Monday, February 28, 2011

CV1

"Chief Kerr:

"Just wanted to let you know we were able to get the new AFD decals on CV1. Thank you to Capt. Gerald Worry for helping to wash the vehicle, and to Lt. Lee Williams for installing the new decals. (I can try for some better pictures if you would like some, just wanted to let you see how it looks.)"

FS Jody Cook
Communications
Austin Fire Department



Friday, February 25, 2011

Message from FS Julie Huser

FS Julie Huser (Dispatch)/C shift) asked that the following be shared with the Department:

“Dear AFD family,

"How can I begin to express the gratitude I have toward everyone who so generously gave of their time when I requested catastrophic leave? Once again I have seen what an amazing group of people I have the honor of working with. After 2 hospitalizations, 2 surgeries and numerous medicine changes, my husband is finally doing some better. Unfortunately there is no cure for his condition but we are hoping the symptoms can be managed by his Dr. So my FF brothers and sisters, Thank You again for your kindness and generosity."

Thursday, February 24, 2011

AFD's Participation at NCRC

"All,

"I just wanted to take a minute and commend the Austin Fire Department on their commitment to supporting the Special Operations Training needs. This last week [February 7-11], the National Cave Rescue Commission (NCRC) held a Regional week long Cave Rescue Operations and Management Seminar in Bend, Texas at the Colorado Bend State Park. There were 16 students and 10 instructors who participated and made it a very successful event.

"Seven of the 16 students were from the Austin Fire Department with the rest being comprised of other rescue agency personnel and cavers from our region. Two of the instructors were AFD members and another was a retired AFD member.

"With well over 400 cave and karst features in the Travis/Willamson counties this is a large target hazard. As several of the last cave rescues have proven, we need to be prepared to respond and ensure we keep training and relations with the caving community on the forefront. NCRC training is an excellent way to do both. Again, thank you AFD for your support and commitment to the Special Operations Division.

"I have attached some action photos [see below] so you can see our Special Operations members in action!!"

Thanks,

FS DJ Walker (Quint 01/A)












Tuesday, February 22, 2011

MDA Apparatus Pull

This Saturday, February 26, MDA will be hosting the 2011 Muscle Challenge Fire Engine Pull at Barton Creek Square Mall. The purpose of this event is to raise funds to support the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Each Muscle Challenge team will pull a fire engine a set distance and be timed.

For those ready for this challenge we asked that your team be limited to 5-15 people. Each team is encouraged to raise $740, which equates to 10 minutes of research. Follow the link for more information on the Muscle Challenge Fire Engine Pull and then choose "Register Here" to sign up: http://walk.mda.org/mda-muscle-walk-austin

Prizes include:
  • Make a Muscle Trophy
  • $130 Gift Basket from Chick-Fil-A
  • Round of golf for 4 at Horseshoe Bay Resort

Thursday, February 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day/St. Baldrick's

Hard to believe, but it's almost that time again--St. Patrick's Day! And this year, there will be a parade (March 12) hosted by the Austin Fire Department and ESPADA to benefit St. Baldrick's! Please check out the information below for more details on how you can get involved.

"Your band, ESPADA, needs your help with our upcoming St. Patrick’s Day fundraiser. This year your band will be performing throughout March 17 while you - our family and friends - help raise money to keep us performing. As a non-profit, we have to work very hard for our uniforms, instruments, instruction, and travel.

"Our band is now made up of 29 performing members (Police, Fire, and EMS) that represent 11 different departments. We’re very proud of our service mission and are honored to represent you at funerals and civic events. By donating part of your day and volunteering at Fado you’re helping ESPADA continue its mission.

Fado – March 17: As a valued volunteer you get free access to the event, a plate of food, two beverages, this year's rockin’ Volunteer shirt, and the band’s immense thanks. The band will perform on the Fado stage for two, 30 minute performances at 4:15 pm and 6 pm. If you were involved in last year’s event, you know how much fun it was. If you weren't, this is a great year to get started! Come out and have a great St. Patrick’s Day while supporting your Emergency Service Pipes and Drums Association.

Please sign up ASAP at http://www.espadatx.org/

Our Favorite St. Patrick’s Day Charities:
http://www.espadatx.org/
http://www.stbaldricks.org/

March 12: ESPADA will also be performing in this year’s Central Texas St. Patrick’s Day Parade – benefiting St. Baldrick’s and performing throughout the day at the St. Baldrick’s fundraiser.

March 19: Dell Children’s St. Baldrick’s event

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ready, Set, Red!

YOU Can Make the Difference!
Downtown Austin will be transformed into a playground of obstacle courses and fun activities to benefit the American Red Cross of Central Texas. Team up and complete as many challenges as you can and race back to the finish line before time is up! Bring your employees, friends, family or group to Ready. Set. Red! Cross City Challenge, and help central Texans in need. Plus, it’s a team-building experience that’s one of a kind!

Five Reasons to Have a Ready. Set. Red! Cross City Challenge Team:
1. Chance to win a prize for the team who finishes with the most points or who raises the most money.
2. Winning team highlighted on American Red Cross of Central Texas Twitter and Facebook.
3. Perfect way to build team spirit.
4. An exciting way to get outdoors, get some exercise and see downtown Austin.
5. Teaming with the American Red Cross of Central Texas helps save lives.

Let your winning team make an impact on people’s lives. See you at the starting line!

Sign up today! Visit http://www.readysetred.com/  

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Kudos to Jeanna Kingsbury

"Dear Ms. Kingsbury:

"We are sincerely grateful for the tremendous help and guidance you have extended to us during our dealings with Workers' Compensation regarding Ramiro's recent back injury.

"You have always show great attention to detail and professionalism and we appreciate that. The Austin Fire Department can take pride in having someone with your expertise and diligence assisting their employees. Your willingness to take the lead and go the extra mile made the difference between a timely response from Workers' Compensation and a drawn out battle, which we were told we could expect. Your dedicated service has invaluable to us during this very trying time. You are a great asset to the Austin Fire Department. It is not very often we are able to compliment someone for a job well done, [but] in this case, it is well deserved.

"Again, thank you for all that you do and we wish you continued success in your endeavors and in your career."

Sincerely,

Ramiro Ramsey Zapata (FF, AFR/C Shift)
San Juanita Zapata

Monday, February 14, 2011

San Jacinto Night

It's that time of year!

Follow the link below to see our new web site where you will find the following:

  • Tickets for sale (Get them as soon as possible!)
  • The history of San Jacinto Night
  • Pictures of past events
  • Preview of Silent Auction items
  • Sponsors
  • Our vision for the future
  • Volunteers sign up
  • Award Recipients (AFD Awards)
http://sanjacintonight.org/

Special thanks to Lyzz Donelson for creating the awesome web site.

Josh Miller - President

Austin Fire Museum

http://austinfiremuseum.org/

Thursday, February 10, 2011

"Dressing Up" Station 1

Talk about dressing up your work place! Fire Station 1 is always finding ways to show pride in their station, despite it being overused, crowded, and just plain old. The art below is the latest example of such an enterprise. The alcove shown on this interior wall has been collecting old maps and clutter since the early 1970s, when station members took it upon themselves to install several large paintings. The latest rendition was created by local artist Aaron Darling, who is a friend of Station 1 member Greg Reddish. Fellow A-shifter Ty Baker took the lead to mount and frame the picture. Thanks to all who were involved; it looks great!


Monday, February 7, 2011

Letter to the Editor re: Ladder 19: 2/6/11

From the Austin American-Statesman, February 6, 2011.

A sip of the good life

Why do I live in Austin? It's Jan. 30, the Northeast is digging out from under a week of snow, and it is 77 degrees here in Austin.

The two little girls next door have set up a lemonade stand, and all the neighbors are stopping to buy. Then along comes a fire truck, and it stops. All four firefighters get out and buy lemonade. Thank you, Ladder Truck 19 for making Audrey and Veronica's day.

That's why I live in Austin.

Ernie Saulmon

Editor's Note: Members of this crew were: Capt. Rob Vires, FF Mark Gruell, FF Kacy Mustain (from 16's), and FF David Dickerson (from 5's).

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Waco's "Turnout for a Cause" Marathon Relay

An account from FF Dave Williams (E31/C):

Summary:
Lt. Josh Portie (ENG02C), Spec. Lawrence Clowry (ENG08C) and FF Dave Williams (ENG31C) were joined by a member of the Jollyville Fire Department to compete in the first annual “Turnout for a Cause” firefighter marathon relay in Waco on January 30. The team took first place in the firefighter category, following a grueling 26.2 miles in unseasonable heat and humidity clad in full turnouts and structural helmets. The win was a stunning victory with thirty minutes separating them from the second place team. The relay was part of a larger, parent marathon, known as the “Miracle Match,” that has been put on by the Waco Professional Firefighters Association (Local 478) since 2004 to raise funds for the Be the Match Foundation. The foundation supports a national registry database of potential bone marrow donors and helps fund research into various forms of blood cancers.

History of the Event:
The Waco Professional Firefighters Union (Local 478) has grown a once small marathon, the “Miracle Match,” into one of the best medium size race fields over the past seven years. Like many running events, this one sponsors a unique charity, the Be the Match Foundation, whose aim is to collect and register potential bone marrow donors in a national database and provide funding for blood cancer research. The Waco Fire Department has always been the backbone of the event and provided all aspects of course certification, marketing and race-weekend support. As is common to the fire service, their efforts have been intense, but often quite in the name of serving the charity and providing a challenging race to all runners.

In 2005, then ATCEMS Paramedic, Dave Williams (AFD ENG31C) was on his way to Waco to sign on his first home, when he encountered a rollover accident with an ejection on the freeway just outside of Waco. FF Williams was soon joined by Waco Firefighter, Wade Durbin, to care for the patient. Upon clearing the scene, FF Durbin asked if FF Williams was a runner. With a positive reply, Durbin quickly handed him a race flyer for the marathon.

After joining the Austin Fire Department in 2006, FF Williams began to intensify his running with eyes on competing in the race the following year. In October of 2009, Williams sustained a fracture during preparation for the event. Unable to compete that year, he began preparing for 2010, only to sustain a stress fracture in one of his legs. Ill-prepared for the complete distance, he challenged his wife to run the half-marathon with him. She laughed at the proposition, to which he countered “If you’ll train with me, I’ll run it in bunker gear to level the field.” She reluctantly agreed.

Ironically, the race director was a client of his wife’s catering business and the wife of his orthopedist. Once she got wind of the dare, she quickly “comped” their registration. A month later, Williams crossed the finish line in an old set of turnouts, hand-in-hand with his wife. The image of a firefighter crossing the finish line of a firefighter’s race quickly became a photograph associated with race marketing and inspired an idea: to create a separate relay category of 4-person fire “crews” to compete in the full course.

FF Williams worked throughout 2010 to make this concept a reality. On January 30, 2011, three members of the Austin Fire Department joined forces with a Jollyville Firefighter to compete in the first annual “Turnout for a Cause.” Lt. Josh Portie (ENG02C) and Spec. Larry Clowry (ENG08C) dominated the event taking home first place in 4 hours, 6 minutes and 19 seconds.

In contrast to traditional, competitive marathon times, this may not appear to be such a inspiring performance. However, the team endured unseasonable January heat and humidity with highs reaching 68 degrees, and did so in full turnouts and a structural helmet. The Jollyville Firefighter kept a steady tempo for the first 5 miles and was relieved by Spec. Clowry just three minutes behind the then first place team, the Round Rock Fire Department. Cowry took the lead over the first 2 of his 8 mile leg. FF Williams added to Clowry’s lead over 7 mile of long hill climbs before handing of to Lt. Portie who added yet a greater lead throughout the notorious rolling hills of Waco’s Cameron Park. The team rejoined Lt. Portie half a mile from the finish for a spectacular moment in fire service history.

The Austin team was joined by two teams from the Waco Fire Department on the victory stage where they received actual commemorative badges plated in gold, nickel and bronze. All firefighter participants were issued long-sleeved, navy “station shirts” and challenge coins. Participants from the general race field received handmade, Maltese-cross finisher medals made by a Waco firefighter (nearly 1700 in all!). The race was first class all the way.

This year’s event was a success on many levels. The registration was nearly double that of last year (despite being on the same day as Austin’s 3M Half and the Houston Marathon). The fire service presence was an inspiration to many runners and bystanders. The firefighter camaraderie was electric, and spawned interest in many other firefighter events, including the Austin Fire Department “St. Baldrick’s” festivities in March. A kid’s version of the race in which school-aged children from around Central Texas logged 25 miles prior to race day and completed their marathon distance across the same finish line as the general field. This aspect made a huge impact on promotion of community health. FF Williams’ daughter Louisa, age 5 and clad in a custom made, pink AFD running suit, competed in this event with her dad. Finally, the untold efforts of the Waco Fire Department were revealed in area media outlets and national running forums.

The Miracle Match Marathon has always provided one of the toughest courses in the nation along the backdrop of Waco’s historic scenery. The firefighter relay provided a new-wrinkle to an already solid event that draws more and more runners each year. This year’s relay teams have already vowed to make it a tradition, and several independent firefighter runners have already begun forming their teams for next year. Per our three victorious members, the Austin Fire Department Command Staff was very supportive and integral to the success of this year’s team. Event organizers are already hard at work to determine a date for the 2012 race that will not conflict with other regional events. Many of the AFD members who’d expressed an interest in this year’s event were already committed to the 3M Half Marathon.

The phenomenal victory of these AFD Operations Firefighters underscores the continuing success of AFD’s Wellness Program with respect to their display of the fitness, discipline and sheer physical prowess that is today’s Austin Firefighter.

The team wishes to thank Chiefs: Crooks, Bailey, Garza, Klepac, Walker and Thompson, along with all those in their chain of command for their support and interest. They also wish to thank Waco area firefighter and EMT Joe Meadows who staffed their team support vehicle and looked after their medical and hydration/fueling needs during the event. They plan to reunite for 2012’s event, but say there’s always room for a few more AFD teams. A challenge? You bet!

Main Event Page:
http://www.sw.org/web/SW/patientsAndVisitors/iwcontent/public/marathon/en_us/html/marathon.html

Overall Relay Results:
http://www.sw.org/web/patientsAndVisitors/iwcontent/public/marathon/en_us/pdf/2011ResultsHalfRelay.pdf

Facebook Page for Additional Photos:
http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Miracle-Match-Marathon-Waco/173877882626578?v=photos

Waco Tribune Herald Photos (from 90 up):
http://www.wacotrib.com/photos/Miracle-Match-Marathon-2011-Day-2.html






Tuesday, February 1, 2011

From An Applicant

"To Whom It May Concern:

"Thank you all SO MUCH for putting on such a smooth and efficient testing process today. I am from CA and if this had been done at home it would have been a train wreck. I never understand how FDs know that they have thousands of people coming and only have one person checking IDs so we all get to wait 3 hrs to start the exam. It also kills me when departments have 2 part tests and do the longer one first forcing all of the applicants to be there longer than they need to be. Thank you for not making the 2 mistakes that most departments can't seem to get out of their systems.

"It was so refreshing to see how organized you all were and how great the process was with AFD.

"Thank you for being efficient and prepared - and for actually practicing the check in so everybody was on the same page. This was one of the best (if not the best considering the size of the production) fire examinations that i have ever taken."