Friday, May 28, 2010

Remembering Memorial Day

As you make plans for your long three-day weekend, please take a moment to remember all those who have served our country so that we may enjoy the freedoms we have today. AFD currently has six members on military active duty, so please keep them and their families especially close in your hearts this Memorial Day.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"Our Body The Universe Within" Discount Tickets!

You've heard about it, now see it! "Our Body The Universe Within" is a chance for you to see the human anatomy like never before. Currently on display at The Stark Center, the exhibit is educational, scientific, and revealing. If you'd like to check it out, employees of the Austin Fire Department are eligible for a special discount--$5 off the regular full adult price ticket ($21), valid up to four tickets per purchase (children 4 -12 are only $11 and children under 4 are free). The discount is good for the entire month of June, and includes all uniform and civilian employees of AFD! Tickets must be purchased in person at the Stark Center box office, located at gate 16 of Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium and you must show your department ID at time of purchase to receive the discount.

For more details about the exhibit, visit

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Listening to the Workforce Survey

From the City Manager:

I am requesting your participation in the 2010 Listening to the Workforce (LTW) survey. This survey, sent annually to all regular City of Austin employees as part of ongoing research conducted since 1990, will help us better determine the challenges we face today as we strive to become the best managed city in the country. Your feedback is a crucial part of this process.

This survey presents an opportunity for you to express your opinions about many different aspects of work life in the City. The information you provide will be summarized along with the data of other City employees to give management a snapshot of employee opinion at this time. It will also be combined with the data of other employees in your department to provide your supervisor, manager(s), and director an idea of how employees in your department view these issues. Your answers to these questions will assist management at all levels to better address employee concerns and improve the City’s effectiveness.

Your responses will be completely anonymous. The online survey and materials included in your paper packet permit you to submit the questionnaire with total anonymity. Results will only be presented in summary form, and will be communicated to employees through the Intranet in the summer and fall of 2010.

If you have difficulty finding the time to complete the survey, please show this letter to your supervisor and arrange to complete the questionnaire during your work day. If you have any questions about the survey, contact Paul Lloyd (974-3263) of the Human Resources Department. Please return your answer sheet by June 10, 2010.

Thank you for helping us to make Austin the best managed city in the country.

Survey Link:

Monday, May 24, 2010

Chlorine Leak Photos

As you might have heard, we had a chlorine leak last week. Special thanks to BC Randell Nations, who took the following pictures from the incident and was kind enough to share them!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Engine 24/C Shift Recognized

Earlier this week, AISD held their annual "Partners in Education" event, recognizing outstanding teachers and volunteers throughout the district. Engine 24/C was recognized as the “Volunteer Group of the Year” for Widen Elementary. As you may remember, Widen Elementary put out a request for help early in the school year, and Lt. Jose Cortina and his crew met the challenge. Unfortunately, there was not time at the event Wednesday night for all of the awardees to be individually recognized, but they were listed in the program. Please congratulate them for the recognition and, more importantly, for their good work.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Letter to the Department

Fire Specialist Nik Schappe sent us the letter below and asked us to share it with the entire department. Please continue to wish him well on his recovery and keep him in your thoughts.

April 28, 2010

Austin Fire Department

To my brothers and sisters,

I would like to express my most sincere appreciation to my second family during my recent kidney transplant. Your cards and visits were a blessing. This is my first day back at work and I am extremely pleased to be back. As some of you may know, I had a toxic reaction to the anti-rejection medication while in the hospital which necessitated an extended stay and recovery. The actual transplant went very well and the kidney has functioned perfectly the entire time. The doctors are still tweaking the medications and will most likely be doing so for several more months. I would like to personally thank those who were able to donate time to my catastrophic leave donations. It is truly amazing the length and breadth Firefighters will go to help a brother or sister in need. I look forward to listening to, talking to, and seeing you in the near future. In the meantime…just listen to the soothing sound of my voice.

Thank you,

Nik Schappe
Fire Specialist
Dispatch B Shift

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Station 45 Construction Update: Photo #3

The latest photo of construction of Station 45 (taken May 13, 2010):

Friday, May 14, 2010

Kudos to Arson Investigators

Jim Fiero, Fire Chief of the Horseshoe Bay Fire Department, wrote the following letter recognizing Lt. Brooks Frederick, Lt. Dan Fiero, and Pearl for their outstanding work. Full text of the letter noted below. Way to go!

"This letter is to express my sincere gratitude to Lieutenants Brooks Frederick and Daniel Fiero for their help on a fire investigation here in Horseshoe Bay. ATF Senior Special Agent Jose Viegra requested Brooks, Danny, and of course, Pearl assist our local investigators in working this incident. The skills, expertise, and leadership of these officers were invaluable to the investigation and to the personnel in my department. Our community does not suffer a significant number of major fires, thus our investigators have limited experience in working substantial incidents. This fact, combined with several other complicating factors surrounding this fire made their support even more important. It's been several years since I've had the opportunity to work with Brooks, and his actions remind me again of how much I truly appreciate his professionalism.

"Brooks and Danny not only provided guidance to our investigators in a thorough scene investigation, but via their instructional manner, elevated the skills and knowledge of all the firefighters working this incident. Thank you for allowing them to provide us this support, and please convey my thanks and gratitude to them."

Thursday, May 13, 2010

AFD Wins Department of Defense Patriot Award

The Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve Patriot Award was presented to the Austin Fire Department on May 11, 2010 in recognition of the department’s outstanding support to Firefighter Stephen Cote (E29/A) during his service on active duty as a Chief Petty Officer (CPO) with the U.S. Navy Reserve. Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr accepted the award on behalf of the department and its employees. The AFD staff was most cooperative with CPO Cote in assisting him in preparing for deployment, reviewing the city’s benefit plans and options available to employees during periods of active military duty, and his supervisors rearranged work schedules enabling him to have time off to attend to personal matters prior to deployment. Additionally, CPO Cote’s supervisors and co-workers have been maintaining contact with him through e-mails, sharing information on events at home and at his overseas duty station.

In accepting the award, Chief Kerr reiterated the Austin Fire Department’s commitment to taking care of its employees serving our nation abroad and looking forward to their safe return.

The ESGR Patriot Award is one of the Department of Defense awards presented to employers in recognition of their sacrifices and support to employees serving in the National Guard and Reserves.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Welcome Two New Employees!

Please welcome Maribel Canizales-Selsky and Phillip Lybrand, our two newest employees.

Maribel is joining AFD in our Human Resources office at HQ, effective May 3, 2010. She is transferring from HRD Corporate offices where she has been working in Compensation since 2004. Prior to coming to the City, she worked for the State of Texas in various Human Resources roles. Maribel has a diverse background in HR and will be an excellent resource to our department in her new role.

Phillip is our new Video Production Specialist Senior, replacing Carey King, also effective May 3. Phillip has a wealth of video production experience; his most recent stint was in Phoenix. You can see some of his fantastic work at Eventually, Phillip will move to the new joint training facility at Shaw Lane but for now, he's housed at our location on Nash Hernandez.

Please be sure to welcome Maribel and Phillip to our great team at AFD!