KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
August 21, 2021
By Natalie Cook Clark
The Katy firefighters with the Harris County ESD 48 Fire Department have transformed their fire stations into “Fire Houses” with the heart of the station being the personalized tables they built. The tables bring pride during a time when first responders are more vital than ever to our community.
Photo credit: Chief Jason Tharp
The Need for a Family Table
Firefighters work long shifts that involve eating meals and sleeping at their stations. They become family and this is no different for the firefighters and EMT’s at Harris County ESD 48 Fire Department. Many fire stations have been renovated into a "fire house" style that includes living rooms and entertainment centers. For these Katy stations, the table has become the heart and focus.
“We needed tables,” says Jason Tharp, division Chief of Community Risk Reduction/PIO at Harris County ESD Fire Department. “We had something to get us by but the plan was always to have a family table. Something that the entire onsite crew could gather around.”
Any shift could have 8-10 people at the station and that many people need to get around the table. Station 5 was the first station to get their personalized table.
Station 5's table uses fire hydrants for the base emphasizing each tables uniqueness. Photo credit: Chief Jason Tharp
Captain Cody Armstrong led the project.
“I learned a lot from my Dad,” says Captain Armstrong. “He was a carpenter all his life and I am as well.”
Currently 3 out of the 4 stations have their own personalized tables. Captain Armstrong plans to begin the final table soon.
“We wanted something personalized,” says Captain Armstrong. “It’s given each station its own identity and point of pride.”
At Station 3, the center of the table showcases part of a ladder once used on one of their trucks. Station 3 is also the only station with an all cedar table. The wood came from Lt. Chandler Huber’s family farm.
“If we have a visitor come in the table is the first place we go,” says Lt. Huber. “The kitchen table is where we solve the world’s problems and find new ones.”
“The tables are the heart of the station,” says Chief Tharp. “It’s where we eat, talk, train, and mentor.”
The tables uplift the crew in what they do during a time when first responders are working harder than ever to keep our communities safe and healthy.
“The workload has picked up,” says Chief Tharp. “We are handling It.”
The department has partnered with Memorial Herman hospital in Katy. They set up a tent behind their hospital to help with getting patients into the ER.
The tables were all built during firefighter’s off time or during a slow shift. They look forward to being able to show them off to the community when they resume tours. Currently public tours are not allowed because of the COVID pandemic.
Harris County ESD 48 fire Department serves 45 square miles of Harris County communities. Even if they don’t serve your neighborhood, any local resident can request their free Home Safety Survey (either in-person or virtual.)
Learn more about their department and community outreach and risk reduction projects at their website.