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Lakeland Fire Department News

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


 

The Lakeland Fire Department sponsored its annual toy drive from November 25 through December 18, 2013 to benefit the Dream Center and Children’s Home Society charities of Lakeland. The joint effort, sponsored by both the department and the Fire Link  community group, made up of LFD firefighter spouses, gathered several hundred toys and desired items for Lakeland’s children in need in this year’s drive.

LFD staff and Fire Link members were happy to be able to deliver over a truck load of toys to both charities, respectively. Generous donations were made by both LFD personnel as well as many community members who made donations at several of the fire station’s drop boxes.

The toys donated to the Children’s Home Society will be distributed to the over 200 foster children the nonprofit organization helps throughout the greater Lakeland area. 

Items donated to the Dream Center will be distributed on Friday, December 20th to families in need just in time for the holidays, and prior to the toy distribution the LFD participated in a Cookies and Cocoa event on Thursday, December 19th to share some holiday cheer with Lakeland residents in the 5th and Lincoln area. Cookies and warm drinks were served, with appearances by Sparky the Firehouse Dog, and Engine tours for residents. 

Additional pictures are available here

Firefighters at St. 6 with the large amount of toys they provided.

 

St.1 Crew with Fire Chief Ballard and Fire Marshall Bass

 

The Fire Safety Management Team with donated goodies

Toys Donated by St. 4 

Lt. Chuck Davis loading up the goods for donation

The Children's Home Society Staff accepting the donations

Toys at their final destination, the Dream Center of Lakeland

 

 


On Tuesday, December 17, 2013 in a well-attended retirement ceremony, the Lakeland Fire Department bid a fond farewell to Driver Engineer (D/E) Dean Ayscue. The ceremony featured touching speeches by Fire Chief Gary Ballard, Battalion Chief Wayne Epperson, several lieutenants and fellow firefighters. Assistant City Manager Brad Johnson was in attendance to present Dean with a plaque recognizing his 32 years of service to the City of Lakeland. Driver Engineer Ayscue was joined at the ceremony by his lovely wife Penny of 37 years, his three children Hope, Brad, and Gary, and his six grandchildren.

D/E Ayscue enjoyed a long career with LFD starting in 1983 and was one of the more senior members of the department upon his retirement. Fellow firefighters shared funny and touching stories about Dean’s athleticism, dedication to the job, excellent performance, and his devout faith. Dean serves as a Deacon at his church and plans to focus not only on that but also on his hobbies which include fishing, golfing, softball, and travelling. He also looks forward to the additional time he will have to spend with his family and working on the long honey-do list that awaits him at home.

Congratulations and sincere thanks to Dean for his many years of selfless and dedicated service to the people of Lakeland. 

 


On Wednesday, December 4, 2013 Shannon Turbeville was promoted to Fire Inspector in a well-attended ceremony. Well-wishers included Mayor Gow Fields and both the deputy and assistant city managers. Speakers shared fun stories about Inspector Turbeville’s time with LFD and remarked on the great job they believe he will do due to his eye for detail and organizational skills. 

Shannon Turbeville joined the Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) on October 4, 1999 as a firefighter and was promoted to Driver Engineer in 2006 prior to his promotion to Fire Inspector and Investigator. Inspector Turbeville has consistently sought out opportunities for professional development having received several certifications including Fire Officer I, Fire Safety Inspector, Fire Instructor, Public Information Officer, and Aircraft Rescue & Fire Fighting. He has also successfully completed the Lakeland Fire Department Fire Officer Leadership Development Program.   

Shannon is a Lakeland native, born and raised, having attended and graduated from Lakeland Christian High School prior to seeking a career in the fire service. Shannon received fire standards and completed his Associate of Science degree in Fire Science from Hillsborough Community College in 1998 and completed EMT training in 1999.   Shannon, who happily lives and serves in the community he calls, has been married to his wife Melissa for 14 years and has three growing boys, Nathan, Matthew, and Kenneth. Shannon enjoys boating and hunting during his free time. 

Congratulations Inspector Turbeville!


This joyous time of year is marked primarily by gift giving holidays like Christmas, Hanukah, and Kwanza and for many it is a time to celebrate family, friends, and everything they are thankful for but for some families in need it can be a distressing time due to not having the resources to provide gifts and toys for their children.

Firefighter’s by nature are selfless, giving, and truly dedicated to helping others before themselves so it comes as no surprise that the Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) will be once again sponsoring its annual toy drive to benefit families in need in the Lakeland area. The toy drive will benefit the Dream Center and the Children’s Home Society, respectively, who will provide distribution of the collected gifts to needy families in the Lakeland area.  

Collection boxes are located at all 7 of Lakeland’s Fire Stations and the Fire Administration Building. Community members are encouraged to bring an unwrapped gift for a child 18 years old and under to any of the drop off locations. 

The collection boxes will be available at the fire stations from November 25, 2013 through December 11, 2013.

All donations of new unwrapped gifts are welcome and appreciated.

For drop off locations click here. 



The Lakeland Fire Department conducted the official groundbreaking ceremony for Fire Station 7 on Monday, November 18th at 1:30 p.m. (3150 Drane Field Road)

Fire Station 7 is estimated to be completed in late 2014. Once the facility is built it will house the recently purchased Fire Engine 71, the two ARFF units, a heavy rescue vehicle and nine personnel on a 24-hour rotation. 

Lakeland Fire Chief Gary Ballard said, “Our design team has developed a station that will meet the safety needs of the airport, the needs of our residents and the commercial development around the airport.” He added, “We are very eager to start providing much needed service to the citizens in Southwest Lakeland with the new permanent facility.” It is important to add that the effort to build a new Station 7 was prompted by a grassroots effort by nearby residents of Carillon Lakes after a fire early last year. 

The construction costs for Station 7 are $3.5 million. The station once built will be 15,900 sq.ft. and it will house five bays and four fire fighting vehicles. The station is estimated to be completed in late 2014 and it is being funded through City of Lakeland Public Improvement Funds and FDOT Grant funds.

 

The groundbreaking ceremony also provided a venue for Fire Chief Gary Ballard to announce that the Lakeland Fire Department has improved its ISO Mitigation (Fire Suppression Rating Score). More information in regards to the announcement will become available once the executive summary is provided to the LFD.

 

Watch the entire ceremony here. 

Additional photos are available here.  

Media Coverage for the event available here.

 


On Wednesday, November 13, 2013 Firefighter Steven Connors was promoted to Driver Engineer.

Steve Connors has been an integral part of the LFD since March 29, 2010. Steve understands the importance of duty and service to country very well, having joined the United States Army at the young age of 17 where he went on to serve with the 1st Ranger Battalion and 82nd Airborne Division prior to joining the LFD. 

Connors, a Ruskin, Florida native is an avid outdoorsman having spent his childhood fishing and hunting along this great state’s creeks and rivers. He proudly uses that experience and skill to his advantage at the annual Fire Olympics with repeated attempts to dethrone Gilman, Herndon and Brannen. 

He is an East Bay High School graduate and has since gone on to receive his Associate of Arts degree from Hillsborough Community College and holds certification in law enforcement, fire standards, and is a paramedic. Steve credits his ability to have become a Driver Engineer to the training and support of his crew and all of his family at the LFD. Steve notes that he will deeply miss his brothers and sisters on B shift due the move from this new opportunity but looks forward to the day he can work closely with them again.

Congratulations to Steven Connors and sincere thanks for his dedicated service. 



 



 


The Lakeland Fire Department will conduct the official groundbreaking ceremony for Fire Station 7 on Monday, November 18th at 1:30 p.m.  The physical location of Station 7 is 3150 Drane Field Road.

The current station is housed in a temporary facility at the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport until the new state of the art fire station is ushered in by late 2014. The building will stand out compared to the department’s other stations due to its modern and environmentally conscious design.  Once the facility is built it will house the recently purchased Fire Engine 71, the two ARFF units, a heavy rescue vehicle and nine personnel on a 24-hour rotation. 

Lakeland Fire Chief Gary Ballard said, “Our design team has developed a station that will meet the safety needs of the airport, the needs of our residents and the commercial development around the airport.” He added, “We are very eager to start providing much needed service to the citizens in Southwest Lakeland with the new permanent facility.”

The construction costs associated with Station 7 are $3.5 million.  The station once built will be 15,900 sq.ft. and it will house five bays and four fire fighting vehicles.  The station is estimated to be completed November 2014 and it is being funded through City of Lakeland Public Improvement Funds and FDOT Grant funds.

The public is welcome to attend the groundbreaking ceremony, marking a historic event for the Lakeland Fire Department.

 


The Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) is proud to be able to honor veterans and recognize the many service men and women who have sacrificed very much in name of country and duty. The LFD employs many military veterans from all five branches of service and is excited to be able to participate in the upcoming Lakeland Veterans Day Parade, scheduled for Saturday, November 9, 2013 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Tower Truck 15 flanked by Fire Administration and Fire Fighting Personnel will lead the parade procession. 

In addition to the departments participation in the parade, which has become an annual tradition, the LFD will also be participating in the Lakeland area Honor Flight reception scheduled for Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 8:00 PM. The event is organized by the Polk County Veterans Council. The reception will be attended by community members, Polk County School's JROTC groups, former military personnel, community organizations like the fire department, and many others to welcome back area WWII veterans who will be returning from visiting the National World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. .

Particularly exciting is that two of LFD's very own, Lieutenant Harley Wilson and Driver-Engineer Kelvin Jones will be serving as a Guardians on this honor flight and have served as guardians on other flights before. Both are very involved with veteran related events and organizations as a way of giving back. Lt. Wilson served in the United States Navy. D/E Jones served in the United Stated Air Force and served multiple tours in the Gulf War. 

Upon arrival the plane load of veterans will not only be greeted by the throngs of excited and thankful well-wishers but also by the LFD's Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) truck which will hose down the plane in an honorary gesture. The entire department is looking forward to participating in both the parade and Honor Flight reception. The public is welcome to attend and all LFD personnel are encouraged to participate. 

For more information about the parade from the event organizer, please click here.

For more information about the Honor Flight reception from the event organizer, please click here.

For more information about the Honor Flight Network, please click here


On Thursday, October 17, 2013 in a well-attended retirement ceremony, the Lakeland Fire Department gave a fond farewell to Driver Engineer Joel Brown. D/E Brown was joined by his lovely wife and daughter as well as by many LFD personnel old and new, including some that are retired themselves.

D/E Brown enjoyed a noteworthy 30 year career with LFD which included a close call in a 1987 fire that led to a structural collapse. He was trapped with a fellow firefighter while fighting the blaze and fortunately made it through, making him a highly respected and experienced member of the department. 

He plans to enjoy his well-earned retirement hunting, fishing, and spending more time with is family.

Congratulations and sincere thanks to Joel for his many years of selfless and dedicated service. 

 

 

 


In late September of 2013, a select group of Lakeland Fire Department Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team members attended a Structural Collapse Technician Course in Ocala, Florida. This specialized training opportunity gave LFD’s USAR members an opportunity to learn new life saving rescue techniques and the ability to train with fellow firefighters from throughout the state. 

The course offered by the state fire college was a unique experience for those involved.  The course was 80 hours of rigorous training.  It involved various methods of breaching and breaking concrete, usage of various cutting torches, lifting and moving significantly large objects utilizing a crane as well as some basic rigging and hand signals for crane operations, and shoring up of unstable buildings.  These skills are particularly useful in the event that access to a victim or multiple victims is needed for rescue as a result of a collapsed or significantly compromised building.  

“I enjoyed the class, it was challenging and informative.  I would encourage more firefighters to take and obtain this level of training.  The learning environment that the state fire college created was excellent.  It was great for team building and morale among team members.” said Firefighter Jason Diaz.  All of the firefighters that participated felt that it was a great learning experience and was very useful in improving their skills to better serve the people of Lakeland in the event of a structural collapse or situation requiring heavy rescue.  

Firefighters that attended were: 

 

Lt. Scott Gilbreath, Lt. Heath Seeber, D/E Dan Varner, D/E Kuikahi Kawailani, FF Jason Diaz