Monday, January 31, 2011

Public Safety Training Campus Grand Opening

After many years of hard work, the Public Safety Training Campus was officially unveiled during a grand opening ceremony this morning! Built on Shaw Lane, the new 40-acre campus includes training facilities for Austin Fire, Austin Police, and the Austin/Travis County Emergency Medical Services departments. Various parts of the campus include the new Roy Butler Training Building, a 50,000 square foot classroom facility for Police, Fire and EMS; a shooting range; a burn building; outdoor training areas; a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) obstacle course; a driving track; and an emergency vehicle operating course. Check out the photos below for a glimpse of this morning's festivities! Special thanks to FF Reggie Tait and FF Coitt Kessler, who organized appearances by the Public Safety Honor Guard and Emergency Service Pipes and Drums Association (ESPADA).

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fire Cadet Entrance Exam

From Chief Kerr:

"More than 3,300 people took the firefighter entrance exam on Wednesday. I was on scene for part of the day and I cannot tell you how impressed I was with how smoothly everything ran. On Thursday, I was walking downtown and a gentleman called out to me from his car, 'Great testing process yesterday, Chief!' The applicants were gracious and patient throughout the entire process. It took more than 200 folks to register and proctor the exam. Our Fire Department staff processed 3,300 folks in just over 2 /12 hours. The pictures below don’t do justice to the scale of this enormous effort."

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Locution Kudos

On January 14, the Austin Fire Department's Communication Division completed a four-year project of bringing locution to all county fire stations. Due to this automation of station alerting, we have streamlined the process by which county fire departments are notified of incidents and have reduced the overall alarm processing times. Special thanks go to Capt. William Brooks, Lt. David Belknap, Ret. FS Gary Wilks, FF Joe Maier, Capt. Calvin Poole and FS Jody Cook for their hard work and dedication to the project!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

River City Youth Christmas Program

"Hello Chief Crooks,

You were probably not aware of this, but we have Austin Fire Fighters volunteer every year at the River City Youth Christmas program. We have been doing this for approximately the last 6 or 7 years. This year it was held on Saturday December 11th. It is a youth program housed in the heart of Dove Springs. This year I think we helped hand out over 2,000 gifts and lunch bags to approximately the same number of children. Ask Chief Orta about the length of the lines. The fire fighters are usually in charge of the Logistics. This includes setting up the facility and sorting stations, and facilitating movement and flow of the lines. We also spend the day and night before the give-away collecting donated gifts from around the local businesses. This usually includes driving a couple of the Ed Services vans around town to accomplish this task. We also make a trip to a local Wal-Mart the night before and purchase literally hundreds of Games, Toys, and a few Bicycles with donated funds. The bikes are given away as Grand prizes during a free raffle.

"Fire Chief Kerr and Assistant Chief Orta were there this year. They can tell you more. Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Martinez was also present and did the Bike raffle. The AFD FF’s involved this year were Captain Frank Alvarez, Lt. Eddie Ruiz, FS Randy Moreno, FF Eli Santiago, FF Tim La Fuente, the crews of Engine 24C, Engine 24A, and myself. The Travis County ESD4 Fire Academy cadets also helped out.

"The photos are from last year’s celebration. This year’s have not been posted. Last year it was a cold, rainy, and damp day. Chief Orta was there last year as well."

Thank You Sir,

Captain Marc Saenz
Austin Bergstrom International Airport- ARFF- 2A

Friday, January 14, 2011

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. March

The 17th Annual Community March celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy while uplifting diversity and multi-culturalism in our city. The MLK Community March kicks off on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 9 a.m. with a short program at the MLK Statue on the University of Texas campus. The march will then continue to the historic Huston-Tillotson University. We would love to have you join us! Please wear your long-sleeve uniform shirt and tie…and bring your family, too!

Free parking for the MLK march and Festival is available in these areas.
  • State's Visitors Garage (Corner of 12th & San Jacinto St. - downtown Austin)
  • Disch-Falk Field (1300 E. MLK Blvd.)
  • Kealing Middle School (1607 Pennsylvania Ave.)
  • Holy Cross Catholic Church (1610 E. 11th)
  • Blackshear Elementary (1712 E. 11th)
  • Greater Mount Zion Baptist Church (1801 Pennsylvania Ave.)
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church (1206 E. 9th)
  • Mt. Olive Baptist Church (1800 E. 11th)
Important Note: The march will not pass by State Capitol ground. Capitol grounds will be closed on MLK Day due to preparations for the gubernatorial inauguration on the following day.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fire Cadet Senior Exam

Yesterday, the exam for Fire Cadet Senior was administered; 396 of the applicants in that category were eligible to sit for the exam. Three hundred forty-seven people showed up and were processed in less than 30 minutes! Kudos to all those who assisted in ensuring things ran smoothly.

Next up: the exam for Fire Cadet, January 26!

Monday, January 10, 2011

City of Austin Troops Care Packages Arrived!

You might recall that the City of Austin held a Troops Care Package Drive in November. Many of you donated money and/or goods to ship overseas to our men and women in uniform. Items were collected to provide support and comfort to local units of deployed U.S. military service members serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Well, the packages arrived! Check out the photos below and give yourselves a pat on the back--you put some smiles on faces halfway around the world!

Friday, January 7, 2011

USFA: 2010 Record Low for On-Duty Firefighter Deaths

By Susan Nicol, News

Last year was record-setting -- the fewest on-duty deaths of firefighters since the USFA started compiling statistics in 1977. There were 85 on-duty deaths in 2010, according to preliminary statistics. Of those, 15 are classified as Hometown Heroes.

In 2003, federal legislation was adopted that firefighters who died of heart attacks or strokes within 24 hours of a response or training receive that designation.

This is the second year in a row that on-duty deaths showed a decline. In 2009, the country experienced the lowest number in 15 years.

Of those who died in 2010, 55 were volunteers, 28 were career, one was a paid full-time wildland and one was a paid-on call.

Heart attacks continue to claim the most firefighters -- 56.4 percent -- while trauma was reported in 23.5 percent of the deaths. Other causes included stroke, burns, heat exhaustion, asphyxiation and crushing.

Two firefighters who died in 2010 had sustained the injury in previous years, records showed. Those two deaths will be added to those years' totals bring this years down from 87 to 85.

Twenty-five of those who died were 61 or older, while two were under 21.

The number of on-duty deaths may change in the coming months as officials check with people in each state to ensure that everyone has been counted.

March and July were the deadliest months -- 11 firefighter fatalities each, while there were four in February and August. On May 22, four firefighter deaths were recorded by the USFA.

Other statistics showed 20 occurred on the scene; 19 other on-duty activity; 16 responding; 16 after; 7 training; 4 on-scene non-fire and one returning.

You can read the full report here:

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Kudos for Engine 36, B Shift

"Chief Fowler:

"One of the EMS crews has brought to my attention the outstanding effort of E-36B on December 12th. The initial call was for a lift assist but according to the EMS crew the patient had multiple medical and social issues which complicated the situation. The astute E-36B crew, after assessing the patient and their living situation, recognized that the patient was in need of additional medical care. An EMS unit was requested and the patient was subsequently transported and admitted for severe dehydration and malnourishment. I would like to commend Engine 36B including Jason Alvarez, James Biddle, Adam DeLeon, and Holly Montgomery for their vigilance and excellent care. They are a credit to the profession and to the outstanding reputation of the Austin Fire Department."

Paul R. Hinchey MD MBA
Medical Director
Office of the Medical Director
Austin/Travis County EMS System

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

7th Annual Austin Firefighters' Ball

Come one and come all to the 7th Annual Firefighters' Ball! Make plans now and reserve the date for a night of fine dining and dancing with firefighters and friends. This occasion is open to the community and is a fund-raising event that benefits the Ed Bridges Scholarship Fund. The Austin African American Firefighters' Association is hosting this event.

This year’s keynote speaker is Ann Wolfe, an eight-time World Champion Boxer. She is the only boxer in history to hold titles in four different weight classes at the same time. Ann’s last fight was in 2006, where she won a six round unanimous decision over her opponent, which was hosted by ESPN2’s, "Friday Night Fights." Ms. Wolf has overcome homelessness, injury, and unemployment to become one of the top professional boxers in the United States. She is a mentor and motivational speaker who uses the words, “When you’re serious” as her mantra.

Tickets for the Firefighters' Ball can be purchased by contacting Fire Specialist Bobby Johns, or Firefighters Chester Williams or Preston Curtis. DJ Mr. DIG will provide the entertainment from 9 p.m  to 1 a.m. Further informational details are as follows:

When: Saturday, January 22, 2011
Time: 6 p.m. - 1 a.m. (Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with dinner served at 6:15 p.m.)
Cost: $30 per person
Where: Crowne Plaza Hotel, 6121 N. IH-35, Austin, TX.

Additional information concerning the ball can be found at or call (512) 857-6469. Thank you for your support!

Monday, January 3, 2011


"We had a small fire in our apartment at 115 Sandra Muraida Way APT 427 Austin, TX 78703 on Monday,December 20th around 10:30pm. The fire department responded quickly and did a wonderful job. We would like to express our gratitude for their efforts that night. Thank you very much!" --Ben Daniel and Laura Modesto

(Way to go to the following companies on the A shift who responded to this incident: Engine 4, Quint 1, Engine 13, Ladder 3, Quint 17, Engine 1, Engine 2, Rescue 20, and BCs Chris Watson and Jeff Pine.)