Thursday, June 30, 2011

Swift Water Class Thank You

Our Spec Ops folks recently put on a swift water awareness class for 30 Texas Highway Patrol troopers. Their Lieutenant, Victor Taylor, sent along this very nice thank you note to Chief Todd Pomroy:


I want to thank you for coordinating and allowing Firefighter Keith Brown to provide us valuable training regarding Swift Water Rescue and awareness. I have heard several favorable comments back from our troops. They had a great time and most of all, learned a valuable lesson in the dangers of high water. This type of training has allowed us a better understanding of how you guys operate and what you can do. This understanding will allow us to jointly succeed in protecting and, most of all, serving the people in our communities. Please pass our thanks to Keith.

"If I can assist you or your Department in any way, please contact me."

Victor Taylor, Lieutenant
Texas Highway Patrol

2011 Pierce Impel Model

One of our new Pierce Impel engines came by AFD HQ yesterday, so we thought you'd like to get a glimpse, too. One of the coolest features is the new "open cab" design! Plus, there's more room in the seating area. Check out the photos below:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

In Memoriam: Fire Specialist Steve Titsworth

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Fire Specialist Steve Titsworth, who lost his life in a tragic helicopter crash yesterday. Steve was one of the nicest guys you'd ever want to meet...ask anyone who knew him. He retired from AFD on July 22, 2005 with almost 32 years of service.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Capt. David Brietzke Recognized in Local Media

In Fact Daily
Firefighter honored by VFW . . . Austin Fire Department Captain David Brietzke has been named "Firefighter of the Year" by American Legion Post 76. Brietzke was chosen for his service to the Austin and Travis County communities, as well as for his service to his country in the United States Air Force, where he has won several commendations. Brietzke has been with AFD for more than 21 years . . .

Lt. Kevin Kalmus Recognized in the Austin American-Statesman

From page 2 of the Metro section in today's Austin American-Statesman:

Austin Fire Department Lt. Kevin Kalmus has been chosen to receive FireRescue magazine's Company Officer of the Year award. Kalmus has been a member of the Austin Fire Department for almost 12 years and was chosen from a field of national candidates for his leadership, innovative training, incident command effectiveness, commitment to safety, interpersonal communication and community involvement.

Kalmus' accomplishments include serving as an instructor for the Affiliate Leadership Training Summit; being invited by FEMA to participate in the Assistance to Firefighters Grant peer review process; serving as a contributing author to and Fire Engineering magazine; and being a featured presenter at various conferences. Some of his most recognition-worthy accomplishments have been from his work with the International Association of Fire Fighters.

Fan Fare Friday

Each year, the Austin Fire Department's fire stations serve as drop-off locations for Family Eldercare's fan drive, a program designed to get new fans into the homes of our elderly who may be suffering in the Texas heat without air conditioning. Can you even imagine dealing with 105 degree day with no A/C? At the conclusion of the drive, a celebration event is held at Threadgill's. Chief Kerr and the crew from Engine 6/C shift were there last Friday to help mark the occasion and this successful partnership!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Capt. David Brietzke Wins Award

Congratulations to Austin Fire Department Captain David Brietzke (E03/B), who has been named “Firefighter of the Year” by American Legion Post 76. Captain Brietzke was chosen for his outstanding service to the Austin and Travis County communities, as well as for his service to his country in the United States Air Force, where he has won several commendations.

Captain Brietzke has been a member of the Austin Fire Department for more than 21 years. You might remember one of his most memorable rescues from several years ago: he was one of two firefighters responsible for rescuing a young woman trapped on a boat on Lake Austin near the Hula Hut that ultimately went through the Tom Miller Dam.

Each year the American Legion recognizes public safety officials at the county, district and state levels. This recognition is based on recommendations forwarded from the various departments in the county/city and judged at the local level. Captain Brietzke’s award has now been forwarded to the American Legion’s District level for further consideration at the state level.

Here are a couple of photos from the award presentation earlier this week. Way to go, David!

Will Ivie, Adjunct/American Legion Post 76 and Capt. Brietzke

Terry Peterman, Travis County Sheriff's Department (2010 Sherrif's Department Employee of the Year), Gena Curtis, Austin Police Department (Outstanding Emergency Personnel Employee of the Year), and Capt. Brietzke

Cyndi Miller, Commander/American Legion Post 76 and Capt. Brietzke

Monday, June 20, 2011

FYI: Media Today

A few things of interest from today:

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Firewise Presentation

Here's some photos from one of our recent Firewise presentations, this time to the Los Arboles neighborhood in southwest Austin. Many thanks to our wildfire expert, Lt. Josh Portie, and the crew who assisted him that day (Engine 24/C: Lt. Jose Cortina, FS Dave Heaton, FF Andrew Ramone, and FF Justin Whitaker) for taking the time to spread this most important message.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Lt. Kevin Kalmus Receives Local Recognition

In honor of his selection by FireRescue magazine as their Company Officer of the Year, Lt. Kalmus has been featured locally on KVUE and Fox, as well as His honor will also be highlighted in this Sunday's edition of "Achievements" in the Austin American-Statesman. Congratulations Kevin!

Fire Service Survivors' Conference Thank You

Chief Kerr received this letter from the Director of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, which sponsors the annual Fire Service Survivors' Conference (recently held in San Antonio). Kudos to our AFD folks from Ed Services who stepped up to the plate and helped them out! They are:
  • Lt. Clint Brooks
  • Lt. Mario Gonzales
  • Lt. David Brandt
  • Lt. Mike Rudolph
  • Lt. Rob Anthony
  • Lt. Jodie "JD" Patterson
You can read the letter here:

Friday, June 10, 2011

Congratulations to Elizabeth Gray

Congratulations to Elizabeth Gray, Business Systems Analyst Supervisor, for graduating from the inaugural class of the City of Austin Executive Academy. During the last year, she completed 68 hours of training, plus pre-work and post-application of training in the areas of boundaryless perspective, integrity and trust, communication skills, community engagement, political savvy, COA essentials and HR management, and organizational leadership. Elizabeth will continue with the program as a mentor for the next academy class.

Way to go, Elizabeth!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

2011 Texas Firefighter Olympics

Round Rock is hosting the 2011 Texas Firefighter Olympics. The dates are Sunday, July 17 through Friday, July 22. Olympic events include: Archery, Basketball, Billiards, Bowling, Darts, Disc Golf, Golf, Horseshoes, Indoor Volleyball, Paintball, Power Lifting, Sand Volleyball (2 on 2) and (4 on 4), Soccer, Softball, Sporting Clays, Tennis, Texas Hold-em, and Washers.

If you are interested in competing go to and download the entry form or click on the name of the contact for the sport of interest.

In 2010, Dallas was the overall champion with a total medal count of 36. Austin finished tied for 9th with 11 medals.

For anyone specifically interested in Bowling in the 2011 Texas Firefighter Olympics, click here:

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

News You Can View: June 2011

The sister component to this blog, News You Can View, is now available online for your viewing pleasure! Please find below the link to the June 2011 edition: