On Sunday June 24, 2012 TEXSAR team members assisted the Heart of The Pines volunteer fire department in Bastrop County. This was a work day event to help organize the fire stations on Highway 71 and the Cottletown station. Our team members cleaned and organized equipment and fire gear to assist the fire department members as they continue to recover. The Labor Day fires of 2011 destroyed the station at Coddle Town, much of the department’s equipment and many of the fire department member’s homes. Many lost everything they owned. The Coddle Town station was rebuilt this winter by Extreme Makeover. TEXSAR values our relationship with Chief Nathan Decker and the members of the Heart of Pines Volunteer Fire Department.
On Saturday June 23, 2012 two TEXSAR Master CERT Instructors taught a Search and Rescue class for the 2012 City of Austin Department of Homeland Security’s summer class. The class was well attended and covered CERT actions during responses to neighborhood based disasters. CERT members are trained to assist their neighbors and communities during the initial response to area disasters and incidents. Mackenzie Kelly and Greg Pyles are the only certified CERT Master Instructors in the Capital Area Council of Governments Region. TEXSAR also has three other certified CERT instructors that support the training in our Region.
TEXSAR is honored to have been selected for study by two University of Texas classes from the Red McCombs Business School. These classes, one a Team-based Communication class and the other a Business Communication class, studied the history and the future goals of our organization.
The classes, each split into three to five person teams, produced reports and guidance on topics such as fundraising, grant applications, philanthropic foundations, website improvements, the use of social media and relationship building and maintenance. These students spent untold hours on behalf of our organization to recommend many useful ways to improve our capabilities in these areas.
As the reports come in we are committed to implementing these recommendations and will be forever thankful for this effort on our behalf.
On Thursday evening May 03, 2012 TEXSAR team members were invited to speak to the Pflugerville Citizens on Patrol volunteer group. The folks are also CERT team members. We spoke with them about personal and family preparedness and also discussed ways that TEXSAR could assist them to train a new CERT class for the Pflugerville Police Department. It was a great opportunity to share ideas and meet the Pflugerville team members.
Four of our members completed the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Train the Trainer course this week held by the Texas Department of Emergency Management (TDEM) and FEMA. This new training capability allows TEXSAR to assist rural jurisdictions and volunteer fire departments as well as “Teen Cert” programs in area high schools to create, train and maintain CERT programs that will provide them with “force multipliers” to respond to large incidents and assist with other responsibilities. TEXSAR will work with various entities, including regional councils of governments and TDEM, to deliver this training and CERT program management.
TEXSAR has a new “Home” for meetings and training! The Austin Firefighters Association (AFA) has graciously invited us to hold our meetings in the AFA Union Hall located at 7537 Cameron Road, Austin, Texas 78752. We will adjust our meeting schedule to not conflict with their meetings and are very much looking forward to having the use of this great facility!
FIREWISE assessments by our members that have been certified by the Texas Forest Service are continuing, with a very large request from a community located near Lake Austin. We will be working with the Texas Forest Service to get this important safety work done in the near future.