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Lakeland Fire Department News

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Keeping you informed of what's new with the LFD.


Stay Safe This 4th of July by Leaving the Fireworks to the Professionals

This 4th of July, the Lakeland Fire Department encourages you to stay safe. Each July Fourth, thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured while using consumer fireworks. Despite the dangers of fireworks, few people understand the associated risks - devastating burns, other injuries, fires, and even death.

 

NFPA's Dan Doofus urges people not to use consumer fireworks because they are too dangerous. Fireworks are responsible for thousands of fires and injuries each year.
Fireworks by the numbers
  • In 2011, fireworks caused an estimated 17,800 reported fires, including 1,200 total structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 outside and other fires. These fires resulted in an estimated eight reported civilian deaths, 40 civilian injuries and $32 million in direct property damage.
  • In 2012, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 8,700 people for fireworks related injuries; 55% of 2012 emergency room fireworks-related injuries were to the extremities and 31% were to the head.
  • The risk of fireworks injury was highest for young people ages 15-24, followed by children under 10.
  • On Independence Day in a typical year, far more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day, and fireworks account for two out of five of those fires, more than any other cause of fires.

Source: NFPA’s Fireworks report, by John R. Hall, Jr., June 2013
Source: NFPA’s Fireworks Fact Sheet, Fire Analysis and Research Division, June 2014



"Move Over" Law Amended To Include Other Public Workers in addition to Public Safety Workers

The MOVE OVER law requires motorist to move aside or slow down to less than 20 miles per hour of posted speed limit if moving isn't possible. This law helps protect the lives of public safety workers on roads. 

The Lakeland Fire Department has had several close calls. There have been incidents where motorist have hit LFD fire apparatus set up to help victims during car accidents, and it could have seriously injured or killed a LFD firefighter on scene. 

Effective today, July 1st, the amended MOVE OVER ACT adds utility service vehicles and sanitation vehicles to the list of public safety vehicles motorists must already slow down or move over for to protect personnel. 

Under the new law, motorists are required to:

Approach law enforcement patrol cars, emergency vehicles, utility service vehicles, sanitation vehicles, and tow trucks/wreckers with caution.

Change lanes away from these vehicles if traveling on a multi-lane roadway and able to move over safely; or
Slow down to a speed that is 20 mph less than the posted speed limit, when a clearly identified emergency or work-crew vehicle is parked and crews are working.

Violating the Move Over Act can result in a fine and points on your license.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles offers more information on the law online at http://www.flhsmv.gov/safetytips/moveovertips.htm

The city of Lakeland's Communications team developed an advertisement campaign to help spread the word about the changes. Featured in the print media is LFD's very own Lt. Heath Seeber, representing the fire service's interest in the life saving law. 


Fire Inspector Anthony "Tony" Parrish Retires After 27 Years of Service

On June 30, 2014 the Lakeland Fire Department bid a fond retirement-farewell to a 27 year veteran of the force, Anthony Parrish. Tony, as he is known to everyone at LFD, began his career in 1987 as a firefighter and served in that capacity through 2006, when he went on to serve as a Fire Inspector until his retirement Monday, June 30. A valued member of the fire safety management division, Tony performed fire safety inspections, fire investigations, and reviewed building plans in the northern Lakeland zone he served.

He was joined by well-wishers made up of family, friends, and colleagues at his retirement ceremony held at Fire Station 1. He is looking forward to enjoying his retirement and says he plans on spending time enjoying his hobbies which include fishing, scalloping, swimming, boating, and even a little bit of yard work.

Congratulations Tony Parrish and thank you for your many years of dedicated service to the people of Lakeland.



Commemorative Firefighter Sculpture Fundraiser, June 30, 2014.

Join LFD on Monday, June 30 at Il Forno Italian Restaurant. For $10 patrons will receive a spaghetti and meatball dinner, garlic bread, and a drink. All of it will be served up by Lakeland's Firefighters. The proceeds will go towards the creation of a commemorative sculpture to honor firefighters that will be located in front of Station 1 and off of Lake Mirror. 

The event is sponsored by Il Forno Italian Restaurant Thank you to them for their support! 

For tickets call Pam Todd at 863-834-8364. Tickets can also be purchased at the door.

Read more about the project here. 





All LFD Engines and Rescue Trucks Now Offer Advanced Life Support

The Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) is pleased to announce that as of May 22, 2014 every frontline fire engine and rescue truck in its service area is now a fully equipped Advanced Life Support (ALS) unit. This effort spearheaded and accomplished by the department’s Rescue Division means the people of Lakeland will receive the highest level of available emergency medical care. 

The journey to convert the Lakeland Fire Department from Basic Life Support (BLS) to ALS services began in 2003 with select units in the department’s busiest areas becoming ALS units. As of 2:00 PM May 22, 2014, the transition to a completely ALS non-transport medical-rescue service was complete. 

The difference between BLS and ALS care is significant. ALS care administered by LFD’s highly trained paramedics will allow advanced emergency and trauma care in the field, including but certainly not limited to treatment like advanced cardiac life support, treatment with pharmaceuticals, and advanced airway therapy. This advanced care is the highest quality pre-hospital treatment available for patients, whereas with Basic Life Support care only minimal care such as CPR, defibrillation, bandaging, and oxygen administration can be provided.  

“The heart of the fire service is to serve people in their most vulnerable moments. Throughout the years the fire service has evolved to meet the needs of society which included emergency medical care.  Our recent accomplishment has provided the citizens and visitors of Lakeland with the highest level of pre-hospital emergency medical care available to date.” said Rescue Chief Shane Reynolds who was instrumental in coordinating and completing the ALS transition. 

Another item of distinction in LFD’s record of exceptional emergency medical care is the fact that of its 141 emergency response personnel, 63 are paramedics with more anticipated to be certified in the coming year. 


LFD Participated in Grand Opening; Raised $1,000 For Charity

Lakeland Firefighters joined in some fun competition to raise money for a great cause. A new Wawa convenience store opened in North Lakeland and along with the Grand Opening festivities came a Heroes Hoagie Building Contest. Teams from LFD, Lakeland PD, and the Polk County Sherrif's Office competed to see who could assemble 25 hoagies the quickest. In exchange for their participation each team received $1,000 donated in their name to the charity of their choice. 

LFD chose to donate the $1,000 to The Hearth Project. The group helps homeless students in Polk County Schools. The money will be used to help students meet their basic needs like the purchase of clothing and personal sundries, testing fees for college acceptance and jobs, transportation, and much more. To learn more about The Hearth Project visit http://www.polk-fl.net/districtinfo/departments/learning/title1/hearth.htm .

The well attended event was a great way for LFD to give back and show support for new jobs and industry in Lakeland. Thanks to all of the supportive community members, Wawa for their donation, and to city officials who helped make it happen.

 

Additional photos can be found on LFD's Facebook page

 


LFD Saves Injured Bald Eagle in South Lakeland

Update, June 4, 2014:

The Eagle is Ready to Fly to Coop! The eagle rescued on May 13, 2014 in a joint effort by LFD, Parks and Recreation, Polk County Animal Control, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, and others has garnered quite the following. Wildlife lovers are eager to know how the rescued eagle has come along and we have some exciting news to share…

On Friday, June 6, 2014 the American Bald Eagle, pictured below, will be released into the wild. The little fellow has healed up nicely according to his caretakers at animal rescue organization Woodland Wonders (www.woodlandwonders.org), an organization that works closely with FWC to rehabilitate injured wildlife.
The 7.6 lbs eagle had no fractures but did have some abrasions on its left wing. He was medicated for soreness and bruising. Over the past few weeks he has resumed eating well and regular activities like flying, so caretakers feel confident that he is ready to return to the wild.

The release event will take place at Lakeland’s Holloway Park at 2402 Linden Ave at 9:00 AM.
Lakeland Fire Department crews played a big role in saving the eagle and will be in attendance to commemorate the special moment.

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Lakeland --- At approximately 7:00 AM, the Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) responded to a unique call for help to rescue an American Bald Eagle that had become entangled in wire and trapped in a pine tree behind 3902 Cheverly Drive West, Lakeland FL.

The bald eagle, who homeowners say is a resident, is often seen perching on trees near and around the lake at the center of the community. The eagle tangled its left wing in a wire-like material that was attached to the tree. The tree hangs over the water of the lake bank it sits on. The specific material of the wire the eagle was caught in is unconfirmed; however it was not fishing line.

The eagle, exhausted from its attempts to flee had grown exhausted and in the process caused damage to its left wing. The homeowners at the property called for assistance and in the process a cooperative rescue effort was formed with city and state agencies. In addition to the Lakeland Fire Department’s Battalion Chief and crew from Engine 21 others lending a hand included City of Lakeland Parks and Recreation crew members, biologists with the Fish and Wildlife Commission, Polk County Animal Control, several volunteers from local birding and wildlife groups, and residents from the community.

Parks and Recreation crew members securely climbed the pine tree and were able to successfully cut the eagle loose while Battalion Chief Mike Williams navigated a kayak directly underneath the tree on the lake to retrieve the eagle using a fishing net to retrieve the fallen bird. This was well planned prior to execution and rescue personnel were in place prior to any attempt at cutting the wire free. Additionally the Fish and Wildlife Commission’s biologist and PC Animal Control representative were waiting ashore to provide immediate assistance. The rescue was a success.

Once ashore rescuers were able to secure the eagle that will be rehabilitated by Fish and Wildlife Commission officials before being released back into the wild.

In unique situations like these, LFD is often called to assist due to the specialized equipment and training the emergency response personnel is prepared with.

Additional photos of the rescue can be found on LFD’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/lakelandfd.



14 Young Firefighters Celebrate Their Successful First Year

The Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) recently marked an important moment in the career of 14 of its newer members. Ceremonies were held for firefighters hired in May 2013 to mark a successful first year with the department and their transition from “Rookie” Firefighters to “Regular” Firefighters.

These 14 firefighters successfully made it through LFD's rigorous hiring process, new hire orientation, and a yearlong probation period that includes multiple skills, physical abilities, and knowledge assessments. Firefighters Ritenour, Parente, Polk, Knoll, Vinzant, Murphy, Helms, Hayes, Kiddey, McBrayer, Baldwin, Dougherty, Woods, and Hendley celebrated their transition from probationary to regular firefighters in the company of family, friends, and colleagues. 

The ceremonies held May 5-7, 2014, mark the completion of the Personal Qualification Standards that the department uses to vet only the finest candidates. This probationary period is designed to ensure that new additions live up to the department's standards and are cut out for a difficult line of work in the fire service

LFD is experiencing rejuvenation in its workforce with these 14 young firefighters coming onboard last year, 7 additional new firefighters hired in January of 2014, and the anticipated hiring of 12 more by the end of the year. The new hires to come will fill vacancies left by retirements and meet staffing needs for the department's much anticipated new Fire Station 7, which will be operational by December. 

More photos from the event can be seen at the department's Facebook page here.

 


Join LFD at June 6 First Friday Event: Guns 'n Hoses

RESCHEDULED FOR JUNE 6, 2014: The much anticipated public safety themed First Friday event originally planned for May 2, 2014 at 6 PM has been cancelled due to inclement weather, but don't worry! The event has been rescheduled for the next First Friday event on June 6, 2014. So please, join us then!

The Lakeland Fire Department will be out in full force for the June 6, 2014 First Friday event! The monthly event, designed to promote Downtown Lakeland, will feature not only LFD but also the Lakeland Police Department to showcase the City of Lakeland's two public safety agencies. The evening, billed as Guns 'n Hoses, will feature apparatuses like Tower 15, Heavy Rescue 14, Medical Rescue, Engine 11, and ARFF Truck 1. LFD will also have live extrication demos, photo opportunities with Sparky the Fire Dog, firefighters in bunker gear, fire safety and career information, and so much more! 

The event will begin at 6:00 PM and end at 9:00 PM and is free to everyone. Bring the family, invite friends, and join LFD and LPD for a night in beautiful Downtown Lakeland. 

Find more information about the event here. 


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!