Tag Archives: Austin Fire Department

Friday, April 3, 2020 by Jo Clifton

No hiring freeze for public safety employees

While most city departments are exploring how to do more with fewer employees in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Austin’s public safety departments are currently on track to continue hiring as previously budgeted.Emergency Medical Services spokesperson Captain Christa Stedman…

Friday, March 6, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Public safety departments present preliminary budget requests

Budget season at the city has already begun for the 2021 fiscal year. In preparation for its deep dive into budget requests from the public safety departments, the Public Safety Commission listened to preliminary budget forecasts at its March 2…

Thursday, February 27, 2020 by Andrew Weber

Austin 911 operators effectively field calls, but audit finds gaps in dispatching overall

Operators field roughly a million calls for emergency services in Austin a year.A new city report says those operators do a serviceable job of answering that glut of calls, but found a disconnect between those calls and the delivery of…

Wednesday, February 19, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

Water and Wastewater Commission learns cause of foamy water

On Jan. 22, residents in South Austin reported foamy water in their taps following the Austin Fire Department’s extinguishing of a church fire.At the Feb. 12 meeting of the Water and Wastewater Commission, Rick Coronado, the assistant director of Austin…

Friday, December 6, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Council OKs amended emergency mutual aid pact

Council gave final approval Thursday to a mutual automatic aid agreement designed to ensure that 19 fire and rescue departments throughout Travis and Williamson counties will assist each other in far-flung parts of Austin and the included counties.The city has…

Wednesday, December 4, 2019 by Jo Clifton

AFD, union still at odds over interlocal agreement

Bob Nicks, president of the Austin Firefighters Association, and Austin Fire Chief Joel Baker are locked in a battle over whether the city should sign on to a new mutual aid agreement with emergency services districts in both Travis and…

Thursday, October 24, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Wildfire audit update shows more work ahead

After hearing a new report from the Office of the City Auditor on Austin’s wildfire response efforts, Council Member Alison Alter said while the report lays out appropriate next steps for the city to take, those steps are probably not…

Thursday, September 5, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Council looks at police, fire department budgets

At Council’s final budget work session on Wednesday, Deputy Chief Financial Officer Ed Van Eenoo told Council members he had learned that the city would have about $2.4 million more than anticipated when staff prepared the original budget of $4.2…

Monday, August 26, 2019 by Austin Monitor

Austin Monitor Radio: Wildfires with Justice Jones

This week, Austin Monitor reporter Jessi Devenyns sits down with Austin Fire Department Wildfire Division Manager Justice Jones. Listen in below for a comprehensive discussion about Austin’s wildfire risks, how the city is managing those risks and what still needs…

Friday, August 9, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

AFD under fire for handling of sexual harassment claim despite policy updates

After Austin Fire Department Lieutenant James Baker pleaded guilty to hiding a camera and filming firefighter Kelly Gall in the fire station restroom, AFD revised its harassment policies and implemented the Electronic and Anonymous Reporting System.EARS is intended to bypass…

Tuesday, July 30, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Two firefighters fired over ‘theft’ of exam

Fire Chief Joel Baker has fired two firefighters, Nicholas Schroeder and Anthony Stewart, who were attending classes on handling hazardous materials, after Schroeder allegedly stole a copy of the final exam and Stewart took photos of it.The class was required…

Wednesday, May 22, 2019 by Chad Swiatecki

Auditor finds fire department employee misused resources for family business

An investigation by the city auditor’s office found evidence that an Austin Fire Department employee misused city computer equipment and his city email account to conduct business for a company owned by his wife.In a report released Tuesday, the auditor’s…

Wednesday, May 8, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Fire and police response times lagging due to low staffing

In an effort to serve citizens as quickly, efficiently and proficiently as possible, Austin public safety departments have response time goals. For the Fire Department, this means response times of eight minutes 90 percent of the time, while police should…

Friday, February 1, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Firefighter off for one day for ‘disrespect’

After finding that a male firefighter under his command spoke in a disrespectful manner to a female firefighter, Austin Fire Chief Joel Baker suspended the firefighter for just one day, to the dismay of the female firefighter. Baker did not…

Thursday, December 20, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

2019: AFD’s new chief prioritizes communication

After just over five months with an interim chief, the Austin Fire Department finally has a permanent leader. As the year winds down, Joel Baker assumes his role as fire chief at the department amid an environment of transition and…

Wednesday, November 14, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

‘Mega-fires’ are real, but their size is anyone’s guess

When representatives from the Austin Fire Department spoke at the last meeting of the Public Safety Commission, they alluded to a “mega-fire” they said was imminent in West Austin.Although the term may sound alarming, Justice Jones, wildfire mitigation program manager…

Tuesday, October 2, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

Low morale in Austin’s public safety departments requires attention

The Public Safety Commission heard a variety of concerns at its Oct. 1 meeting in regards to the chronic low morale that public safety officers are experiencing within their respective departments.“It is pretty unanimous the officers are really getting tired…

Wednesday, May 23, 2018 by Nadia Hamdan

Rising insurance costs reignite push for new fire stations in Austin

Homeowners in a Del Valle suburb learned last month that their insurance rates could go up as much as $1,000 this year because they’re too far from the nearest fire station.Concerns about the rising rates have jump-started a push to…

Thursday, April 5, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Lack of fire station pushes some insurance rates up

Some Southeast Austin homeowners have been receiving bad news from their insurance companies – the rates on their homeowners insurance are projected to rise as much as $1,000 this year.District 2 Council Member Delia Garza told her colleagues at Wednesday’s…

Tuesday, March 13, 2018 by Jack Craver

What happens when top public safety officials are accused of harassment?

Members of the Public Safety Commission expressed concern and befuddlement over policies that the Police, Fire and EMS departments rely on to hold their top officials accountable for harassment.“It doesn’t make sense to me that the policies are so different…

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