Thursday, March 31, 2011

Antwaine Hobbs in "Honda Tuning"

Check out this great article in the April issue of Honda Tuning magazine featuring FF Antwaine Hobbs (E05/A)!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Salem Hill Neighborhood Canvass by A Shift

Last week, the A shift canvassed the streets around Salem Hill Drive in south central Austin to check smoke alarms and replace batteries where needed. This effort was the result of a non-injury but significant fire at 5512 Salem Hill on Sunday, March 21.

The effort was a huge success! They visited more than 75 homes, installed 24 smoke alarms, and replaced four batteries. The area was very receptive to the effort. KEYE and KVUE went with some of the companies, and Chief Frick did a stand-up interview with each TV station. Interestingly, the house directly across the street from the fire had a fire fatality in September 2009 when the occupant of the converted garage left a lamp on a wood desk and went to sleep. There was not much that had been done in the way of repair to the structure (still had some melted fixtures). They installed two smoke detectors in that residence.

Friday, March 25, 2011

AFD Arson Investigation Wins Award

A Texas Advisory Council on Arson (ATAC) has honored the Austin Fire Department's Arson Investigations unit with its 2011 Law Enforcement Award. The award is given in recognition of an outstanding effort to achieve excellence in the field of arson investigation.
The Austin Fire Investigations unit holds an impressive record in clearing many of its arson investigations with an arrest. Last year, Austin Fire investigators made 116 arrests in 179 fires that were determined to have been arson. In some cases several suspects were arrested for an intentionally set fire.
In the past five years Austin Fire investigators have examined more than 600 arson fires and they've cleared nearly 40 percent of the cases with arrests. In 2010, Austin Fire investigators cleared 50 percent of their cases with arrests.
ATAC honors both individual fire fighters and fire departments each year at the Texas Fire and Arson Investigators Seminar held in Austin. Accepting the award on behalf of the 12-member investigations team was Austin Fire Department Chief Investigator Aaron Woolverton.
The Texas Fire and Arson Investigators Seminar is a week-long event that draws Texas fire chiefs and fire marshals from all over the state for in-house training and updates on fire fighting capabilities. ATAC meets during this event to discuss the activities of the state fire marshal and the Arson Hotline.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cooking Fire Trailer Demo

We unveiled our new cooking fire trailer last Friday with a "fiery" demonstration (see photos below)! Thanks to the Propane Council of Texas, Magnum Trailers, and State Farm Insurance, who made it possible. Special kudos to FF Tim LaFuente, the "brainchild" behind the idea!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

AFD's New Addition

Welcome to our new accelerant canine, Leonardo ("Leo" for short)! Leo had his "coming out" party yesterday and did his first interview. As you can see from the photo below, he was less than impressed...

Leo is a 68 pound, 2 1/2 year old male yellow lab. He was trained by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives in Front Royal, Virginia. He joins Lt. Brooks Frederick in our Arson Investigations section, replacing Pearl, who retired earlier this year.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Head Shaving at Fado's

This past Saturday, 16 AFD members stepped up to the clippers and had their heads shaved in support of the St. Baldrick's Foundation and kids with cancer. Check out some of the pics below; the little boy is Firefighter Ramsey Zapata's son, who raised more than $250 for St. Baldrick's at his school!

Lt. Kevin Haas and FF Sean Kaden before...

...and after!

Go Tracy go!

Like father, like son!

Now that's a good-looking group!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Saving Creatures of All Types, Great and Small

Here are some photos of Engine 24 crew members FF Ed Hanna and FF James Ramon resuscitating a chihuahua and returning the revived dog to its owner. A fire in the garage was put out, and the crew of Engine 24 found the unconscious dog, which was removed from the structure and resuscitated with the doggie mask carried by AFD. The story has two parts: Engine 24 crew’s (Ramon and Hanna) persistence in reviving the dog (they worked this dog for a long time), and the organization that provides this medical equipment for AFD. Special thanks to Captain Hector Garcia for the photos! 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Kudos for FF Patrick Healey

"I am assigned to the Emergency Planning and Response Unit with the Austin Police Department. As such, we teach numerous classes at the Public Safety Training Campus. We have taught several classes at this facility since FF Patrick Healey has been assigned to the front desk area.

"I just wanted to commend FF Healey for all of his help and support that he has provided to us when we are teaching at the facility. FF Healey is always willing to help out in any way that he can and if he is not able to assist with a concern that we have, he finds someone to assist us.

"FF Healey always has a very upbeat and positive attitude. He also 'checks in' with our unit to ensure that we are doing well with the classes.

"It is a pleasure to arrive at the facility and see him at his post. He fosters a team atmosphere even though we are not even from the same department.

"Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or wish for me to clarify any of this information."

SPO Carine Chalfoun
Empergency Planning and Response Unit
Austin Police Department

Monday, March 7, 2011

MATT's House Burn at Explore UT


Austin American-Statesman/Jay Janner
Austin firefighters Cassandra Edgar, left, Don Barthlow, extinguish a fire in a portable burnhouse.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Kudos to Chief Bruce Staton

"Chief Bailey:

"We turned in a broken door on the stove last September. The door would not stay shut (we have been using a piece of webbing tied to a kitchen drawer to keep it closed). Building services came out and told us they needed to order a new spring. We asked about it in December and they told us we needed a complete door. By January, I think everyone had given up. The A-shift turned in a new area of the kitchen asbestos floor tiles that had come loose last week (February 13). At this point, about half the kitchen floor has cracked or missing tiles. Chief Staton came by to look at the floor and noticed the oven. The next morning a new stove was delivered.

"Chief, whoever decided to put a BC in charge of station maintenance should get a medal! Every request we have made to Chief Staton has been addressed inside of a shift and he has personally followed up and made station visits to check on the problem and follow up on the repairs! If you have a chance please pass on 16C's appreciation for the great job he is doing!"

Lt. Kevin Kalmus
Engine 16-C

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Few Good Men

Austin Monthly magazine is on the hunt once again for the city's most eligible bachelors. You might recall that our very own John Marney (Eng14/A) and Reggie Tait (Lad03/C) have each been featured. Do you or someone you know have the right stuff? If so, send the individual's name, age, occupation, and qualities that make him (or you!) a great catch, as well as a recent photo, to no later than Tuesday, March 15.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Kudos to Stations 17 and 27/A Shift

"I just wanted to comment that the Austin Fire Department did a great job getting to this accident and was able put the fire out quick before it got out of hand. Tell the fire dept workers to keep up the great work." --David Rodriguez

Editor's Note: Kudos to Stations 17 and 27 on the A shift, who responded to this call on Monday, February 21 just after noon.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tough Mudder Race

Even though it was a while ago, we wanted to let you know about several AFD members who participated in the Tough Mudder Race in Paige, TX on January 30 benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project. The race was 10 miles long including several muddy obstacles. All members had a great time and hope to bring even more firefighters out next year. Check out the photos below!

Participants included: Coitt Kessler (18C), Sean Coggin (8A), Matt McElearney (14A), Bryce Kessler (35C), Danny Oliver (8A), Mike Twyman (18C), Matt Holmes (14A), Nathan Hager (18A), Chris Moren (18A), Tim Vandermeer (18A), Matt Buelow (18A), David Mechum (18B), Scott Johnson (18B), Dave Dixon (15A), Paul Saldana (15A), and Mark Mead (15A).