Memorial Day 2015 flood report: Failures to communicate and lack of training

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HOUSTON, TX - Brays Bayou may look calm and unassuming now, but the remnants of the Memorial Day 2015 flooding can still be seen and heard every day in the surrounding community. There, people are still rebuilding their homes from water damage. But no damage is felt as hard as the loss of life experienced by three residents described in a Houston Fire Department report released Monday.

The report outlines the failed attempt of Rescue Boat 42 - responding to one of over 2000 calls for assistance that night.

The message for boats to not cross the bayou wasn't effectively communicated to the two HFD rescuers on board boat 42, and while attempting to rescue four citizens on board, the boat capsized and three people drowned.

The internal report finds that while firefighters placed themselves in jeopardy to save lives, communication and training failures were present.

HFD can't comment directly due to possible legal action, but the report does include improvements taken since Memorial Day.

Steps include developing a training program to use high water rescue vehicles that HPD acquired from a Department of Defense excess equipment program.

Another is identifying the costs of “Swift Water Rescue Technician' classes, while still encouraging more firefighters to take the boater safety course required to operate the HFD rescue boats.

It's clear from this report that improvements are on the way for the Houston Fire Department.

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