We don’t let our roof go bad on your house, if your foundation is cracked, if it needs paint, you do the work, and in marriages sometimes that is lost.”
This is why HFD is offering its staff a Firefighter Marriage Clinic, a partnership between HFD, Houston First Baptist Church, and Christ Way Counseling Services.
“It is an opportunity for men and women who take more home than sometimes they bring when they leave a shift to enhance themselves in a personal world.” West explained.
If not addressed, West said issues within the marriage or partnership will certainly begin to impact other aspects of employees’ lives, including work.
“What we have looked at, among the men, the rates match or are close to what happens in society; however, among the women, it was a higher rate for firefighters than in society,” explained West when it comes to divorce rates. “I think the need was identified by our chaplain who sees and talks to members about their challenges.”
HFD Chaplain Richard Ponce added: “We recognize if we aren’t performing operationally, there’s consequences. The why (reason for the clinic) is for the family, and that doesn’t mean the family at home, it also means fire family. How do we merge those together to create, the best firefighter we could have, both at home and at work? The community are the ones who benefit the most from it.”