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This is the official blog of the City of Lakeland, Florida. Check back frequently to stay up to date with all that going on in our beautiful city!


Lakeland Fire Department - Celebrating 100 Years of Service: 1916 - 2016

Lakeland, FL – 2016 is turning out to be a remarkable year for the Lakeland Fire Department (LFD). The new year not only marks the first time in the department’s history that it can tout an Insurance Services Office Classification of a 1 (the highest achievable rating in emergency response that a community can receive) but it is also the year in which the Lakeland Fire Department will celebrate 100 years as a career fire department. 

This is a historic event not only for the department but for the City of Lakeland. The department was officially made a career fire department by then city commissioners who had the foresight to professionalize emergency response services through an ordinance passed on August 16, 1916.  This was done for the benefit of the community in light of several catastrophic fires that had occurred in previous years.  

To mark the significance of this achievement and as a way of sharing that pride with the Lakeland community that makes it all possible, the department will be celebrating in several cost effective ways throughout 2016 in honor of its centennial. Centennial Celebration items include:

  • Commemorative centennial badges for emergency response personnel (paid for entirely out of pocket by the individual firefighters). The badges capture the department’s rich history with patriotic flair (photo attached);
  • Custom decals for all apparatus to highlight that LFD is proud to be “Celebrating 100 years of Service”. These will be on apparatus through August of 2017;
  • Commemorative flags at all stations to highlight the centennial; 
  • The restoration of Leaping Lena, the department’s original 1938 Pirsch Fire Truck to be used at public events like the Lakeland Christmas Parade. Restoration has been ongoing for a year;
  • A centennial celebration for the entire community at Fire Station 1 on August 13, 2016. It will be a free and public event to educate the community on the department’s past and present as well as fire safety. More information about the event will be provided closer to the event date. 

For more information about the department, its history, and the ways the Lakeland Fire Department is celebrating its 100 years as a career emergency response organization, visit http://www.lakelandgov.net/lfd .

 

You are encouraged to share this information with the community. For more information, interview requests with department representatives, filming, etc. please contact PIO Janel Vasallo.

 

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Emergency Training Exercise Happening At Lakeland Air Port


A full-scale emergency exercise, designed to test the capabilities of airport and community emergency response staff in the event of an aviation incident, is being held here on Thursday, Feb. 18 from 9:00 a.m. to noon.

More than 150 individuals from 15 agencies will gather to participate in the exercise. The scenario involves a commercial aircraft unable to make an emergency landing on runway 9 but instead lands in the Airport’s solar farm, a mile west of the approach end of runway 9. Emergency agencies in and around Polk County will respond to the simulated scenario. There will be signage along Drane Field Rd. indicating that a training exercise is in progress. There will be numerous vehicles and large apparatus entering and exiting Drane Field Rd. and Hamilton Rd. along the airport’s property, where the exercise will be taking place.

The community should be advised there is no need for concern.

Uniform Method of Collection Resolution – Fire Assessment

The City Commission will consider adopting a resolution at its regularly scheduled December 15 meeting relating to the method of billing and collecting any potential fire assessment the Commission may adopt.  State law requires that a local government collecting a non-ad valorem special assessment for the first time adopt a resolution prior to January 1, or March 1 under certain circumstances, if it wishes to collect the assessment utilizing the tax bills issued for property taxes.  The proposed resolution only addresses the method of billing and collection if a fire assessment is adopted and does not constitute the actual adoption of a fire assessment.  

Further action by the City Commission, after a duly noticed public hearing, will be necessary before the official adoption of any fire assessment.

View Resolution


Lakeland’s Fire Chief Gary Ballard is New First Vice President
for the Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association


On August 5, 2014 Chief Ballard was nominated and elected by his peers to become the First Vice President for the Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association (FFCA). Having served as the West Central Regional Director and the Second Vice President for the FFCA over the past two years, Chief Ballard has the skills and knowledge to continue to lead within the organization. This new role will allow him to share his 37+ years of experience in an expanded capacity with fire service leaders from all over Florida as First Vice President.

This professional platform will allow Chief Ballard to showcase the excellent emergency services that the Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) offers the people of Lakeland, as well as create additional networking opportunities that will add to the quality and scope of LFD’s services. It is also a wonderful opportunity to lend his leadership skills to help the fire service as a whole in Florida.

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