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


On Wednesday, December 3, 2014 the Lakeland Fire Department promoted two new lieutenants in a joint ceremony held at Fire Station 1.  

The ceremony marks a major career transition for the selected firefighters. Family, friends, colleagues, and well-wishers filled the room. Guests included members of City of Lakeland Management, several City of Lakeland Commissioners and Mayor Howard Wiggs. 

The role of Lieutenant comes with immense responsibility and the ceremony served to mark their transition into their new roles and herald a momentous new part of their careers at LFD.

Promoted were Chris Caustic and John “Duke” Driskell.

Chris Caustic joined the Lakeland Fire Department in July 2002 as a firefighter.

Chris is a Lakeland native, born and raised, who graduated from George Jenkins High School. After graduation he soon went on to complete Fire Standards at the Fire Academy at Ridge Career Center. Chris has studied fire science extensively and has studied at Polk State College, the Florida State Fire College the Central Florida Fire Academy, and the Lake County Institute Fire College.

Chris is a very active and involved member of the Lakeland Fire Department. In addition to his work as a firefighter prior to this promotion he has lent his skills and abilities to serve as the Vice President of the Local IAFF #4173 chapter of the Firefighters Union, sits on the Firefighter Pension Board as a trustee, and is a member of several committees including the Lakeland Firefighters Foundation Fund and the Performance Review committee.

Chris is a driven professional who values career advancement and has since gone on to pursue and receive certifications as a Fire Officer I, Fire Inspector, Fire Instructor, in Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) and Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF). He is also an avid USAR team member and instructor. He also plans to continue developing his career by pursuing certification as a Fire Officer 2 and earning an advanced degree.

John “Duke” Driskell has been part of the Lakeland Fire Department since November 2003 having served as a firefighter and promoting to Driver Engineer in October 2011, prior to his most current promotion to Lieutenant.

The Florida native, born and raised in Plant City, graduated from Plant City High School and went on to pursue a career in the fire service after completing Fire Standards training at Hillsborough Community College, where he also received his EMT certification. John, a driven professional, has since gone on to pursue and receive certifications as a Fire Instructor, Urban Search and Rescue (USAR), and Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF).  He serves on both the USAR and ARFF team at the department.

John notes that he looks forward to the new adventures and opportunities that come along with his new assignment as Lieutenant. He hopes to continue to make a difference at the department in his new post and has professional aspirations to one day serve as a Fire Inspector and Investigator.

Congratulations to them both.  

A complete photo album of the ceremony is available here

 


Congratulations to the Department's 3 Newest Driver Engineers! 

On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, the Lakeland Fire Department promoted three Firefighters to the position of Driver Engineer in a joint ceremony held at Station 1. The ceremony marks a major career transition for the selected firefighters. Family, friends, colleagues, and well-wishers filled the room. Guests included several City of Lakeland Commissioners. 

Being a Driver Engineer comes with immense responsibility and the position is often noted as one of the most important roles at the fire department because of the role they play in getting firefighters to a scene , among other responsibilities. 

Promoted were Michael Brown, Will Becton, and Mark Sloan. 

Michael Brown joined the Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) in December 2004 as a firefighter. Michael is also a certified paramedic with the department and a certified fire instructor and pump operator with the state of Florida. Michael, who served in the Army, is also active with the Army Reserve and serves as a Staff Sergeant with the 319th Minimal Care Detachment located in Pinellas Park.

In the pursuit of further professional and personal development, Michael is currently pursuing a degree in Emergency Services from Hillsborough Community College and is in his final semester of college prior to receiving his degree. 

Born and raised in Lakeland, Michael has deep ties to the Lakeland community and is joined by his wife Rachel and their three daughters; Emily (9), Madelyn (3), and Lillian born just four months ago. Michael is a true family man, preferring to spend his free time with his family and traveling with them on spontaneous adventures. 

Michael is excited about his new role at the Lakeland Fire Department and expresses his gratitude by saying “Thank you to all the people that helped be prepare and get to this point in my career.”

Mark Sloan joined the Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) in May 2008 as a firefighter. Mark has been with the City of Lakeland since 1999, working with Lakeland Electric prior to his foray into the fire service when he joined LFD. 

Mark is a graduate of the Fire Academy at Hillsborough Community College where he completed fire standards. He then completed EMT training at Hillsborough Community College and continued to pursue professional development, having since received certifications in both Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) and Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF). 

Mark’s promotion to Driver Engineer is one of several professional goals he has achieved, planning to continue his professional growth by pursuing certifications as a Fire Officer 1 and Fire Instructor.

The Florida native was born in Plant City and moved to Lakeland at the age of six, where he went on to graduate from the Kathleen Senior High School. He is joined today by his parents, children, and girlfriend. Mark, the avid athlete and sportsman, enjoys using his free time to stay active and enjoy the outdoors in the company of family and friends. 

Mark is excited about his new role at the Lakeland Fire Department and expresses his gratitude by saying “There are too many names to list but I would like to thank all the Driver Engineer and Lieutenants who helped me with the testing process, as well as all of the drivers, currently employed and retired, who have helped prepare me in the years prior to testing for the position.” 
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William Becton joined the Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) in October 2007 as a firefighter. 

Will is a graduate of the Fire Academy at St. Petersburg College where he completed fire standards in 2006. Prior to attending Fire Standards, Will completed his EMT training at Hillsborough Community College. The Florida native was born and raised in Ocala, where he graduated from Belleview High School. 

Becoming a Driver Engineer marks a major transition in Will’s career with LFD, and he plans to continue to meet his professional goals by having since received certification as an Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) firefighter and aspiring to become an Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team member at the department. 

Will is joined today by his wife, and two of his four children; Hailey, Leah, Lucas, and Katelyn. Being both active and a family man, he shares that he enjoys spending his free time playing sports with his children and relaxing with friends and family. 

Congratulations to them all!

A complete photo album of the event is available here


On Wednesday, October 15, 2014, the Lakeland Fire Department promoted two Firefighters in a joint ceremony held at Station 1. The ceremony marks a major career transition for the selected firefighters.

The ceremony was attended with family, friends, colleagues, and well-wishers. Guests included several City of Lakeland Commissioners and City management members.

Promoted were Mike Green to Fire Inspector/Investigator and John Fezy to Fire Lieutenant.

Mike Green joined the Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) in January 1997 serving as a Firefighter/EMT prior to his promotion to Fire Inspector/Investigator. 

Mike has attended both Valencia College and St. Petersburg College. Mike has since gone on to pursue and receive certifications as a State Fire Inspector 1, National Board Certification in Plans Review, and National Board Certification as a Fire Inspector 1 and 2.

Mike is originally from Gulfport, Mississippi, however did attend high school in Lakeland and is an alumnus of Lake Gibson High School.
Mike enjoys spending time with his family and friends as well as traveling. He also shares that he is looking forward to this new chapter in his career with the Lakeland Fire Department. 

John Fezy began his career as a firefighter with the Lakeland Fire Department on April 17, 2006. Prior to pursuing a career in the fire service, John served as a Firefighter in the United States Air Force.
John is a graduate of the Louis Garland Fire Academy at Goodfellow Air Force Base and Hillsborough Community College. Since having joined LFD, John has also gone on to obtain his paramedic certification and serves as one of the department’s Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) firefighters. 

The South Bend, Indiana native moved to Florida in 2002. John is, joined by both his wife Julie and son Justin. He enjoys spending his free time with his family and friends.


Photo Album of the event can be seen here. 




 


 

 

 

 


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. 

 

 


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. 



 



 


On Wednesday, September 4, 2013 long time veteran of the Lakeland Fire Department (LFD), Wayne Epperson, was promoted to the officer position of Battalion Chief.   

 Bat. Chief Epperson was joined by family, friends, colleagues, and an extended network of City of Lakeland representatives, including Mayor Gow Fields, to celebrate his professional advancement.

Wayne began his career with the LFD in 1985 and served as a firefighter, fire instructor, driver-engineer, and lieutenant, having held the latter position for 17 years. Speakers at the ceremony including Fire Chief Gary Ballard, Assistant Chief Rick Hartzog, Bat. Chief Mike Williams, and Bat. Chief Jeff Wharton all concurred that Bat. Chief Epperson is one of the most honest, dedicated, and deserving individuals they know within the organization. Wayne has been heavily involved with training efforts throughout his career and through his many years of experience and leadership will undoubtedly further elevate the position.

 A big congratulations to Wayne Epperson and sincere thanks to him for the many years of dedicated service he has provided the people of Lakeland.