AUSTIN (KXAN) – The city says it will undertake several initiatives to reduce the number of Austin Fire Department vehicles without air conditioning in the future. 

In a social media post Monday, Council Member Mackenzie Kelly said there were 20 fire trucks in Austin without air conditioning “putting our brave firefighters at risk in scorching Texas heat,” she said. 

Kelly sent a memo to Austin City Manager Jesus Garza saying it was “crucial to address these issues promptly to ensure the health and safety of our firefighters, especially during the hot summer months,” the memo read. 

Jennifer Walls, the Director of the Fleet Mobility Services Department, submitted a memo Wednesday to the Mayor and City Council Wednesday saying Fleet Services is coordinating with AFD to repair the malfunctioning fleet while ensuring enough of the fleet remains available for community needs. 

Walls said 17 of the around 100 frontline and reserve fire vehicles are still operating without proper air conditioning. She said Fleet Services will implement the following initiatives to avoid future air conditioning issues: 

  • Institute an AC inspection program to be performed annually by AFD in late winter or early spring. 
  • Establish protocols for the prompt reporting of air conditioning failures to the Fleet Services Department.
  • Work with manufacturers to identify and improve air conditioning specifications. Provide customer departments with safe and reliable mobile solutions in a timely, cost-effective and environmentally responsible manner to ensure the continuity of city services to our citizens. 
  • Provide more education to fire crews on capacities and expectations of AC units in trucks and how to maximize efficiency.