Operation Warm Aims to Buy Coats for Local Kids

With the holidays around the corner and colder winter days ahead, not every child in Georgetown has a winter coat to stay warm. Georgetown firefighters have initiated Operation Warm to help ensure that every child in Georgetown has a warm coat to wear.

The Georgetown Fire Department and the Georgetown Association of Professional Fire Fighters are sponsoring Operation Warm, which is an effort to provide coats for local children who need them. The Georgetown Boys and Girls Club has identified nearly 100 children who need warm coats. The greater need in the community exceeds that number.

How can you help? Here’s two ways:

Raffle Drawing

Georgetown firefighters are selling 1,500 raffle tickets in order to purchase new winter coats for kids. Raffle tickets are $5 each. The raffle drawing to determine the winner will be on December 12, so buy your tickets by December 11.

Purchase raffle tickets at any of the five fire stations in Georgetown. To find station locations, go to fire.georgetown.org/operations/stations.

The raffle winner will receive half of the raffle proceeds, which could be as much as $3,750. The remainder of the raffle proceeds will be used to purchase new winter coats for kids in Georgetown.

After the raffle drawing on Dec. 12, the winner will be announced on the Georgetown Association of Professional Fire Fighters website at gapff.org.


Donations for Operation Warm to provide coats for kids can be made at www.operationwarm.org/Georgetown. Monetary donations to Operation Warm also can be made in-person at any of the five Georgetown fire stations. All monetary donations collected will be used to purchase coats for children in Georgetown.

“We have a saying in the fire service that ‘everyone goes home,’” says Daniel Bilbrey, a driver for the Georgetown Fire Department. “We want to make sure that every firefighter goes home to their family after each shift. This year with Operation Warm, we want to make sure that each and every kid in Georgetown will go home warm this year, and each year after that.”

To learn more about Operation Warm and how you can help, go to the Georgetown Association of Professional Fire Fighters website at gapff.org or www.operationwarm.org/Georgetown.

Fire Dept Holds Hunt to Find AEDs in Georgetown

The Georgetown Fire Department is sponsoring an Easter in October AED Hunt to encourage residents to locate Automated External Defibrillators in the community. An AED is a device that delivers an electric shock to restart the beating heart of a person with sudden cardiac arrest.

Help the Georgetown Fire Department find AEDs in Georgetown area in businesses, public buildings, and churches so that emergency responders will know where AEDs are located in times of emergency.

AED on wall-500Easter in October AED Hunt

How does the Easter in October AED Hunt contest work?

First: Find AEDs in local businesses, churches, and other places in the Georgetown city limits.

Second: Make a list of all the locations in Georgetown city limits with an AED. For each location include the name of the location (e.g., business name, public facility name, etc.), street address, and the phone number for that location. Optional: Take a picture of yourself in front of AEDs you locate. (Photos may be used to help promote the contest.)

Third: Email your list of places with AEDs to the Georgetown Fire Department at EasterinOctober@georgetown.org. Include your name, email, and phone number on your list. The deadline for submissions is 12 p.m. (midnight) on October 25, 2014.

The person with the most AED locations submitted will win a $500 gift certificate.

If you have any questions about the Easter in October AED Hunt contest, contact the Georgetown Fire Department at fire@georgetown.org or call (512) 930-3473.

Contest rules: AED locations must be verifiable to win. In case of a tie, a drawing for a winner will be held. The winner will be announced October 31, 2014. A picture of the winner may be made public. Gift certificate provided by Georgetown Fire Department.

Georgetown Fire Department is Hiring Paramedics and Firefighters

Our Department is growing and so can you…consider joining the Georgetown Fire Department and take your career to the next level.

Ask yourself a few questions…

Are you a paramedic or firefighter who loves to help others?

Do you have a passion for learning, teaching and serving?

Do you want to be part of a culturally sound organization?

If you answered “yes” to the above, please consider joining our family!

We have immediate plans to hire up to fifteen (15) candidates and are actively seeking paramedics with a strong work ethic and work history.

This is a unique opportunity to join a highly respected and professional organization that is best known for providing a caring and professional service to the community.

The Georgetown Fire Department was founded in 1881 and provides a broad level of service that includes EMS, Fire, Rescue, Haz-Mat, Dive and Recovery, Rope Rescue, Swift-Water Rescue, Fire Inspection, Code Enforcement, Community Outreach and more.


Salary: $42,502 – $55,455 (annual)

Hiring range is $42,502 + Paramedic Cert and/or Assignment Pay, if applicable.

Overtime & Longevity Pay

Competitive benefits package can be viewed by visiting benefits.georgetown.org.

More information available online.

How to Apply

Applications will be accepted at georgetown.org/jobs.

Hiring Process may include:
Application Deadline: Nov. 9
Written Test: Nov. 15
PAT/Fitness: Nov. 22 – 23
Interview: Dec. 1 -12
Chief Interview: Jan. 5 – 9, 2015
Drug Test/Physical: Jan. 12 – 21, 2015
Academy: Begins Feb. 2, 2015
*Dates and times are subject to change



Memorial Stair Climb on 9/11 in Georgetown

Georgetown firefighters and police officers will participate in a memorial stair climb at Georgetown ISD football stadium on Thursday, September 11. The climb is done each year as a tribute to first responders who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. Participants will climb the equivalent of 110 stories—the height of the World Trade Center towers in New York City.

The event begins at 8 a.m. with comments from Georgetown Fire Chief John Sullivan and Georgetown Police Chief Wayne Nero. An honor guard will post the colors before the climb begins. The flag posted will be the flag of heroes, which contains the names of all the first responders who died on 9/11.

The firefighters on the climb will be wearing firefighting gear including boots, helmets, protective pants and jackets, and air packs. Police officers will carry extra tactical gear on the climb. Participants will pause for a moment of silence at the times that each of the World Trade Center towers collapsed.

Georgetown Battalion Chief Carl Boatright, who is coordinating the event, says he expects 20 to 30 climbers to participate, including firefighters, police officers, and emergency medical technicians. Participants will climb the stairs to the top of the football stadium 16 times.

Later in the day on Wednesday, Georgetown firefighters will participate in the annual September 11 commemoration and parade in Taylor.

The Georgetown ISD Athletic Complex, where the stair climb will take place in the morning, is located behind Georgetown High School at 2211 N. Austin Avenue in Georgetown.

Firefighters and Paramedics Help Deliver Baby

A woman gave birth to a healthy baby boy in the Williamson County Justice Center last week with the help of some Georgetown firefighters and paramedics from Williamson County EMS.

There was no time to get to the hospital first, so after a very short labor, firefighters and paramedics delivered the baby in a women’s restroom at the County court building on MLK, Jr. Street.  Kingston Alexander Powell was born at 2:19 p.m. on August 19.

stork award group 1b-1000Mother Shiela Threadgill and father Terence Powell were recognized at the City Council meeting on Tuesday night. Georgetown Fire Chief John Sullivan presented the Stork Award to the Georgetown firefighters who assisted with the “field birth” of the baby. Chief Sullivan also presented a coin of excellence from the Fire Department to the Williamson County EMS paramedics for their role in the delivery.

Pictured (left to right) are Firefighter Scott Laurich, Terence Powell, Shiela Threadgill with baby Kingston, Driver Engineer Rebel Paulk, and Williamson County EMS paramedics Ed Tydings and Surain Gomes. Williamson County EMS paramedic Rick Cummins, not pictured, also was recognized. (Click on the photo to see a larger version.)

Threadgill and baby Kingston were both taken to the hospital after the unexpected delivery last week. Both are now healthy and doing well.

Fire Department Promotes 19 Firefighters

The Georgetown Fire Department promoted 19 firefighters on Friday in a ceremony at Fire Station 5. Those promoted moved into a range of positions including firefighter, driver engineer, lieutenant, captain, battalion chief, and assistant chief. Fire Chief John Sullivan and Assistant Chief Clay Shell conducted the ceremony.

Jeff Davis was promoted from battalion chief to assistant chief. Hank Jones and Craig Krienke were promoted from captain to battalion chief. Joseph Finley, Robert Gordon, Bill Sherek, and Craig Sossner were promoted from lieutenant to captain. Gary Beyers, Jonathan Gilliam, TC Ryan, Michael Vaughn, and Travis Vinton were promoted from driver engineer to lieutenant. Daniel Bilbrey, Keith Hehmann, Garey Jackson, Mark Randall, and Wesley Seigmund were promoted from firefighter to driver engineer. Eric Lambert and James Ledbetter were promoted to firefighter after completing a year of probationary status.


The Georgetown Fire Department Honor Guard presented the colors at the event and the Georgetown Fire Department Pipes and Drums Band performed.

Fire and Police Depts Recognize Citizen Responders

Two citizen responders were recently recognized for their actions that may have helped saved a life after a vehicle collision earlier this year. Billy Ayers, Jr. and his father Billy Ayers were honored at the Georgetown City Council meeting last Tuesday. The Ayers’ actions in responding to an incident during an ice storm were commended by the Georgetown Fire Department and the Georgetown Police Department.

On the evening of January 23, Walburg-area resident Tim Kubatzky was driving on the 130 Toll Road when he hit a patch of ice on the County Road 104 Bridge. His car fishtailed, then skidded off the road and fell 20 feet, landing upside down below the bridge.

Billy Ayers, Jr. was driving on CR 104 a short time later and happened to see the car near the side of the road. Ayers went to check on the car and found Kubatzky, who was injured and trapped inside. The roof of the car was smashed in due to the impact of the wreck, which prevented the doors from opening.

Ayers immediately called 911. He also called his father Billy Ayers to come and assist with tools in order to try to free Kubatzky. The Ayers tried, but were not successful in freeing Kubatzky from the car.

Unfortunately because of the ice storm, emergency responders were overwhelmed with calls and were responding to more than 50 car wrecks at that time. Billy Ayers, Jr. and his father Billy Ayers stayed with Kubatzky in sub-freezing temperatures and contacted 911 multiple times until the Georgetown Fire Department and Police Department arrived. Firefighters were able to free Kubatzky and he was transported to the hospital.

Though Kubatzky sustained multiple serious injuries, he has fully recovered from the accident and joined his wife last week at the council meeting to thank the Ayers, as well as first responders who came to the scene.

In a message to the Fire Department, Tim Kubatzky’s wife Katherine said, “I’m confident that if it wasn’t for Billy and his father’s quick actions and their persistence in getting emergency personnel to Tim, we would have had a very different outcome.”

Fire Chief John Sullivan provided some context at the meeting in thanking the Ayers for their actions. “We think that government is here to protect us,” said Sullivan. “We’re here, but sometimes we get tapped, and that was an evening we got tapped as a system. We had over 50 motor vehicle collisions happening at a short time, all the resources were committed, and we needed community involvement. We deeply appreciate the Ayers’ selfless service.”

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Pictured in the photo (left to right) are Fire Chief John Sullivan, Katherine Kubatzky, Billy Ayers, Jr., Billy Ayers, Tim Kubatzky, and Police Chief Wayne Nero.

CPR by Daughter Key for Cardiac Survivor

Georgetown Fire Chief John Sullivan recently honored a local woman after her daughter and Georgetown firefighters saved her life in the minutes after she experienced a heart attack. Chief Sullivan told the story of Sharon Turner at a City Council meeting earlier this month.

“Back in December, she was at her home and she succumbed to a serious cardiac event and went into cardiac arrest,” said Sullivan. Ms. Turner’s daughter quickly called 9-1-1 and initiated cardio pulmonary resuscitation. “Her daughter’s quick actions really played a pivotal role in her being able to be with us tonight,” said Sullivan.

Ms. Turner, who was present, also thanked the Fire Department for their quick response after the 9-1-1 call. “It was a blessing to have the Fire Department there so quickly,” she said.

Though people may associate heart attacks with men rather than women, Sullivan says it is important for women to learn the signs of a heart attack. “In particular with women, sometimes cardiac events go unnoticed. But it does not have a bias. It’s gender neutral as far as its impact,” said Sullivan.

Telling Ms. Turner’s story is one way that the Fire Department wants to encourage people in Georgetown to learn CPR. “Georgetown Fire is going to take the initiative to reach out so that more people can learn the life-saving benefit of CPR and make this truly one of the safest places to live,” said Sullivan.

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Pictured in the photo are (left to right) Assistant Fire Chief Clay Shell, Fire Driver Cory Jolly, Sharon Turner, Fire Lieutenant Bill Sherek, and Fire Chief John Sullivan. Jolly and Sherek were part of the fire company that responded to Ms. Turner’s home in December.

Georgetown 3rd on Best American Suburbs Ranking

A recent analysis of 75 cities in the top 25 U.S. metro areas ranked Georgetown third on the list. The top ten list of America’s Best Suburbs, placing Georgetown at no. 3 in the country, was done by Movoto, a real estate company in California. The ranking was based on several factors including shopping, dining, and entertainment offerings as well as cost of living, low crime, education, and employment.

The article notes that Georgetown’s crime rate is 45 percent below the national average and that the cost of living is nearly 9 percent lower than the national average. The article also cites Georgetown’s low student-to-teacher ratio.

Movoto provided an explanation of the appeal of the major metro cities on the list. “These smaller cities and towns offer proximity to everything their larger neighbors have to offer, while oftentimes being safer and less crowded.”

“This ranking is a wonderful tribute to our history, our vitality, our values and our fantastic citizens,” says Mayor George Garver. “Good schools, good public safety personnel, and a great living environment make this city very desirable. We take pride in this ranking knowing that others have discovered what we already know about Georgetown—it’s a great place to live.”

The ranking was based on an analysis of data from sources such as the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

To see the list of the 10 best American suburbs, as well as the full ranking of metro 75 cities, go to http://www.movoto.com/blog/top-ten/best-suburban-cities-in-america.

Fire Dept Survival Training at Playscape: Photos

The Georgetown Parks Department began deconstructing the Creative Playscape at San Gabriel Park last week. The City is in the process of redesigning and rebuilding the play structure.

But before the work on the playscape started, its tight spaces served as a survival training facility for the Georgetown Fire Department. Last week, Georgetown firefighters completed a multiple-day survival training exercise in which the confined spaces and maze-like configuration of the playscape simulated a collapsed building.

In full bunker gear with boots, helmets, air tanks, and breathing masks covered in translucent wrap to simulate smoke, firefighters followed 200-feet of fire hose that snaked up stairs, over walkways, down a slide, and under confined spaces to get out.

A firefighter’s air tank holds a maximum of 30 minutes of air. If they are breathing hard, they may have less than 10 minutes. A green light on their air pack tells them they are OK. A blinking orange light means they have half of a tank. Blinking red means they have less than 10 minutes before they run out.

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Battalion Chief Carl Boatright gives a briefing to a group of firefighters before they each put on their bunker gear and crawl through.

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Firefighters must follow the length of hose and are trained to “read” the hose with their hands. At each hose coupling, they can feel “smooth, bump, bump, to the pump” which tells them they are heading the right direction to get back to the fire truck and out of the structure.

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A firefighter navigates a loop of hose. This can be an especially tricky place to get turned around and head the wrong way.

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A firefighter following the length of hose emerges from a tight spot on the playscape.

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Another tight spot.

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Wearing an air tank and holding an axe, each firefighter had to pull himself under a cargo net feature while on their back.

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Firefighter Price Inman, having made it to the end of the hose and finishing the course, takes off his breathing mask and shares a laugh with Captain David England.

The training was conceived by the fire department after hearing of the impending disassembling of the playscape. The Georgetown Parks and Recreation Department agreed to let the fire department use the structure for training before it was taken down. The training did not damage playscape features like the art wall and murals that are being preserved and repurposed in the new design.

Tragically, firefighters in Texas have attended many funerals this year for firefighters who were lost in building collapses, explosions, and other deadly structure fires. Training may not have saved all those who were lost, but it may save some lives in a critical emergency. That is why the whole department participated in the survival training at the playscape.