The year 2020 has been an eventful, impactful, and unpredictable year for our country. For the Amarillo Fire Department (AFD), it has been no different. In April, Fire Chief Jeff Greenlee retired and was succeeded by Deputy Chief of Operations, Jason Mays.
The effects of COVID-19 have been far-reaching for the city and our department. Due to the shelter-in-place efforts for our citizens, COVID-19 impacted our department with fewer emergency responses, thus far (graphics below). The AFD conducted thousands of COVID-19 testing and site inspections for high-risk facilities (nursing homes, assisted-living centers, long-term care facilities), as mandated by Texas Governor Abbot. Once supplies are available, the AFD will play a key role in helping vaccinate members of the Amarillo public.
Public education division
Despite COVID-19, the AFD’s Public Education division was busy in 2020 in creating a virtual Kid’s Safety Town. This unique program reaches thousands of Amarillo’s children to educate and familiarize them with local first-responder and public service organizations.
Emergency medical services
Twelve AFD members attended Emergency Medical Services (EMS) training programs to become certified Paramedics. This step ensures that the AFD sustains one of its fundamental organizational goals of raising the EMS Advanced Life Support (ALS) standard of care. Those members will also benefit the department in staffing the two Paramedic Fire Engines (Engine 6 & Engine 9). Through CARES Act funding, five brand new 12-lead heart monitors were procured to expand the department’s reserve of ALS EMS equipment.
Fire Station #5
A new Fire Station #5 is still in the construction phase and will be up and running by March of 2021. Twelve new members were added to the AFD’s roster to staff another fire crew who will respond from the new station. This crew will allow another Ladder truck to be added to protect our City.