Houston City Council approves $4 million purchase of protective gear for first responders

Mayor Sylvester Turner said many municipalities enter bidding wars on the private marketplace to secure adequate protective gear for first responders. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Mayor Sylvester Turner said many municipalities enter bidding wars on the private marketplace to secure adequate protective gear for first responders. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Mayor Sylvester Turner said many municipalities enter bidding wars on the private marketplace to secure adequate protective gear for first responders. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

About $4 million worth of personal protective gear are headed toward Houston Police and Fire.

The purchase, authorized by Houston City Council on April 22, will help protect Houston’s first responders, many of whom have been required to quarantine themselvesdue to exposure to the coronavirus.

With such gear in short supply across the country, the city of Houston and other municipalities now seek them from private producers in addition to those provided through the state and federal government, Mayor Sylvester Turner told reporters at a March press conference. At that point, the city had just lost out on a bid for N95 face masks, priced at $4 each when prior to the coronavirus pandemic, they cost less than $1 each, he said.

“It becomes a bidding war on the private marketplace,” he told reporters March 26.

Turner said April 3 that for a city of Houston’s size, a supply of a million N95 masks would be a sufficient stockpile. As an example, he said, the fire department uses up to 10,000 pieces of protective equipment per day responding to calls.


Shortly after, the city hosted a supply drive April 9 for first responders, asking residents to donate any extra protective gear they may for use in certain businesses or hobbies.

“As I look at these purchases, the price seems to be a bouncing ball," Council Member David Robinson said of the varying prices between suppliers.

Robinson, along with the rest of City Council, voted in favor of the purchases.
By Emma Whalen
Emma is Community Impact Newspaper's Houston City Hall reporter. Previously, she covered public health, education and features for several Austin-area publications. A Boston native, she is a former student athlete and alumna of The University of Texas at Austin.


MOST RECENT

Dozens of clinics throughout the county offer COVID-19 testing services. (William C. Wadsack/Community Impact Newspaper)
COVID-19 testing locations remain open in Montgomery County and more local news

Read the latest Houston-area business and community news.

Several local markets offer ways to support small businesses and artisans this holiday season. (Courtesy Pexels)
Check out these Small Business Saturday and holiday markets in Houston

Here are a few ways to support local businesses as the holiday shopping season kicks off.

Heading into Thanksgiving, Texas Medical Center continues to report uptick in hospitalizations

The total number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized at Texas Medical Center facilities has increased by more than 50% over two weeks.

The Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce Foundation's food drive this year will support the Montrose Center, filling boxes of food for LGBTQ seniors. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Greater Houston LGBT Chamber hosts holiday food drive

The food drive will accept donations in person Dec. 4 as well as online.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced a COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan for the state Nov. 23 for a vaccine he said could be available as soon as December. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announces COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan

The vaccine could start being distributed "as early as next month," according to a Nov. 23 news release.

"Remember, we don't want to invite COVID-19 to the dinner table," Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said at a Nov. 23 press conference urging caution amid rising COVID-19 positivity rates. (Screenshot via ABC13)
Mayor Sylvester Turner urges caution heading into Thanksgiving holiday

Houston officials also said 333 health providers had been identified as future vaccine delivery sites.

Good Dog Houston
Good Dog serves its last hot dog at Montrose location

Guests who can show proof of Montrose residency can get a discount at the Heights location through the end of 2020.

protestor in crowd with who police the police sign
New report: Houston police oversight board lagging behind major Texas cities

The report suggested having no oversight board has a better effect on public trust than having a dysfunctional board.

Nell Stewart
East Montrose neighborhood plans parade for 100-year-old resident Nell Stewart

"Well, we treasure her, so wanted to do something," said resident Julie Young.

Laura Colangelo
Q&A: Laura Colangelo discusses challenges facing private schools during pandemic

Colangelo said private schools have adapted to remote learning and other obstacles in 2020 despite less revenue and a 9% decline in enrollment statewide.

Shake Shack opened its new standalone location at The Woodlands Mall in November. (Courtesy Christine Han)
Shake Shack opens in The Woodlands Mall and more Houston-area updates

Read the latest business and community news from the Greater Houston area.