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LFD's 2013 Firefighter of the Year Winners to be Honored April 19 and 22, 2014

Lakeland Fire Department Celebrates its 2013 Firefighter of the Year Winners

Several Firefighter of the Year awards are given annually to firefighters who demonstrate an outstanding act of heroism or service to their communities.  The awards are the Knights of Columbus Firefighter of the Year Award, the Sons of the American Revolution Heroism Award, and the Presidents Round Table Awards for Public Safety.

Winners for 2013 from the Lakeland Fire Department, which are nominated and awarded in 2014, are Firefighter/Paramedic Luis Hernandez and Driver-Engineer/Paramedic Mike Smith. These two firefighters were manning Engine 31 one fateful August evening when they were called to a general fire alarm call on the 800 block of Bella Vista Street. Upon arriving firefighters noticed signs of active smoke coming from a second story apartment. The door was locked with a dead bolt lock and although they called for forcible entry tools time was of the essence. To avoid any delay, FF Hernandez kicked down the door and both he and D/E Smith, who was serving as step-up Lieutenant that day, quickly entered the apartment to find an unconscious woman, with signs of burns and smoke inhalation. They quickly removed the woman and their quick thinking, action, and bravery is credited with having saved her life.

Firefighter/Paramedic Margaret Orozco is being recognized separately for her steady and significant work with both the state and national level Children’s Burn Foundation Camps.

These three amazing members of the LFD team were nominated by their superior officers. They will be honored for their heroism by the Sons of the American Revolution at a ceremony Saturday, April 19, 2014 at the Cleveland Heights Golf Club at 11:30 AM.

They will also be honored at the Presidents’ Roundtable Safety Officer Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at 11:30 AM at the First United Methodist Church.

These firefighters embody and live the department creed of Duty, Honor, Integrity, and Trust. Their self-less service is invaluable and greatly appreciated by the en
tire department.

Thank you to these firefighter and congratulations! 




Chili Cook-off: Firefighters Will Throw Down April 10 For a Great Cause.

Come Out and Support Your Lakeland Firefighters April 10, 2014


Interested in signing up a team? 

Click here for more information on how to register your team. Chili teams are limited to firefighters, either active or retired. All others are encouraged to come out, taste some good chili, and have a great time while raising funds for a great cause; ending illiteracy in Polk County. 

 


Now Accepting Applications from Qualified Firefighter to Fill 12 Positions

Lakeland Fire Department is Accepting Applications to Fill 12 Firefighter Positions 

Lakeland, FL --- The Lakeland Fire Department is excited to announce that beginning April 1, 2014 through April 15, 2014 it will be accepting applications to fill 12 vacant firefighter positions. 

The firefighters to be hired will fill positions left by recent retirements and will help meet personnel needs for the department’s new Fire Station 7, projected to be operational by later this year. 

The Lakeland Fire Department offers competitive pay and benefits, extensive professional development, and is an established leader in public safety in the region. As a result it is a highly desirable fire department to work for. More information about what LFD offers its employees is available at www.lakelandgov.net/lfd. 

LFD utilizes the National Testing Network (NTN) and requires a Candidate Physical Abilities Test (CPAT) of all applicants. The City of Lakeland is a drug-free work place and equal opportunity employer. 

Qualified applicants are encouraged to apply at http://www.lakelandgov.net/employmentservices/EmploymentServices/JobOpportunities.aspx. Applications are only accepted online. 


 


Three New Lieutenants Promoted in Well Attended Ceremony

On Wednesday, March 26, 2014 The Lakeland Fire Department promoted three new lieutenants in a joint ceremony held at Station 1. 
 

The well-attended ceremony was standing room only as family, friends, colleagues, and well-wishers filled the room. Guests included Mayor Howard Wiggs, several City of Lakeland Commissioners, City management members, and representatives from other city departments like Lakeland Police and Facilities. 

Promoted were Chris Farina, Dan Varner, and Jason Diaz. 

Chris Farina joined the Lakeland Fire Department on October 18, 2004 as a firefighter and was promoted to Driver Engineer January 17, 2010 prior to his most recent promotion to Lieutenant. Prior to becoming a firefighter with LFD, Chris worked with the Plant City Fire Department. Chris is a graduate of the Fire Academy at Ridge Career Center where he completed fire standards. He then pursued EMT training at Hillsborough Community College and continues to purse professional development having since received certifications as both a Fire Officer I and Fire Instructor. 

Dan Varner has been part of the Lakeland Fire Department as a firefighter since August 2004. Dan began his career in firefighting early with Bartow Fire Department as a volunteer while as an electrician in the area. He later decided to pursue Fire Standards training from Lake County Technical Center and went on to receive EMT certification from Polk State College. Dan, a driven professional who values professional advancement has since gone on to pursue and receive certifications as a Fire Officer I, Fire Inspector, Fire Instructor, Fire Fighter II. He also an avid USAR member and instructor. 

Jason Diaz began his career as a firefighter with the Lakeland Fire Department in 2005 having only served with LFD since. Prior to pursuing a career in the fire service, highly athletic Jason attended Warner Southern College where he played both college football and baseball and went on to receive a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management. After deciding to become a firefighter, Jason enrolled at the Central Florida Fire Academy where he obtained his EMT certification and completed Fire Standards. Since having joined LFD, Jason has also gone on to obtain his paramedic certification as well an Associate in Nursing Degree from Polk State College.  Highly involved at the department, he serves as a member of the USAR team, and is actively involved in training new firefighters, USAR members, and paramedics.  Additionally, he holds Fire Officer 1 and Instructor III certifications. 

Congratulations to all three new lieutenants!  

Photos from the event are available here and on LFD's Facebook Page.

Check out video from the ceremony here


Chiefs Present Update on ISO Rating and Station 7 at City Commission Meeting

Fire Chief Gary Ballard and Training Chief John Almskog presented an update on the department's newly improved ISO rating, as well as the progress of Station 7 earlier today at a regularly schedule City of Lakeland Commission meeting. 

The presentation, which kicked off the commission meeting held March 17, 2014 was designed to present a concise yet informative update on these two exciting developments happening at LFD. Several commissioners asked questions in regards to how the ISO rating is calculated, cost savings associated with the improved score, and provided favorable feedback about LFD.

Training Chief Almskog paraphrased the success these accomplishments bring the department during the presentation by saying "Lakeland Fire is not a good fire department, but rather a great fire department, that provides excellent service." The presentation made that abundantly clear.

To view the presentation and/or download a copy click here


Firefighters Respond to Residential Fire Early Friday Morning Near S. Florida and Memorial

Lakeland --- At approximately 7:45 AM, the Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) responded to a structure fire at a residence located at 614 6th Street W, Lakeland, FL. 

 

The home was occupied by owner and sole resident Beverly McChester. The resident was asleep at the time the fire broke out and was fortunately awaken by the smell of smoke, a rare occurrence. The home quickly became consumed by flames but the homeowner was able to escape unharmed through a back door. McChester was then assisted by neighbors in clearing the scene while LFD firefighters quickly arrived and put out the flames.

 

The fire is believed to have started in an unused bedroom of the two bedroom home. LFD’s fire investigators are still investigating the cause of the fire; however there is some indication that it may have been accidental in nature.  The fire caused extensive damage to the home and has been deemed a complete loss by investigators. Red Cross has provided assistance to the homeowner.

 

It was also determined the home did not have a working smoke alarm. This unfortunate incident is a good opportunity to remind residents that a working smoke alarm saves lives by providing ample notice to residents to escape in the rare event of a fire.

 

9 apparatuses and 22 LFD personnel responded to the incident. The scene was cleared by 9:10 AM.

For photos click here. 


LFD Responds to Man Injured After Smoking While Using Medical Oxygen

Lakeland Man Injured After Smoking While Using Medical Oxygen

Lakeland --- At 1:32 PM, Sunday, March 2, 2014, the Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) responded to a medical call for a 57 year old male that sustained possibly life threatening burns to his face and hands.

The event took place at the Lakeland Presbyterian Apartments located at 530 S. Florida Ave, an independent living facility for senior residents. Investigation of the incident found that the male subject was utilizing home medical oxygen while smoking which created a flash fire near the patients face, leading to the sustained injuries.

The victim was transported by ground ambulance by Polk County Fire Rescue (PCFR) to a landing zone established by LFD at a field near the Lakeland Center off of Lime Street. The victim was flown by medical helicopter to Tampa General for treatment (photo of landing area attached).
No fire damage was sustained to the patient’s apartment and the incident did not require evacuation of any other residents.

This unfortunate incident, although quite tragic is a good opportunity to educate the public on the dangers of smoking or exposing any kind of flame or incendiary near highly explosive gases like oxygen. LFD would like to remind people to keep open flames away from medical gases, like medical oxygen, and any other flammable gases.

For more safety tips on how to prevent an incident like this, click here


Two Firefighters Transition from Probationary to Regular in Tuesday Ceremony

After successfully making it through LFD's rigorous hiring process, new hire orientation, and a year long probation period that includes multiple skills, physical abilities, and knowledge assessments, Firefighters Daniel Ivancevich and Alex Sanchez celebrated their transition from probationary to regular firefighters in the company of fellow firefighters and family in a ceremony held February 11, 2014.

The ceremony marked the Firefighter's successful completion of the Personal Qualification Standards that the department uses to vet candidates. This probationary period is designed to ensure that new additions live up to the department's standards and are cut out for this difficult line of work. 

Assistant Chief Rick Hartzog presented both Firefighters with black helmets to replace the yellow ones all new rookie firefighters receive for their first year. The yellow helmets are used to easily identify new firefighters on a fire scene to the other more experienced firefighters and officers. 

Both Daniel and Alex were joined by their families and crew mates to mark this important moment in their careers with LFD.

Congratulations to both and continued success!

For photos click here.

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Firefighter Steven Murphy Helps Select Centerpiece for Lakeland’s Heroes Park

On Saturday, February 1, 2014, Firefighter Steven Murphy represented the Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) in selecting the artwork that will serve as a centerpiece for the city’s proposed Heroes ParkHeroes Park, which will be located in the vicinity of the current Veteran’s Park behind the Lakeland Center, is intended to serve as a memorial for military, fire-rescue, and law enforcement personnel.
 

FF Murphy served as a judge along with representatives from the Lakeland Police Department, Veteran’s Affairs, and the artist who will bring the rendering to life. The submissions were created by Polk County School’s students and the judging of the submission was arranged by City Commissioner Don Selvage, who is chairing the effort to have the park dedicated in honor of Lakeland’s heroes.

 

“As a collective group, we analyzed each miniature sculpture the young artist composed. Each of us had different mindsets on what we liked, but a common theme throughout was us wanting to select a piece that would embody police, fire, and military in the sculpture and not just one group. We narrowed the field down to six and chose a winner from there. The winning sculpture is going to be three individual sheets of steel standing vertical in line with one another. One piece of steel has a child, the next a couple embracing, and lastly an adult service person. The pieces of steel will be cut and positioned so you can see the child and couple through the silhouette of the service person. It is a very interesting three dimensional piece that shows respect for all facets of honorable service.” explained Firefighter Murphy in reference to how the selection was made.

 

Lakeland Fire Department representatives plan to be involved throughout the entire planning process to provide input from a firefighter’s perspective.

 

 

 

 


LPD Officers Receive Heroism Award for their Actions on Fire Scene

Lakeland Police Department (LPD) Officers Jaime Smith and Kevin Parker received the City of Lakeland’s Heroism Award after being nominated for their actions by Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) Fire Inspector Shannon Turbeville, who at the time of the incident was serving as Fire Lieutenant on a responding engine. 

Mayor Howard Wiggs and Sgt. Harper presented the two officers the Heroism Award at the Monday, February 03, 2014 City Commission Meeting. The officers were recognized for their efforts involving a fire that occurred on November 23, 2013 in a room at the Hyatt Place located near the Lakeland Center. These two officers were the first to arrive on the scene. Parker and Smith unselfishly went to the fire floor and announced an evacuation of all the guests. They then went to the room where the fire originated and made sure the occupants were evacuated and cleared the floor of guests. They met firefighters in the lobby and informed them of the situation and assisted in a room by room evacuation of the fire floor.

Inspector Turbeville was impressed by their dedication to ensuring everyone’s safety and their selfless act of rushing into a fire affected area, even in the absence of formal fire training, in the critical early moments of the incident. So much so, that he immediately thought to recognize the two officers for their efforts through the City’s recognition program.

A big congratulations goes out to Officers Smith and Parker. Thank you from the Lakeland Fire Department. 

Officers Parker and Smith with Inspector Turbeville after the award presentation.