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


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. 


 


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


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


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. 


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


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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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.

 

 

 

 


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.


The Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) is pleased to announce the hiring of nine new firefighters that began duty on Monday, January 27, 2014. The new hires are filling vacancies from recent retirements of longtime LFD veterans and openings left as a result of internal promotions. 

The hiring process was highly selective because of the large pool of applicants. Nearly 200 firefighters applied during the weeklong period that applications were being accepted. Another opportunity for firefighter hopefuls will be available later this year when the department will hire nine additional firefighters in anticipation of the department’s new Fire Station # 7, currently under construction. The new station, near the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, is expected to be completed by December 2014 and will provide both Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) services to the airport as well as provide emergency services to residents and businesses in southwest Lakeland. 

“The selection process was difficult because there were many qualified candidates to choose from. Our hiring committee is confident that it selected the best available candidates and it’s comforting to know that the new rookies joining our ranks are highly skilled and qualified to continue providing the high quality emergency services our department is known for.” said Training Chief John Almskog, coordinator of the hiring effort.

Of the nine new hires one is already a certified paramedic while the other eight are Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT’s), although the eight will have the opportunity to pursue paramedic training once on the job. 

The group of new hires is a young and diverse one, serving as a good representation of the community they will be serving in Lakeland. The new additions include a female firefighter, an African-American firefighter, and a Hispanic firefighter. Additionally, a majority of the new hires hail from central Florida and are graduates of area fire academies like the Ridge Career Center Fire Academy and Hillsborough Community College Fire Academy. 

The nine new firefighters will help significantly reduce current overtime costs to maintain minimum staffing at all stations. The new hires now bring the department to a total of 161 personnel whom, last year alone, responded to nearly 20,000 calls and serve nearly 100,000 residents within the department’s service area. 

See photos of the new recruits in action here

 


Over the course of three Saturdays in January 2014, the Lakeland Fire Department’s Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) team completed live fire training at the Mac Dill Air Force Base located in Tampa, FL.

The training sessions held on January 11, 18, 25 are part of annual re-certification requirements set forth by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) so that LFD can stay in compliance as an ARFF certified fire department. Of the department’s 150 firefighters, 40 are ARFF certified and ready to respond to aircraft emergencies of any nature, particularly at Lakeland’s Lakeland-Linder Regional Airport.

 

More photos available here.