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The latest happenings in your city government.


Bells Will Ring in Lakeland for 3rd Annual Bells Across America for Fallen Firefighters

Lakeland – For the third year, the entire country is invited to come together as one community to honor the memory of those firefighters who died in the line of duty and reassure their loved ones that their firefighter will not be forgotten by participating in the Bells Across America for Fallen Firefighters remembrance. 

The Lakeland Fire Department will join the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF), other fire departments, and community groups from coast to coast in this poignant tribute as part of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend. The moment of remembrance will occur on Sunday, October 6, 2013 at 10:00 AM at all Lakeland fire stations and at participating locations throughout the Lakeland area. This day also marks the beginning of Fire Prevention Week. 

“It is with great sadness that we ring these bells for fellow firefighters who have fallen in the line of duty. It allows us to reflect on the ultimate sacrifice they have made for their communities. It is my hope and desire to never have to ring a bell again because of a firefighter perishing while serving.” said Lakeland Fire Chief Gary Ballard. 

“The ringing of bells has a powerful meaning to firefighters. Not only do bells signal the beginning or end of a call, they also were used to notify department members that one of their own had died while serving the community.” explained Chief Ronald Siarnicki, executive director of the NFFF. 

Hundreds of fire departments, places of worship and other groups participated in Bells Across America for Fallen Firefighters over the past two years. 

 


Congrats to Wayne Epperson on his promotion to Battalion Chief for the Lakeland Fire Department

 

On Wednesday, September 4, 2013 long time veteran of the Lakeland Fire Department (LFD), Wayne Epperson, was promoted to the officer position of Battalion Chief.   

Bat. Chief Epperson was joined by family, friends, colleagues, and an extended network of City of Lakeland representatives, including Mayor Gow Fields, to celebrate his professional advancement.

Wayne began his career with the LFD in 1985 and served as a firefighter, fire instructor, driver-engineer, and lieutenant, having held the latter position for 17 years. Speakers at the ceremony including Fire Chief Gary Ballard, Assistant Chief Rick Hartzog, Bat. Chief Mike Williams, and Bat. Chief Jeff Wharton all concurred that Bat. Chief Epperson is one of the most honest, dedicated, and deserving individuals they know within the organization. Wayne has been heavily involved with training efforts throughout his career and through his many years of experience and leadership will undoubtedly further elevate the position.

 

A big congratulations to Wayne Epperson and sincere thanks to him for the many years of dedicated service he has provided the people of Lakeland.

 


Fire Chief Gary Ballard selected as the Second Vice President for the Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association (FFCA)


Lakeland Fire Chief Gary Ballard has given the City of Lakeland one more reason to be proud. On July 24 Chief Ballard was selected as the Second Vice President for the Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association (FFCA). Having served as the West Central Regional Director for the FFCA in years past, Chief Ballard will now be able to share his 36+ years of experience in an expanded capacity with fire service leaders from all over Florida as Vice President.

This professional platform will allow Chief Ballard to showcase the excellent emergency services that the Lakeland Fire Department offers the people of Lakeland, as well as create additional networking opportunities that will add to the quality of the fire department’s services. 

The FFCA is made up of fire and emergency professionals from all ranks representing all regions of Florida. The association’s mission is to promote and support excellence in fire & emergency services. The association does so by recognizing the fields best and brightest, offering scholarships, fundraising for charity, and providing professional development. With Chief Ballard in this new leadership position, he will undoubtedly continue to expand those efforts.

Congratulations to Chief Ballard and sincere thanks for increasing the City of Lakeland’s presence throughout the state.


Lakeland Firefighters Promoting Safety by Reminding Motorists that School is Back in Session


LAKELAND -- On Monday, August 19th, Tuesday, August 20th, and Wednesday, August 21st, 2013, the Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) will be promoting driving safety by reminding motorist that they should slow down and buckle up in consideration of school being back in session. The LFD will have a fire engine and/or rescue truck positioned at the busiest intersections near thirteen elementary schools in the department’s coverage area. 

Firefighters will be holding signs encouraging safe driving by reminding motorist to drive slowly in school zones and to buckle up. Firefighters will be stationed at high visibility roadways and intersections near the schools.   The Lakeland Fire Department’s goal is to ensure that no child is injured this school year by a negligent driver.  Since the beginning of this safety campaign in 2009, incidents involving motorist striking pedestrians have steadily declined.  

LFD apparatus and firefighters will be targeting the following schools at these intersections:

           

Lakeland Area Elementary School

Targeted Roadway / Intersection

Campaign Hours During Student Drop Off

Campaign Hours During Student Pick Up

Blake Academy

Hartsell Ave. / Sikes Blvd.

7:00 - 7:45 AM

2:15 - 3:15 PM

Carlton Palmore Elementary

Cleveland Heights Blvd. / Westover St.

7:00 - 7:45 AM

2:15 - 3:15 PM

Cleveland Court Elementary

Edgewood Dr. /Carolina Ave.

7:00 - 7:45 AM

2:15 - 3:15 PM

Dixieland Elementary

Ariana Rd. in front of school

7:00 - 7:45 AM

2:00- 3:00 PM

Jesse Keen Elementary

Wabash Ave. in front of school

7:00 - 7:45 AM

2:00- 3:00 PM

Lincoln Avenue Academy

Lincoln Ave. / 10th St.

7:00 - 7:45 AM

2:00- 3:00 PM

North Lakeland Elementary

Robson St. / Baird Ave.

7:00 - 7:45 AM

2:15 - 3:15 PM

Philip O'Brien Elementary

Lime St. / Lake Parker Ave.

7:00 - 7:45 AM

2:15 - 3:15 PM

Rochelle School of the Arts

MLK Jr. Ave. / 10th St.

7:00 - 7:45 AM

2:00- 3:00 PM

Sleepy Hill Elementary

Griffin Rd. /Kathleen Rd.

7:00 - 7:45 AM

2:15 - 3:15 PM

Southwest Elementary

South Florida Ave. / Oak St.

7:00 - 7:45 AM

2:00- 3:00 PM

* McKeel Academy Central

North Florida Ave. / Oak St.

8:00 – 9:00 AM

2:30 – 3:30 PM

* South McKeel Elementary

Academy

South Edgewood Dr. in front of school

8:00 – 9:00 AM

2:45 – 3:45 PM

 

* McKeel and South McKeel will be visited on Thursday, August 15 and Friday, August 16 for their first days of school. 

All of our units will remain available to respond to emergencies during these times. For more information contact Janel Vasallo at (863)834-8219 or Janel.vasallo@lakelandgov.net.