City Home  > LFD >Lakeland Fire Department News
  Search

Lakeland Fire Department News

rss

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


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.



LFD is Proud to Announce its Fire-Service Opportunity and Career for Underprivileged Students Scholarship Program (F.O.C.U.S.)

 The department is excited to announce that it has developed and implemented a scholarship program to assist homeless Polk County seniors in high school and recent graduates. The program is intended to and designed to provide the opportunity at a successful adult life through a career in the fire service. The fire service has provided many firefighters with a successful career and enriching experiences. It is the hope that through this program the same can be afforded to a deserving young person.

The scholarship program was born from the department’s desire to help those in need in its community while at the same time addressing desires to develop a workforce that is more representative of its community. In its inaugural year, several compelling applicants came to the selection committee’s attention, and two candidates were selected: Ariel Brant (18, Female) and Owen Forbes Nieves (19, Male), both Polk County School’s graduates who begin classes on August 21, 2014 thanks to the scholarship.

LFD became affiliated with Polk County Public Schools’ Homeless Education Advocates Restoring the Hope (HEARTH) project approximately two years ago. The HEARTH project is a special division within the school system to provide support for students that meet the school boards’ definition of homelessness.

The program is not a guarantee for employment. Although they are encouraged to apply with LFD upon their successful completion of fire standards and meeting all necessary requirements, they are in no way guaranteed employment and must be hired on their own merit. No guarantees are made in regards to their passing or failing of the course. Mentorships will be provided to the students by LFD firefighters to help contribute to their success, although responsibility of succeeding is entirely on the selected candidates.

This opportunity is possible through partnerships with other public service and educational organizations in Polk County. The opportunity was offered to all Polk County students that meet the school boards’ definition of homelessness. For detailed information on the application process, the scholarship, and expectations please visit http://goo.gl/LUm3uT.

 


The interesting work the department's SWAT Medic team does was featured in Lakeland's The Ledger newspaper. The story focused on training the department's paramedics undergo not only to protect humans but their furry friends too. In this case, the SWAT medics are learning techniques to help K-9 units in the event the dog of an officer is injured. 

Read the entire article and enjoy photos here. 


Lakeland Firefighters Will Remind Motorist School is Back in Session

 Lakeland --- Summer fun is done and school is back in session starting Monday, August 18th for Polk County students. The Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) will be promoting safety in school zones as part of its Back to School Safety Campaign, for the fifth year in a row.

On Monday, August 18th, Tuesday, August 19th, and Wednesday, August 20th, 2014, LFD personnel will be in Lakeland school zones holding signs urging drivers to:

SLOW DOWN | BUCKLE UP | NOT TEXT and DRIVE

LFD will have a fire engine and/or rescue truck and its crew posted at high visibility roadways and intersections near thirteen elementary schools in the department’s service area. 

Children will be crowding sidewalks and crossing many streets on their commute to and from school. Often in their excitement, children neglect to follow basic safety rules so it is up to motorist to be extra vigilant and to drive safely. 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 school bound pedestrians have steadily declined in Lakeland.

All emergency response units will remain in service while participating in the campaign and will continue to respond to emergencies with no interruptions in service.  


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 - 3:00 PM

Carlton Palmore Elementary

Cleveland Heights Blvd. / Westover St.

7:00 - 7:45 AM

2:30 - 3:15 PM

Cleveland Court Elementary

Edgewood Dr. /Carolina Ave.

7:00 - 7:45 AM

2:15 - 3:00 PM

Dixieland Elementary

Ariana Rd. in front of school

7:15 - 7:45 AM

2:15- 3:00 PM

Jesse Keen Elementary

Wabash Ave. in front of school

7:00 - 7:45 AM

2:15- 3:00 PM

Lincoln Avenue Academy

Lincoln Ave. / 10th St.

7:00 - 7:45 AM

2:15- 3:00 PM

North Lakeland Elementary

Robson St. / Baird Ave.

7:00 - 7:45 AM

2:30 - 3:15 PM

Philip O'Brien Elementary

Lime St. / Lake Parker Ave.

7:00 - 7:45 AM

2:30 - 3:15 PM

Rochelle School of the Arts

MLK Jr. Ave. / 10th St.

7:00 - 7:45 AM

2:00- 2:45 PM

Sleepy Hill Elementary

Griffin Rd. / Kathleen Rd.

7:00 - 7:45 AM

2:15 - 3:00 PM

Southwest Elementary

South Florida Ave. / Oak St.

7:00 - 7:45 AM

2:00- 2:45 PM

McKeel Academy Central *

North Florida Ave. / Oak St.

8:00 – 8:45 AM

3:00 – 3:45 PM

South McKeel Elementary Academy *

South Edgewood Dr. in front of school

8:00 – 8:45 AM

2:45 – 3:30 PM


* McKeel Academy Central and South McKeel Academy begin school on Thursday, August 14 and Friday, August 15 and will be visited then.

All emergency response units will remain in service while participating in the campaign and will continue to respond to emergencies with no interruptions in service.  

Media Release available here





The Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) is pleased to announce that as of July 31, 2014 every one of its 141 emergency response personnel is certified in Prehospital Trauma Life Support (PHTLS).

 So what does that mean for the community the department serves? PHTLS, designed by the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT), improves the quality of trauma care provided by emergency responders and significantly decreases mortality in patients. PHTLS promotes critical thinking as the foundation of quality care by equipping practitioners with knowledge that allows them to make crucial decisions in the field regarding patient care; particularly useful when every second counts. The high level of skills developed by PHTLS training will also allow EMT’s to recognize traumatic injuries and illness in the field so that patients can be better prioritized based on their needs.

What makes this accomplishment so significant is that for most fire departments that offer emergency medical services, PHTLS is typically reserved for Paramedics because of their ability to offer Advanced Life Support (ALS) services.  To better bridge the gap in the level of service provided between Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) in the field, the Lakeland Fire Department resolved to train every one of its emergency responders in PHTLS. This accomplishment makes LFD one of the few fire departments in the region to have every emergency responder trained in Prehospital Trauma Life Support, further contributing to the exceptional level of emergency medical care it provides to the residents and visitors of Lakeland.

The Lakeland Fire Department became an approved NAEMT training site in early 2014, allowing the PHTLS training effort to take place in July 2014, provided by a team of the department’s paramedics who are certified NAEMT instructors. The PHTLS program is recognized internationally as the premier prehospital education program. It was developed and provided by the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians, which is the national professional association that represents all EMT’s and Paramedics.



The Lakeland Fire Department is very proud to announce and congratulate Driver Engineer Stuart Curk on becoming the first certified Aircraft Master Firefighter at LFD! D/E Curk is a highly knowledgeable veteran of the department, with over 34 years of service. D/E Curk is far too humble to ever bring attention to himself, but the department is proud to share the good news with the community! 


The Airport Master Firefighter (A.M.F.) certification is a significant one to have because it serves to show that the firefighter has mastered the Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting body of knowledge essential to manage an airport emergency, an airport fire department, and its administration and management.

The certification program requires several years of experience as an airport firefighter in addition to several years of regular firefighting experience, the completion of a 40+ hour training program, the completion of three National Incident Management System (NIMS) courses, and successfully passing a grueling 150 question exam that can only be taken once. Phew! No easy task. 

This certification is beneficial to the people of Lakeland and those served by the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, in having a highly knowledgeable firefighter in the event of an emergency situation.

The American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) and the Aircraft Rescue Firefighting Working Group (ARFFWG), collectively known as the ARFF Training Alliance, designed this certification to enhance the knowledge and career ambitions of Aircraft Rescue Fighters regardless of rank. It is a self-study program structured to provide ARFF personnel with an enhanced knowledge of ARFF Operations. If you would like to learn more visit http://goo.gl/pMvAqW .

 


On Friday, July 25, 2014, the Lakeland Fire Department promoted four Firefighters to Driver Engineers in a joint ceremony held at Station 1. The ceremony marks a major career transition for the selected firefighters.

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

Promoted were James Stovall, Luis Hernandez, Matt Burns, and Zac Duncan.

James Stovall has been with the Lakeland Fire Department as a firefighter since 2002, but has served with the City of Lakeland since 1995 having worked with Lakeland Electric prior to his transition to the fire service. The Lakeland native, born and raised, is a graduate of Lake Gibson High School. An avid athlete, James went on to attend and play baseball for Polk State College where he received his associate’s degree. Prior to the fire service he served in several different capacities but always in a role where he could help the public and serve others. He has served with the Polk County School Board where he coached high school baseball.  He went on to perform field services for Lakeland Electric and attended fire standards and pursued his EMT certification while working with the City of Lakeland. He achieved his lifelong goal of becoming a firefighter in 2002 when he joined the Lakeland Fire Department.  He has served as firefighter since, prior to his promotion to Driver Engineer. He is also a valued member of the Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) team.

Luis Hernandez began his career as a firefighter with the Lakeland Fire Department in 2004 having only served with LFD since. The Chicago, Illinois native moved to Lakeland in 1990 and is a graduate of Kathleen High School. After graduation he attended Hillsborough Community College (HCC) where he obtained his EMT certification and completed Fire Standards. In an interesting connection, LFD’s Lt. Jim Thompson was one of Luis’ instructors at HCC and helped influence Luis in joining the department.  Since having joined LFD, Luis has gone on to obtain his paramedic certification at Florida Medical Training Institute and is currently pursuing his associate’s degree in nursing to become a registered nurse.  A well trained and seasoned medical professional with the department, Luis has also been awarded repeated Firefighter of the Year awards for his heroism in the field. 

Matt Burns has been part of the Lakeland Fire Department as a firefighter since October 2004. A Lakeland native, Matt graduated from George Jenkins High School in 1999. After graduation he attended Ridge Career Center where he completed Fire Standards and received his EMT certification in 2004. Since having joined LFD, Matt pursued and obtained his Paramedic Certification in 2005.

Zac Duncan has been part of the Lakeland Fire Department as a firefighter since October 2004. He has served in that capacity since then, prior to his current promotion to Driver Engineer.  Zac, a driven professional who values professional advancement, is a graduate of Polk State College from which he received his paramedic certification in 2008. He is also a member of the Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team at the department. 

Being a Driver Engineer comes with immense responsibility and four promoted will most definitely be able to live up to that responsibility based on their career thus far with LFD.

Big congratulations to all four new Driver Engineers! 

Check out photos from the ceremony here. 

 

 


The department was featured in a front page profile piece about how firefighters in the Polk County community provide animal rescue in unique situations. 

Read more about at Helping Man or Beast: For Polk Firefighters, Rescuing Animals Is Just Part of the Job

 


Commercial Structure Fire at Rubber Roller Manufacturer Finzer Roller

Lakeland --- At approximately 3:00 PM, the Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) responded to a structure fire at Finzer Roller located at 733 Kraft Road. A fire began in a rubber by-product filtration mechanism located outside of the company’s manufacturing building.

The filtration mechanism is located directly outside and adjacent to the main building where manufacturing takes place and is connected to the manufacturing building through a duct system. Although the exact cause of the fire is yet to be determined by state investigators, the fire is known to have begun in the filtration mechanism (pictures attached), likely as a result of some friction created in the normal manufacturing process. The fire did spread to the main manufacturing building as a result of the connection through the duct system but did remain contained to the ductwork.

Firefighters quickly contained the structure fire and by 3:22 PM it was out. 11 employees were working at the commercial operation at the time of the fire. All employees were safely evacuated and no injuries were reported. The incident did occur in unincorporated Lakeland in the Lakeland Fire Department’s Outside Protection Area and any further investigation will be handled by the State Fire Marshal’s Office. Finzer Roller is a rubber roller and specialty coating manufacturer.

Engines 71, 41, 21, Heavy Rescue 14, Rescue 42, Battalion 1, and county emergency medical services responded. The scene was cleared by approximately 4:45 PM. 

Photos available at facebook.com/lakelandFD

 


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