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Every year, spanning from January to April, four separate organizations in Lakeland recognize an outstanding member of the fire department as Firefighter of the Year. The first of these recognitions for “Firefighter of the Year” is given by the Knights of Columbus of Lakeland.

Several nominations were submitted by LFD firefighters for their peers and this year’s winner for the Knights of Columbus Firefighter of the Year award is Firefighter and Paramedic Petur Leonard.

Petur is being recognized for his medical abilities in the field and particualry for a call last year invlvoing a small child who was saved as a result of Petur and his crew’s actions.

The following narrative submitted by his then lieutenant outlines the events that led to his award:

On September 14, 2014, Rescue Truck (R- 42) was dispatched to an emergency call for a “child not breathing; doing CPR”.  R-42 Driver Engineer (D/E) / Paramedic Petur Leonard and Firefighter / Paramedic Jonathan Forrester immediately responded to the call.

Due to the nature of the call and the possibility of complications, Station 4 Officer, Lieutenant Chuck Davis, decided to also respond to the call with R-42 on Engine 41 (E-41) with its respective crew. 

Rescue 42 arrived on scene first. Lt. Davis arrived on E-41 shortly after and upon entering the home witnessed D/E Leonard rendering medical care on the floor doing chest compressions on the infant patient; all awhile calmly and accurately providing lifesaving orders to the other medical responders on scene.

A few minutes after arriving and beginning compressions on the infant, the patient’s eyes and mouth opened and the child gasped for breath. He had been resuscitated.

D/E Leonard continued with CPR to complete the recommended two minute cycle. At rhythm check during CPR, D/E Leonard found the infant had regained a pulse although the child was not breathing on its own. 

While the other emergency responders assisted at the scene in getting the necessary equipment out and ready for further medical care, D/E Leonard intubated the infant and drilled an Interosseous (IO) needle into the infant’s leg for Intravenous (IV) access for medications and fluids. Petur performed multiple medically complex procedures that are arguably responsible for saving the young patients life.

The work Firefighter/Medics perform in the field is heavily based on teamwork and the assistance of fellow emergency response professionals. In this situation, several crew members worked together to assist in saving this child’s life, as expected of them.  However, the actions taken by Petur Leonard should be noted as having a significant impact on this situation, resulting in such a positive, life-saving outcome.

Congratulations to Firefighter Leonard and job well done! The award ceremony to honor Petur was held at Resurrection Catholic Church on Saturday, January 31, 2013 from 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm.

 

 

 

 

 


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