Sunday, December 26, 2010


The blog will be on vacation this week due to the Christmas and New Year's holidays. We'll return next week after the first. Have a safe and prosperous New Year!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Thanks AFD!

"Austin Fire Department,

"Once again, Operation Blue Santa was a huge success this year. I would like to mention some of the things that AFD was a part of and (at the risk of leaving someone out) list some of the folks who volunteered to make things work:
  • Thanks to the Executive Team members, AFD Honor Guard, ESPADA, Public Education, Quint 1-A, Engine 13-A and other AFD personnel that participated in the Chuy’s Parade on 11/27;
  • Thanks to the Executive Team members that went to the KVET breakfast on 12/3;
  • Thanks to Hilary Higdon for helping me on 12/6 to select the deliveries that our units would complete;
  • Thanks to the Executive Team members that went to the warehouse to sort and wrap presents on 12/10;
  • Thanks to Hilary (again), Tim LaFuente, Aaron Brooks, and Bruce Odems for delivering the toy packages to the staging stations on 12/15;
  • Thanks to Rob Vires and Mandy Ray for helping me deliver the turkeys and chickens to the staging stations on 12/18 (starting at 0530 hours!);
  • Thanks to the Executive Team and the crews of Engine 9-A and Quint 27-A for helping at the warehouse on the 18th. The help handing out turkeys and chickens was great. I think we also got some great publicity just by being out there handing out coffee, hot chocolate, and doughnuts.
"Also, thanks to the following A-Shift companies that took the time to deliver five or more packages to families (we completed over 200 deliveries):

Quint 17

Engine 17

Engine 11

Engine 6

Rescue 20

Engine 20

Engine 37

Ladder 36

Engine 36

Quint 35

Engine 24

Engine 22

Engine 66

Ladder 15

Engine 15

Engine 5

Engine 42

Quint 1

Engine 1

Engine 13

Engine 7

Rescue 14

Engine 14

Quint 18

Engine 18

Quint 40

Engine 40

Engine 26

Engine 41

Rescue 28

Engine 28

Ladder 8

Engine 8

Engine 16

Engine 23

Engine 30

Quint 38

Engine 25

Engine 21

Quint 27

"If any of the folks listed above work for you, please take a moment and thank them for helping provide Christmas for 14,000 children in Austin this year. Please also let me know if I have accidentally left anyone out (I want everyone to get their props!)."

Ken Crooks
Assistant Chief
Austin Fire Department

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Chief Kerr Takes the Stage as "Mother Ginger"

Chief Kerr made her stage debut this past Saturday as "Mother Ginger" during one of Ballet Austin's performances of The Nutcracker. If you didn't get to see her live and in person, here's a few photos.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Annual Senior Holiday Lunch a Rousing Success!

Once again, Tim LaFuente and Eli Santiago, along with a whole host of volunteers, pulled off an amazing holiday lunch for the seniors at the Conley-Guerrero Activity Center in east Austin last week. More than 525 plates of food were handed out! Here's a few photos so you can see what you missed.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Employment Process Update

The application deadline for the 2011 Employment Process was Sunday, December 12, 2010. We received 5,108 applications for Fire Cadet (traditional) and 485 applications for Fire Cadet Senior (lateral). During the next few weeks, we will be reviewing applications to ensure they meet the criteria for a "proper application." We will be updating the employment process website with timely information as we move through the process: This will include FAQs, CPAT tools, study guide, test day fact sheet, etc.

The written exams will be held on January 11 for Fire Cadet Senior and January 26 for Fire Cadet. For questions not answered on the website, applicants should submit their detailed question(s) to Due to the volume of applicants, please do not call the employment staff directly.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Wildlife Habitat Projects at Fire HQ and Station 20

After months of planning and fundraising, employees of Fire and the other City departments at 4201 Ed Bluestein held three workdays recently, and have almost completed a wildlife habitat garden in the courtyard adjacent to the employee entrance. Nine trees were planted (made possible with a grant from Austin Energy’s Urban Heat Island Mitigation project) and many smaller plants. Still to come are a water feature, benches, and a mosaic.

Also, Firefighters at Station 20 participated in a very successful habitat project at their station. Congratulations to FF Steve Hope (E20/B) and the habitat steward volunteers who helped make it happen. Follow the link for more.

Check out the photos from one of the HQ workdays below.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Kudos to BC Bob Nicks

"Dear Chief Kerr:

"It is with great pleasure that I'm sending this to recognize one of the many dedicated City of Austin Firefighters.

"On the morning of November 5, our facility started our heaters due to cold weather. Once the heater systems engaged, 3 of them went into alarm mode which I might add, and as you are probably aware, is a very high ear-piercing alarm. Coincidentally, Battalion Chief Robert Nicks was receiving treatment in our facility and offered to help me resolve the alarms. He was very thorough having found each of the heating systems we have in our facility and resolving those systems w/an activated alarm indicator. After having completed his treatment, he asked to review the systems one more time before he departed to ensure that we we wouldn't have any more problems.

"Battalion Chief Nicks acted professionally providing me direction/instruction on the heating systems. What he did may not seem significant in the grand scheme of firefighting, but as the new administrator of the group without foreknowledge of the above systems, I can tell you without prejudice that his assistance was greatly appreciated by me, our staff and the other patients in the facility.

"Please convey our thanks and gratitude to Battalion Chief Nicks for his actions."

Mark Young
Southwest Orthopaedic Group

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

After-Incident Community Engagement

Not only do our folks do a great job during an emergency, they do terrific follow-up after the fact! You might recall the fire on Astor Place last week that sent an 88-year-old woman to BAMC. The following shift, Battalion 5 (under the leadership of BC Doug Kusey) went door-to-door in the affected neighborhood for approximately four hours. They installed 51 smoke alarms and replaced 45 batteries. Additionally, personnel delivered fire safety messages and left door hangers for those residents not at home. Kudos to BC Kusey and the personnel from Engines 5, 7, 15, and Ladder 15 for their initiative and efforts to further the "Do Your Part--Zero Fire Deaths" message!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Turnout for a Cause

The Waco Professional Firefighters' Association is challenging firefighting crews from across the state to take part in the "Turnout for a Cause" race. It's a 26.2 marathon broken into four unique segments, each designed to suit a variety of strengths within your company. Official attire includes structural PPE ensemble (liners optional) or bunker gear.

The race is Sunday, January 30, 2011 at Indian Springs Park in Waco. For more information, call (254) 405-2518 or visit

Friday, December 3, 2010

Chuy's "Children Giving to Children" Parade Photos

Check out some of the photos from the Chuy's "Children Giving to Children" parade last weekend. A great time was had by all!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Kudos to Jill Craig

"Good Morning Dr. Parrish and Chief Dodds,

"I am writing to commend one of your truly exceptional employees, Ms. Jill Craig at the Austin Fire & EMS Wellness Center. Jill has provided outstanding physical fitness assistance to myself and several other National Guard Soldiers who are deployed to Afghanistan.

"Under normal circumstances, I am a Paramedic with the Austin-Travis EMS System and I have been called to active duty deployed to Afghanistan with the Texas Army National Guard. During our pre-deployment training Jill gave freely of her time in helping me develop and maintain a fitness program in preparation for this physically demanding mobilization.

"Even though I am now overseas, Jill has maintained contact via email and has answered fitness related questions for both myself and some of our Soldiers. She was especially helpful in answering questions about training at altitude, as our base is at 7100 feet in a rugged mountainous environment. Her inputs have helped us tailor our fitness program and answer the many questions about training at this altitude.

"It is reassuring to know that there are people such as Jill who go the extra distance to support our employees and Soldiers during a deployment. We are fortunate indeed to have her on the team at the Wellness Center and I very much want you to be aware of this exceptionally dedicated and gifted employee.

"Please give her my best regards, and if you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me."

Many thanks,
Anthony P. Flood
Executive Officer, Ghazni ADT