Posts tagged “fire prevention

Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (July 13)

Back (L-R): Linda Harvell, Jerome Rektorik, James Benham, Barry Moore. Front (L-R): Blanche Brick, Mayor Karl Mooney, Julie Schultz.

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, July 13. It’s not the official minutes.

The meeting is being broadcast live on Suddenlink Channels 19 and 119 (HD) and online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

3:33 p.m.

The workshop has started.

3:43 p.m.

Fire Prevention Audit

The council heard a presentation on the city internal auditor‘s recent Fire Prevention Audit, which found that the city’s Fire Prevention Division is compliant with federal, state, and local laws and regulations and aligns with industry best practices. The audit identified two areas where operations could be improved — annual inspections and the dissemination of information.

Due to the city’s rapid growth, the Fire Prevention Division allocates most of its resources toward new construction reviews and tests, which hinders existing structure inspections. The audit found no evidence of fires that could have been prevented by direct inspector action, but the city could be exposed to unidentified hazards and an unknown level of risk. The Fire Prevention Division’s reporting system also presents inaccurate and limited fire origin-and-cause information, which hinders the division when evaluating the impact and effectiveness of operations.

The audit recommends the division investigate strategies to bolster annual inspection activities and that it develops a process to report fire cause-and-origin information to aid public education and code enforcement efforts.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

3:48 p.m.

Bob Meyer Restricted Gift

The council received an update on the Bob Meyer gift fund. In 2013, Meyer bequeathed a portion of his estate to the City of College Station Parks and Recreation Department for the benefit and advancement of programs for senior citizens. The restricted fund amount received to date is $570,245.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

3:49 p.m.

The workshop has been suspended, and the council has gone into executive session. The live blog will resume when the council returns at 6 p.m.

6:33 p.m.

The workshop has resumed. The council took no action coming out of executive session. Councilman James Benham is out of town but is participating via teleconference.

6:34 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

The council will vote on items listed on the consent agenda during tonight’s regular meeting. No items were pulled for workshop discussion.

6:48 p.m.

Legislative Update

The council heard an overview of actions taken by the 85th Texas State Legislature that might impact the City of College Station.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:15 p.m.

Rental Registration Update

The council discussed the city’s Rental Registration program. The council directed staff to bring back changes such as eliminating the renewal requirement and requiring that fourplexes also be registered.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:16 p.m.

Experience Bryan-College Station

The council dropped the discussion of issues related to Experience Bryan-College Station from tonight’s agenda.

7:18 p.m.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the workshop after the council discussed its calendar and received committee reports. The regular meeting will start after a short break.

7:28 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:35 p.m.

Technology Excellence Award

Eric Caldwell, Brazos County’s chief information officer and a member the Texas Association of Governmental Information Technology Managers’ Education Committee, presented the Technology Excellence Award to IT Director Ben Roper for the city’s Code Enforcement Mobile Mapping Application. Pictured below are Code Enforcement Supervisor Julie Caler, Caldwell, Mayor Karl Mooney, and Community Services Director Debbie Eller.

7:41 p.m.

Hear Visitors

Two people spoke during Hear Visitors when citizens might address the council on any item that doesn’t appear on the posted agenda.

  • Ben Roper recognized Marine Cpl. Jeffrey Green as part of the Fallen Heroes Memorial program. The 20-year-old Dallas native died on May 4, 2004, while on a night mission in Al Anbar Province, Iraq.
  • Fred Dupriest, a representative of the Southside neighborhood advocacy group, spoke in opposition to the rezoning of a property in the area.

7:42 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda:

  • A $1.13 million contract with McDonald Municipal & Industrial for the Lick Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant Generator Addition Project.
  • An ordinance a making Newton Road one-way between Aberdeen Place and George Bush Drive.
  • Terminated an economic development agreement with the Research Valley Partnership and PM Realty Group and approved a related Release of Memorandum of Economic Development Agreement.
  • Added No Parking Here to Corner on the east side of Stasney Street extending south 85 feet from its intersection with Cherry Street.
  • Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) fees of $37,000.
  • Modified the city’s definition and requirements for a special event.
  • A $339,853.30 contract with TF Harper for improvements to various city park playgrounds.
  • A bid award for 15 kV circuit breakers and a 138 kV circuit switcher for the Graham Road Substation Construction Project and to be maintained in inventory. To achieve economy of scale pricing on the 15 kV circuit breakers, capital and operational needs for FY18 projects were combined. The total recommended award is $746,347 and will be awarded by line item to the lowest responsible bidder.
  • Authorized a license agreement with Bracol Developers for a 62-square-foot encroachment into the public utility easement in the Prairie View Heights Subdivision.
  • An amendment to the agreement with Wirestar for the lease of city fiber optic cable facilities.
  • Renewal of contracts estimated at $340,000 with Spherion Staffing and Kelly Services for temporary personnel services.
  • A contract for a grant of $220,000 in federal HOME Investment Partnership Grant Program Community Housing Development Organization Set-Aside funds to Elder-Aid for the acquisition and rehabilitation of two houses at 3400-3402 Normand Drive to be used as affordable rental housing for income-eligible elderly households.
  • A contract for Community Development Partnership Grant funds of $794,000 with Bryan-College Station Habitat for Humanity for the acquisition, development, and infrastructure costs related to the construction of at least eight affordable single-family homes at 14015 Renee Lane.
  • A contract for Community Development Partnership Grant funds of $471,500 to Twin City Mission for the acquisition and rehabilitation costs related to the creation of four affordable rental units at 2404 Blanco Drive. A $110,598 contract with Binkley & Barfield for professional engineering services related to the preliminary design of the FM 2154/Holleman Intersection Safety Improvements Project.
  • A change order decreasing by by $70,631.41 the contract with Binkley and Barfield for the FM 2818 Capacity Improvement Project. The new contract total is $500,471.09.
  • A $397,190.36 contract with Binkley and Barfield for engineering and surveying services associated with the FM 2818 Capacity Improvements Project.
  • Renewal of annual blanket purchase orders not to exceed $1.82 million with Knife River ($1.4 million) and Brazos Paving ($427,000) for Type D hot mix asphalt to be picked up by city crews for the maintenance of streets.
  • A $240,036 contract with Kimley-Horn and Associates for design and construction phase services for the Southwood Valley Trunk Line Phase I Project.
  • A $266,000 contract with Jones & Carter for the design, bidding, and construction administration for the State Highway 6 Waterline Phase III project.
  • An interlocal agreement with Texas A&M regarding construction and maintenance of sidewalks constructed as part of Phase 2 of the University Drive Pedestrian Safety Improvements Project.

8:20 p.m.

Hot Mix Asphalt Overlay Bid

The council voted 6-1 to reject the low bid from Texcon General Contractors and approve a contract not to exceed $472,000 with Brazos Paving for the construction and or installation of one-inch overlay with specialty mix as needed. Councilwoman Julie Schultz voted against the motion.

The council rejected the Texcon bid because it did not meet criteria in the Texas Government Code. Council also directed staff to create eligibility guidelines regarding bidders and vendors who have committed crimes against the city. 

8:25 p.m.

Southwest Parkway Drainage Bid

The council voted 6-1 to reject the low bid from Texcon General Contractors and approve a contract not to exceed $286,088 with Palasota Contracting for the replacement of storm sewer, sidewalk and other drainage improvements along Southwest Parkway.  Councilwoman Schultz voted against the motion.

The council rejected the Texcon bid because it did not meet criteria in the Texas Government Code. Council also directed staff to create eligibility guidelines regarding bidders and vendors who have committed crimes against the city. 

10:07 p.m.

Pebble Creek Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council voted 6-1 to approve a request to change the zoning from Rural to Restricted Suburban for Block 21 (5201 Pebble Creek Parkway) at the intersection of Pebble Creek Parkway and Champions Boulevard. The motion includes a 25-foot buffer off Champions. Councilwoman Blanche Brick voted against the motion.

The council voted 5-2 to approve a request to change the zoning from Rural to General Suburban for Block 20 (5101 Pebble Creek Parkway) at the intersection of Pebble Creek Parkway and Champions Boulevard. The motion includes a 25-foot buffer. Councilwomen Linda Harvell and Brick voted against it.

An earlier motion by Councilman Jerome Rektorik to vote separately on each property block passed by a 6-1 vote. Councilwoman Brick voted against the motion.

Here are the PowerPoint presentations:

10:08 p.m.

The council will return after a short break.

10:19 p.m.

The meeting has resumed.

10:51 p.m.

Harper’s Crossing Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to deny a request to amend part of the Harper’s Crossing Planned Development District and associated concept plan to allow for fuel sales. 

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

10:54 p.m.

Stotzer-Turkey Creek Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council voted 6-0 to approve a request to change the zoning designations for about 18 acres northeast of the intersection of Turkey Creek Road and the Raymond Stotzer Parkway frontage road to allow for development. Councilman Barry Moore recused himself from the vote.

The amendment adjusts the zoning district boundary between the subject properties. The land use composition changes from 12 acres Multi-Family and 5.8 acres General Commercial to 13.2 acres Multi-Family and 4.6 acres General Commercial.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

10:57 p.m.

The council discussed future agenda items.

10:57 p.m.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the meeting. The council meets again on Thursday, July 27.


About the Author

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian) has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also been a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.

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Checking your smoke alarm’s age could save your life


By Christina Seidel, CSFD Public Education Officer

Did you know that having a working smoke alarm in your home can increase your chance of surviving a fire by 50 percent? That makes smoke alarms your first line of defense in a fire.

But did you also know you should replace your smoke alarms every 10 years?

That’s the focus of Fire Prevention Week, which begins nationwide on Sunday, Oct. 9 and runs through Saturday, Oct. 15. The theme of “Don’t Wait: Check the Date!” is a reminder to check the age of your smoke alarms and replace them if necessary.

Types of smoke alarms

Photoelectrical alarms have a light source inside that shines onto a sensor. When smoke travels between the light and the sensor, the alarm goes off. These types of smoke alarms are better at detecting slow-moving, smoldering fires because the particulates it detects are bigger than those detected by other alarms. Over time, the sensor inside the detector builds up too much dust — even if it’s cleaned regularly – and it becomes harder for it to detect the smoke.

Ionization alarms can sense smaller particulates that the human eye can’t see. The americium inside the detector gives off an electrical charge, which changes when smoke enters and triggers the alarm. As its electronic components age, ionization alarms become less reliable.

That’s why the National Fire Protection Association recommends you replace smoke alarms not only when they fail tests, but also when they are more than a decade old.

This video shows you how to check the age of your alarms:

Fire Prevention Week Events

  • As part of Fire Prevention Week, your neighborhood can register to participate in the Smoke Alarm Blitz on Oct. 10-11 (Monday-Tuesday). CSFD staff will check smoke alarms in up to 12 homes per neighborhood and even replace batteries if needed. Click here to register your neighborhood by the Thursday, Oct. 6 deadline.
  • On Tuesday, Oct. 11, call either College Station Dominos location between 6-8 p.m. and you can have your pizza delivered by a CSFD crew. If the firefighters find all your smoke alarms in working order, your pizza is free! If any alarms aren’t working, you’ll have to pay for your pizza, but the firefighters will replace batteries or install new alarms free of charge. You can’t lose!
  • On Saturday, Oct. 15, the CSFD Home Safety Trailer will be at the College Station Lowe’s for Safety Day. Kids can meet firefighters and brush up on fire safety in a home-like environment. They can practice calling 9-1-1, hear what smoke alarms sound like, and learn how to escape a home fire safely.

Citizens Fire Academy

Fire Prevention Week also kicks off registration for CSFD’s Citizens Fire Academy program. The free, 12-week program begins Jan. 31 and is designed to provide citizens a fun, interactive and in-depth behind-the-scenes look at their fire department. For more details or to apply, go to The registration deadline is Jan. 10.

For more information about Fire Prevention Week or Citziens Fire Academy, contact me at or 979-764-3712.

Stay safe and remember – Don’t Wait, Check the Date!


SeidelAbout the Author

Christina Seidel has been the College Station Fire Department’s Public Education Officer since 2013. She previously served as executive director of the Children’s Museum of the Brazos Valley and was a teacher for several years in her hometown of Lockhart. Seidel earned a bachelor’s degree in developmental psychology from the University of Texas in 2001.


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Smoke alarms can help you keep your family safe

By Christina Seidel, CSFD Public Education Officer

Did you know 60 percent of fire fatalities happen in homes that had either malfunctioning smoke alarms or none at all?

With this being Fire Prevention Week, it’s an ideal time to check your smoke alarms.

Smoke alarms should be installed in every bedroom and in the hallway outside a group of bedrooms. In addition, every level of your home should have at least one alarm.


3 ways to keep your holidays from going up in flames

By Christina Seidel, CSFD Public Education Officer

Copyright: bilderundvektor / 123RF Stock PhotoThe holiday season represents a time for family fun and good cheer, but Christmas trees, cooking, candles and decorations – not to mention the hectic pace of the season – can greatly increase the risk of home fires.

Fortunately, with a little awareness and some minor adjustments to your cooking and decorating habits, the season can remain festive and safe. The National Fire Protection Association and the College Station Fire Department offer these tips:

  1. Pay attention when cooking.

With unattended cooking being the leading cause of home fires and injuries, we recommend staying in the kitchen while you’re frying, grilling or broiling food. Keep anything that can catch fire away from the stovetop and turn off it off if you leave the kitchen even for a moment. If you’re simmering, boiling, baking or roasting food, check it regularly and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.


Time to adjust your clock, check your smoke alarm

smokealarmWhen you reset your clocks Sunday to Daylight Saving Time, the College Station Fire Department recommends that you change your smoke alarm batteries and test your alarms.

A properly installed and maintained smoke alarm is the only thing that can alert you and your family to a fire around the clock and significantly increases your chance of survival. Whether you’re awake or asleep, a working smoke alarm constantly scans the air in your home for smoke.