AUSTIN (KXAN) — An Austin City Council member is pressing for a prompt response from the city over a lack of air conditioning in more than 20 Austin Fire Department vehicles.
Council Member Mackenzie Kelly, who represents District 6, said in a social media post more than 20 fire trucks in Austin lack AC, putting firefighters at risk. Central Texas has been experiencing record-breaking heat this summer and is currently experiencing its seventh-longest streak of triple-digit heat in recorded history.
Kelly submitted a memorandum to Interim City Manager Jesús Garza, asking him to address the issue immediately. She said in the memo that the lack of AC in the trucks “poses significant health and safety risks to our brave firefighters and jeopardizes the department’s ability to respond effectively to emergencies. This is not only a concern for the firefighters but also poses a risk to public safety.”
The memo also details which trucks have reported non-functional AC systems.
Further, Kelly requested that Garza come to the Public Safety Committee meeting on August 7 and present a “comprehensive report on the steps taken to address this issue.”
Austin Firefighter Association President Bob Nicks spoke to KXAN last month, and he said quite a few of the department’s vehicles were without AC.
The city’s assistant director of fleet operations said at the time this is not just a city concern. “Everybody is experiencing AC issues right now nationwide so those parts are more scarce to come across.”
He also said supply chain issues and staffing shortages are playing into delayed repairs.
During a press conference last month, KXAN asked the City of Austin about AFD’s AC issues.
“It is my understanding that was brought to our attention earlier this week and we are working as fast as we can to get those back into service,” Garza told KXAN at the time.