Deputy Chief Francis “Sandy” Sullivan, left, and Deputy Chief Ray Hansen of the training division tell people about the PODS program.
PINELLAS PARK – PODS with the assistance of the fire department here has launched a new program of donating storage units to the victims of home fire damage.
PODS, which stands for Portables On Demand Storage, will give any family a unit at no charge for 30 days in the event of a fire that leaves a home unlivable.
The company was launched eight years ago by two Largo firefighters and has since grown into a nationwide entity.
Retired Firefighter Peter Warhurst is president and CEO while former Deputy Chief Chris Lambert is a vice president.
Deputy Chief Francis “Sandy” Sullivan said the PODS project is aimed at helping citizens in need.
“It is their way to give back to the community,” Sullivan said.
PODS not only donates plain storage units, but provides specialized ones to law enforcement and firefighters. There are command units for use at emergency scenes, so-called Ice Pods that are filled with water and ice and others.
The program has been in operation about two months. So far there has been no need for the donated units.
“I hope we never have to use it because that means someone is a fire victim,” Sullivan said.
The request must come directly from the fire department. Residents themselves cannot ask for units.
“Any number of things can render a building unlivable,” Sullivan said. “The PODS would be parked in the driveway of the damaged home so residents can store valuables without having to worry about theft.”
Pinellas Park is the first city to use the program. St. Pete Beach will follow shortly. Eventually, it will be offered to all Pinellas County cities.
PODS has been involved in community activities since its inception. The company donated numerous units last year to Port Charlotte and other cities in that area that were devastated by last year’s hurricanes.