The International delivered hundreds of cases of water to fire stations throughout Jackson, Mississippi amid a water crisis that has left the city with little or no water flow, including its fire stations.
Massive flooding from late-summer storms has knocked the city’s main water treatment facility out of service, dramatically cutting water flow to residents, businesses, hospitals, and schools.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced the City of Jackson’s main water treatment facility began failing Monday, meaning not enough water could be delivered to fight fires, flush toilets, or meet basic needs. Heavy rains over several days caused record flooding of the Pearl River, impacting the treatment process at the facility. By mid-week there was not enough water pressure to serve the city of about 180,000.
As members of Jackson Local 87 continued responding to emergency calls – conducting numerous water rescues and assisting in distribution of water bottles to residents – the International stepped up to help.
On Tuesday, Aug. 30, 14th District Vice President Danny Todd called Jackson Local 87 to see how members were holding up following the flooding, and to ask if they needed assistance.
Local 87 President Rasean Thomas indicated that while no members were directly impacted by the flooding, there was little water flowing in Jackson fire stations, and toilets were not functioning. “I knew it might be a while before water flowed again, so I said the International would get some water to them as soon as possible,” said Todd.
A truckload of nearly 900 cases of water were delivered later that afternoon with the help of IAFF affiliates in nearby Louisiana for distribution to Jackson’s fire stations.
“When our affiliates are in a jam and need help, this union acts quickly,” said General President Edward Kelly. “That is what we do. And, as our brothers and sisters in Jackson continue to answer the call in the wake of historic flooding, the IAFF will answer the call and make sure they have the supplies and support they need to do their jobs in a healthy and safe way.”
The City of Jackson has been under a boil water notice since July. Following the recent flooding, residents have been reporting either no water flow, or trickles of brown water indicating untreated water moving through pipes that is unsafe to drink.
The flooding worsened a water situation that has plagued Jackson for years. Local officials have said it was only a matter of time before the water system failed, leaving residents without running water and forcing schools to revert to online learning and businesses to close.
“As our Local 87 members in Jackson continue to respond to this historic flooding, the IAFF is responding too,” said General Secretary-Treasurer Frank Líma. “Making sure these members have safe drinking water is just one way we have their backs as they do the hard work on the front lines answering their community’s call for help.”