Wednesday, March 31, 2010

AFD Members Win Coveted 100 Club of Central Texas Award

Congratulations to the following individuals, who will be honored by the 100 Club of Central Texas with an "Honorary Team" award.
  • Captain Craig Walker (L03/C)
  • Lieutenant David Belknap (Comm)
  • Fire Specialist Rob Richey (E34/B)
  • Firefighter Brad Webb (E03/C)
These individuals are being recognized for their heroic off-duty rescue of an injured man in the Rio Grande Lower Canyons. The awards will be presented at the 100 Club's annual banquet on April 9 at the Texas Disposal Systems' Exotic Game Ranch.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Citywide Ethics Survey

From City Manager Marc Ott:

Please take a few minutes to complete the City's first ethics survey by clicking on the link below. While the survey will take about 10 minutes of your time, it will give us valuable information in understanding the ethical climate of our organization.

Kiosks have been set up at the locations listed below with a direct link to the survey for any employee without computer access.
  • One Texas Center, first floor (old Velocity Credit Union area)
  • Dougherty Arts Center
  • Gus Garcia Recreation Center
  • Pan Am Recreation Center
  • South Austin Recreation Center
If you have any questions about the survey or kiosks, please contact the Integrity Office at 974-2201.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Station 45 Construction Update: Photo #2

Thanks to Greg Hager, who supplied the photo taken yesterday of Station 45. Much progress despite the rain! Amazing how much can change in just a few weeks.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Station 45 Construction

Here's a great photo of the Station 45 construction site, taken March 1 by Fire Specialist Harold Mican (E15/A). Looks like things are moving right along. Thanks Harold!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Houston Fire Department Rumors

Several people, from both inside and outside the department, have inquired as to whether or not rumors that are circulating are true about Chief Kerr applying for the Houston FD Chief's job.

To directly quote what she told a news reporter when she was asked about this a couple of weeks ago:

"Not just no, but HELL NO!"

Enough said.

Kudos from Dr. Paul Hinchey, Medical Director

From Dr. Paul Hinchey, Medical Director for Austin/Travis County EMS:

"Chief Kerr: Last night (3/22) the Austin Fire Department’s Engine 1 and 2 were called to Brackenridge to assist with a morbidly obese patient that had been transported by an EMS agency from another county. The EMS crew had limited manpower and the Emergency Department Staff were unable to assist due to the acuity of the patients in the ED at the time. Despite the somewhat unorthodox request for assistance the firefighters were professional, kind and compassionate, making every effort to maintain the dignity of the patient while moving and caring for them. The firefighters’ actions last night exemplify a culture of service to others that reflects well upon the fire fighting profession, Austin Fire Department, and our city. I do not have the names of the individuals involved but ask that you please convey my thanks to the firefighters and their command for their efforts on behalf of the patient and the EMS crew."

Way to go, A shifters!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Look Who Shaved His Head!

Way to go, Chief Evans! Shaving his head at the St. Baldrick's event this past weekend in support of children with cancer, Chief Evans said, "It didn't hurt...and it was really fun!" Special thanks to all of the members of AFD who participated in this great event! This is just one of the many ways AFD can show its commitment to the community.

Would you dare to go bare next year???

Friday, March 19, 2010

Don't Forget: St. Baldrick's Head Shaving Event Tomorrow!

Join members of AFD as they get their heads shaved tomorrow at Dell Children's Hospital to support children's cancer research. You can find all the details here:

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Annual Guns vs. Hoses Basketball Game

It's that time again! The annual Guns vs. Hoses exhibition game will be held Saturday, March 27 at 4:30 p.m. at the Austin Convention Center. The game traditionally kicks off the start of the Austin Toros regular season. Additionally, Chief Kerr will be sitting on the bench as an honorary bench coach. Fire Specialist Bobby Johns will coach the "Hoses" team. Hopes are high that AFD will "smoke" APD's team again this year, as has been done in years past.

Firefighter Ed Bridges will also be honored during the game with a moment of silence.

To RSVP for the event, click here:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

New Appointments

Chief Kerr issued the following announcement yesterday:

"I am pleased to announce the following appointments to the AFD Executive Team:
  • Assistant Chief appointment: Ken Crooks, effective immediately
  • Shift Commander/C Shift appointment: David Bailey, effective immediately
"Note that Chief Crooks’ appointment to Assistant Chief creates a second vacancy in the Division Chief rank. I am currently accepting letters of intent and will make appointments for both Division Chief vacancies from submissions received by the Friday, March 19 deadline.

"Additionally, Captain Joe Limon will serve as the Acting Fire Marshal and Acting Battalion Chief over Prevention, effective immediately.

"Please join me in congratulating all of these fine gentlemen on their appointments."

Way to go!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Letter to the Editor

The following Letter to the Editor appeared in the Statesman yesterday (Monday, March 15) and it is definitely "worth sharing."

Heartfelt thanks

I am a "someone else," as in: Fires happen to someone else. I was a resident at the Anderson Oaks apartments and lived on the second floor of the building that burned.

It was an experience I never thought I would really go through. When we hear sirens or see people wrapped in blankets watching their home burn, we might wonder how we will react, but that's about it.

I guess I thought the firefighters got everyone out, poured some water on the fire, and went back to their station. I didn't know anything.

We all take for granted the bravery of these remarkable people. What you don't know is how efficient, kind and gentle they are when dealing with very traumatized people. They gave us updates and tried to get important items from apartments that were still partially burning.

In my case, they also rescued one cat and were able to confirm that the other had perished so that I did not have the additional worry that she had gotten out and was wandering lost.

Hopefully, you will never become a "someone else." However, here are a few things I learned:

  • Have important phone numbers written down and in your wallet. Since I began using a cell phone, I no longer have any numbers memorized since I don't dial them. I had to call Fort Worth to get the number of my closest friends, who only lived a mile away.
  • Fire safes work, but everything in them gets wet.
  • I know times are tough, but get renter's insurance. It has taken a big worry off my shoulders.
To the police officer who came through the awful smoke to lead me out, my heartfelt thanks. To the other residents who banged on doors, raised the alarm and woke me up, my heartfelt thanks. To the Red Cross which was there so quickly and immediately got me started on rebuilding, I send my heartfelt thanks. To the firefighters who do this kind of thing every day, I give my admiration and heartfelt thanks.

Jo Williams

Monday, March 15, 2010

New Location for San Jacinto Night!

Due to unforseen circumstances, the location of San Jacinto Night has moved to The Waterford House, 2008 Brandt Road. If you haven't gotten your tickets yet, you'd better hurry; they are selling fast!

For more information on San Jacinto Night and details on how to get your tickets, click here:

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Preschool Visit by Station 27/C Shift

The crew from Station 27/C shift made an appearance at The Children's Courtyard today, a preschool located in southwest Austin. The school was having a "public service" day, where all the kids got to dress up like police officers and firefighters. Captain Dan Elliott and his crew (Meg Pace, Austin Montanio, and Albert Cardenas) did an OUTSTANDING job of giving an "age appropriate" presentation to the kids. The Chief was also on hand to give out tattoos to the kids after they got a tour of the apparatus. A few photos below for your enjoyment! Thanks to the Station 27/C shift crew for taking the time to educate some of Austin's littlest citizens.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Kudos from Citizen to Austin First Responders

"Today is my first day back at work following an almost month long convalescence for injuries sustained in an automobile accident February 12, and I wanted one of my first acts (after clearing out over 650 emails) to be an email to each of you, commending your staff on the compassionate, professional and sympathetic care my partner and I received following the accident.

"The accident occurred at the intersection of Dee Collins Gabriel Road and McKinney Falls Parkway at 9:30am. My partner and I were the third car to enter the intersection when another vehicle ran the red light and impacted our vehicle at speeds estimated at over 45mph.

"My first memory is of a kind hearted EMS officer named Jeremy explaining very patiently why they had to cut my favorite jacket and shirt off before loading me into an ambulance for transport. He explained everything that was happening and what I could expect once we reached Brackenridge. His tone and demeanor were very comforting to me during the ride to the hospital. Much later in the day, after he transported another person to the trauma center, he took the time to stop by my room and check on me. I wish I knew his last name to thank him personally because he certainly went above and beyond.

"The APD officer who investigated the accident and spoke with me at the hospital was Officer J Marmolejo 5163, and I was very appreciative of the patience and courtesy he displayed. Obviously, I had numerous questions and if he didn’t have the answer, he would excuse himself and return quickly with what I needed. I was on a morphine drip by this time so it couldn’t have been easy for him.

"My recollection of AFD is a bit hazy because I was classified a “smash and grab” patient, but my partner has gone on and on as to the wonderful care she received. I know one gentleman spent a great deal of time rummaging through our vehicle to find Denice’s glasses and other personal effects as they tended to her. She was most impressed by how calm and reassuring they were. She is tough woman to impress but, Chief Kerr, your staff impressed her very much.

"You can’t know what these simple acts of kindness mean to someone who has experienced a traumatic event. As a citizen of Austin it makes me feel better knowing they are on the job and it makes me very proud they are colleagues of mine at the City of Austin.

"As I said, we only have the name of the officer, but if you are able, please send our most sincere thanks for all they did and all they do.

"The ambulances that transported us that day were Medic # 12 and medic #2 if that helps."

Warmest Regards,

Mary Priddy
Denice Bain

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Two-Alarm Apartment Fire This Morning

Just posted on

An early morning, two-alarm fire destroyed a North Austin apartment building and displaced 30 people, according to an Austin Fire Department spokesman.

The fire at the Anderson Oaks Apartments at 9219 Anderson Mill Road broke out at 2:15 this morning, and 60 firefighters were called to the scene to try to control the blaze, Battalion Chief Palmer Buck said.

Buck said nearby lanes of Anderson Mill Road and Pond Springs were shut down because of the fire and reopened by 6:30 a.m. Part of the apartment building collapsed, he added.

Firefighters gained control of the fire just before 4 a.m., but some smoldering spots remain to be fully extinguished, he said.

In all, 20 fire trucks were called to the scene, Buck said.

No injuries were reported, and while some individuals were evaluated for smoke inhalation, no one was transported to the hospital, Buck said.

The damage of the fire was at least “upwards” of $500,000, Buck said, but it will take time to assess the full damage of the fire.

No nearby buildings were affected, including nearby Deer Park Middle School and Live Oak Elementary, he said. Both schools are operating as normal today, Round Rock school officials said.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

New AFD Patch Rollout

The new patches are here and are ready for distribution to all AFD personnel. Each Battalion Chief has been given a supply of new uniform patches.
  • Each AFD member can request up to four new uniform patches from his or her BC.
  • AFD members are encouraged to replace the old uniform patch with the new patch on their existing uniform shirts.
  • OPTIONAL: AFD members may choose to have the patches switched out on their uniform shirts by a professional tailor or seamstress at the member’s own expense. Two local vendors have agreed to replace patches on uniform shirts at a set price.
    • GT Distributors - $2.00 per shirt, Address: 2545 Brockton Drive, Austin 78758, 451-8298
    • Miller Uniforms - $5.00 per shirt, Address: 650 Canion Street, Austin 78752, 302-5541
"New" uniform shirts that are issued from HQ will have the new patches from this point forward. However, patch replacement to already issued uniform items will not be done by Materials Management.

AFD Assists Heart Attack Victim on Congress Ave. Bridge

As he was on his way to City Hall last Thursday morning for a remembrance ceremony to mark one week since the plane crash at the Echelon I building, Lt. Randy Denzer happened upon a good samaritan giving CPR to a man who had had a heart attack. That man was released from the hospital yesterday--you can see the story here:

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

St. Patrick's Day and St. Baldrick's Events Hosted by ESPADA

Check out the flyers below for information on St. Patrick's Day and St. Baldrick's events hosted by the Emergency Services Pipes and Drums Association. These are always a lot of fun, so join in!

St. Patrick's Day:

St. Baldrick's :

Monday, March 1, 2010

Get Your Tickets to San Jacinto Night Before They're Gone!


What was the San Jacinto Celebration?
  • It began as a celebration of the last battle for Texas’ Independence from Mexico April 21, 1836.
  • It quickly became a Firefighter appreciation day (Austin had a lot of veterans from the battle and they just happened to be firefighters in Austin).
What year did it start?: 1869

How long did it last?: From 1869 to the early 1920s

What did the Celebration include?: The fire department’s yearly promotions, awards, parades, picnicking, competitions, and Firefighter Ball.

Why did the San Jacinto Celebration come to an end?: In 1916 the Austin Fire Department transitioned from an all volunteer department to an all paid department. The membership went from more than 200 to 27 over night. The celebration slowly faded away as the volunteers aged and AFD lost its tradition.

Do we still have stuff from old San Jacinto celebrations?: Absolutely! A lot of the artifacts in the Fire Museum today are remnants of San Jacinto celebrations from years past.
How and when did San Jacinto Night start?
  • San Jacinto Night was conceived in 2007 and the first Celebration was in 2008.
  • It was the brain child of members of the Emergency Pipe and Drum Assoc. who had taken the idea of a San Jacinto Celebration from informal history lessons given by those in the Museum.
  • In fact, the Museum opened its doors on April 21, (San Jacinto Day) 2005.
  • This year will be our THIRD annual San Jacinto night celebration. 
Who benefits from San Jacinto Night?
  • All proceeds from admissions benefit the Austin Fire Museum and help to offset the cost of the annual celebration which we hope to make bigger and better each year.
  • Proceeds from raffle sales and the silent auction benefit ESPADA, the Emergency Service Pipes and Drums Association, which is a service band comprised of Fire, Police, and EMS from Austin and surrounding areas. ESPADA is dedicated to honoring Emergency Service personnel and although it was originally created to honor fireffighters, police, and paramedics that died in the line of duty, it has since expanded to be a part of the vibrant music culture of Austin and the Central Texas area. ESPADA performs in parades, festivals and community events.

To purchase tickets or learn more about the event please visit;

Event and Raffle Tickets also available at the following:
  • AFD HQ, see Mandy Ray
  • Union Store, see Kelli Tucker
  • Lyzz Donelson – Ed Services (c 619-8869)
  • Andre de la Reza –Engine 17C (c 695-2850)
  • Josh Miller – Engine 6C (c 922-9878)
  • Coitt Kessler – Ladder 18C (c 653-6458)
  • Michelle Caldwell – (512)694-2989

For more information about the Austin Fire Museum or ESPADA, please check us out on the web at: or at