La Feria News

A Visit with Fire Chief Hernandez

The Chief says:  “We’ve got the gear, if you want to volunteer!” Photos: Bill Keltner/LFN

The Chief says: “We’ve got the gear, if you want to volunteer!” Photos: Bill Keltner/LFN

“Expansions mean a safer La Feria”

Bill Keltner

Bill Keltner

An ambitious and much needed expansion of the firefighting capabilities of our Volunteer Fire Department is nearing completion and will make the citizens of La Feria, Bluetown and Santa Maria safer and more secure against the hazard and peril of a fire in their homes and businesses.

Fire Chief Greg Hernandez heads up the crew of dedicated, trained volunteers working for the department at this time. Chief Hernandez added, “The La Feria Volunteer Fire Department is manned by all volunteers. Right now, we have 40 brave men and women available, but we will be recruiting more until we have a staff of 65 firefighters and support people available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Chief Hernandez said “the mission of this volunteer fire department is to meet and exceed our community’s needs and expectations in the protection of life and property, making it our duty, with honor and courage.”

The project to expand the local fire department came into existence on July 26, 2011 when the administration of the city of La Feria, through the efforts of then City Manager Sunny Philip and others, accepted grant funds from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the expansion of the La Feria Fire Station and the new substation in Blue Town. That dream is now a reality.

The volunteer firefighters do much more than simply put out fire we learned. Chief Hernandez said they are also designated “first responders” when called to assist citizens in medical distress. Precisely for this, out of the La Feria station, they also operate two specially-equipped emergency vehicles with trained medical teams on call 24 hours-a- day to respond to medical emergencies.

Another personal benefit for the volunteer firefighters is the professional training they receive after being approved for the strenuous service. Their training begins with admission to Valley-wide academies and conferences. All the volunteers get annual up-grade training courses at Texas A & M College Station.. With that training, they are qualified to join any city fire department in the state and even make firefighting their career for life, if they so choose. They also get emergency medical training as part of their required skills–all this is provided in conjunction with South Texas Emergency Care.

La Feria Fire Department ready to roll when called.

La Feria Fire Department ready to roll when called.

The Fire Chief began his career with the department as a volunteer firefighter in 1999, and steadily advanced through the ranks to become the Fire Department Chief as of February 26, 2015. Greg has a demanding regular business, but immediately changes hats and dons the protective firefighting gear when the bells rings–and it rings often.

“The firefighting brotherhood is a close community,” he said, adding, “We regularly support and receive support from other nearby fire departments when the situation demands it. Our work encompasses Southwest Cameron County, including La Feria, Santa Maria, Bluetown and all in between”

Chief Hernandez said, “If you think you’ve got what it takes to become a volunteer firefighter, give me a call–let’s talk about it. The number is 956 797 2261, maybe we‘ll discover the firefighter in you.”

Chief Greg Hernandez at his command center.

Chief Greg Hernandez at his command center.

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