A new plaque proudly hangs on the walls of ACC’s Health Sciences building at Eastview Campus — celebrating five years of making a difference in the community. The Austin Fire Department (AFD) presented the special plaque to Austin Community College District (ACC) on Saturday, February 24, 2024, to recognize the partnership between AFD and ACC that’s been improving the lives of the most vulnerable residents in Central Texas through the Red Angels Program since 2018. 

“We are very proud to be a part of this partnership and of the great work that Red Angels has done in our community,” says John Nation, ACC professor of Professional Nursing. “Participating in AFD’s Red Angels program allows our students to gain valuable community health experience as part of their coursework while serving our community, and we look forward to continuing to offer this great opportunity to our students.”

Nation joined other ACC Nursing faculty and students to accept the gift from AFD Assistant Chief Richard Davis, Lt. Kevin Glover, and Theresa Sifuentes. Mackenzie Kelly, Austin City Council Member District 6, also attended the event to present a proclamation from the City of Austin to honor the program’s commitment to the city. 

The Red Angels program focuses on the most at-risk areas of Austin. ACC students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing and AFD firefighters go into homes together to conduct health checks, including blood pressure and glucose screenings, check the homes for fire hazards, and update smoke detectors. Following each check, AFD provides the resident with a booklet that includes information on where to find ongoing free health support, food, clothes, etc., to reduce non-emergent calls to first responders. 

“The Austin Fire Department Red Angels Program (RAP) was created to expand community outreach efforts,” says Davis. “In collaboration with the Austin Community College Nursing program, RAP has been an excellent avenue for providing nursing students with community engagement opportunities that utilize a youthful approach to addressing community risks that coincide with fire safety, public health, and enhanced awareness of social support networks. This program has assisted countless community members since its start in 2018.”

Students in ACC’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program work side-by-side with the AFD for the Red Angels program. Together, they provide free in-home safety and health screenings. In the five years of ACC’s RN-to-BSN program supporting the Red Angels program, over 75 ACC students have assisted. 

“I had a great experience with the APD Red Angles as I had the opportunity to reach out and help people in the community. I felt that we were making a real difference in the community as we were actively reaching out to help out community members. The APD Red Angels program enabled us to interact with and leave a positive impact on the community,” says Jacob Hudson, ACC RN-to-BSN student.

The RN-to-BSN program addresses a critical nursing shortage in Central Texas and creates a new advancement pathway for local registered nurses (RN). Registered nurses with an associate degree or diploma can complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).

 For more information about the program and to apply, visit austincc.edu/bsn.