Ponderosa Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) has two teams of Fire Corps members: the Rehab Team and the Hurricane Hardening Team. The Rehab Team was established several years ago, and the Hurricane Hardening Team was created after witnessing the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina. Both teams meet critical needs for the department and allow the department members more time to focus on emergency response.

The Rehab Team consists mainly of the department members’ significant others. They carry pagers with a special alert (alpha and voice) to allow them to understand the call, find the location, and determine what rehab services may be needed. This special group allows family members to be involved and contribute to the same efforts as their responding loved ones. They are also instrumental in assisting with public education in the community.

Ponderosa VFD often faces the challenge of preparing for and enduring the effects of hurricanes due to its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico. After Hurricane Katrina, Ponderosa VFD recruited the Hurricane Hardening Team to ensure that all of the stations’ facilities are up to standards and that the structures and equipment are prepared to handle the storms. The team is comprised of a past fire chief and other community members with a background in building construction and facility support. These volunteers provide the department with expert advice that can potentially save thousands of dollars when a major hurricane hits their area. They make both long-term and short-term recommendations, such as tying down sheds or ordering a new generator. Chief Fred Windisch described the reliability of the Hurricane Hardening team by stating, “The team can be reactivated at any time a need is identified.”

For more information about the Ponderosa VFD Fire Corps program, contact Chief Fred Windisch at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or (281) 444-9465.

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