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Hiring Soon: The Lakeland Fire Department is Looking for the Best

The Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) is excited to announce that it will be accepting applications to fill vacant firefighter positions starting September 30, 2016 through October 15, 2016. The firefighters to be hired will fill positions created by recent promotions and retirements. At minimum, ten firefighters will be hired.

The Lakeland Fire Department offers competitive pay and benefits, extensive professional development, and is an established public safety leader in the region. As a result, it is a highly desirable fire department to work for, often receiving hundreds of applications in a short window of time when vacancies are opened.

More information about necessary qualifications, how to apply, and pay and benefits is available at An employment brochure and a 25-minute video production “Fully Involved: What it means to be a Lakeland Firefighter” is also available at the Lakeland Fire Department website to provide prospective applicants more information about why they should apply.

Qualified applicants are encouraged to apply at .

Applications are only accepted online.  Diverse applicants representative of Lakeland’s community, that meet the firefighter employment requirements, are strongly encouraged to apply.

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 an equal opportunity employer. 

The Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) and the Lakeland Police Department (LPD) are excited to present a new “Keep 911 for Emergencies” public safety campaign. The campaign features four public service announcements and related print materials aimed at reminding the community that 911 is for emergencies only and that it should be used responsibly.  


Both LFD and LPD receive a high number of calls for service (22,515 and 108,657, respectively, in 2015). These calls are managed by the Lakeland Public Safety 911 Communications Center, which dispatched 131,172 calls for service last year. 

The Lakeland Fire Department and the Lakeland Police Department joined forces to address these issues of mutual concern in hopes of improving response with their current resources while in the process helping make Lakeland a safer community; a priority for both agencies.

The Lakeland Public Safety 911 Communications Center was consulted when developing this campaign to identify the most common examples of 911 misuse. In Lakeland’s case the leading issues in 911 misuse were: accidental dialing from cell phones by both unknowing adults or children on mobile devices; non-emergency medical calls; and parents calling 911 to threaten disobedient children. Individual public service announcements were created for each of these issues. 

The public service announcements are available at the department's Facebook and You Tube pages. 

Heroism Awards Presented to Crew of Truck 73 at City of Lakeland Commission Meeting

Lt. Jim Thompson, D/E Troy Deines, and Firefighter Chad Jackson were recognized Monday, August 15, 2016 at the City if Lakeland Commission meeting for their heroic and life saving actions earlier this year; and well deserved it was.

 Thanks to their high level of skill and fast actions they were able to bring a person back from the brink. They saved Steve Ward's life, who coincidentally is the father in law of a current LFD firefighter, and received the department's "Life Saving" award in addition to the City of Lakeland's Heroism Award. 


The award narrative for their award shares more details about the incident:

On June 3, 2016 at 6:09 p.m. Truck 73 was dispatched from Fire Station 7 to Parkway Frontage Road at Waring Road for a patient suffering a medical emergency in a vehicle. Upon arrival in the area, Truck 73 personnel were initially unable to locate and our dispatch center was able to ping the location of the victim using an open cell phone line via Verizon.

Engine 71’s personnel arrived on the scene soon after at 6:15 p.m. and Driver/Engineer Paramedic Troy Deines made contact with the patient. The patient was unresponsive and not breathing.  Lieutenant James Thompson and Firefighter Chad Jackson assisted with removing the patient from the vehicle and placing him on a spine board. Lieutenant Thompson assessed the patient for a pulse and found none. He immediately began delivering chest compressions while a Paramedic student (Auburndale firefighter J.T. Anderson) established an airway utilizing an Oral Pharyngeal Airway and began rescue breathing with a bag valve mask and supplemental oxygen. D/E/Paramedic Deines and Firefighter/EMT Jackson began initiating ACLS guidelines, initiating an intravenous line, placing the patient on the monitor, assessing blood glucose levels, and so forth. Polk County Fire Rescue (PCFR) ambulance MD48 arrived and assisted LFD personnel with continuing with Advance Life Support procedures while loading the patient onto a stretcher and into the ambulance. Personnel from LFD Truck 73 and PCFR MD48 continued to treat and attempt to stabilize the patient in the ambulance while preparing to transport.  Both D/E Deines and Paramedic Student Anderson assisted PCFR personnel with ALS procedures including drug assisted intubation and intravenous, cold fluid therapy in the ambulance during transport to Lakeland Regional Health Center (LRH). Lieutenant Thompson and Firefighter Jackson remained on scene to meet with and brief family members that arrived soon after. Truck 73 personnel then proceeded to LRH to further consult family members and to pick up Deines and Anderson. Lieutenant Thompson notified the appropriate leadership personnel from LFD and briefed them on the situation.

Upon being turned over to medical staff at LRH and the patient’s condition somewhat stabilized, efforts became focused on determining what, if any brain function may have been lost.  Concerns were that the patient had been without oxygen long enough to cause damage.  Once the intensivist arrived and looked over the case the decision was made to discontinue sedation in hopes to assess his level of consciousness.  Approximately two minutes after sedation was stopped on the patient, he sat up in the bed and tried to pull his breathing tube.  At this point is when it was obvious that the quick action of the T73 crew had made a significant difference on the outcome of the patient.  Steve was transferred from the LRH emergency room to the intensive care unit where he spent approximately a week recovering.  He is now at home, back to living his life as normal.  

The Lakeland Fire Department is very proud of Lt. Jim Thompson, D/E Troy Deines, and Firefighter Chad Jackson and thanks them for a job well done. 

See more photos of the award presentation here.


Update: See the full album of this year's campaign here. 

Lakeland, FL (August 11, 2016) - Summer fun is done and school is back in session for most Polk County students starting Monday, August 15, 2016. The Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) will be promoting safety in school zones as part of its Back to School Safety Campaign, for the seventh year in a row! 

On Monday, August 15, 2016 (and August 18, 2016 at McKeel Central and South McKeel Academy), Lakeland Fire Department personnel will be in school zones holding signs urging drivers to:


LFD will have a fire engine and/or rescue truck and its crew posted at high visibility roadways and intersections near thirteen Lakeland 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. 

LFD personnel will be stationed at the following locations:

Participating School Name


Neighborhood Fire Station

Safety Promotion Hours

Philip O'Brien Elementary

1225 E. Lime Street

Station 1

7:00 - 7:45 AM 2:30- 3:30 PM

Carlton Palmore Elementary

3725 Cleveland Heights Blvd. 33813

Station 2

7:00 - 7:45 AM 2:30- 3:30 PM

Cleveland Court Elementary

328 E. Edgewood Drive 33813

Station 2

7:00 - 7:45 AM 2:30 - 3:30 PM

Dixieland Elementary

416 W.Ariana

Station 2

7:00 - 7:45 AM 2:30- 3:30 PM

Southwest Elementary

2650 Southwest Ave.

Station 2

7:15 - 7:45 AM 2:30- 3:30 PM

Lincoln Avenue Academy

1330 N. Lincoln Ave.

Station 3

7:00 - 7:45 AM 2:30- 3:30 PM

North Lakeland Elementary

410 W. Robson St.

Station 3

7:00 - 7:45 AM 2:15 - 3:15 PM

Rochelle School of the Arts

1501 MLK, Jr. Ave.

Station 3

7:00 - 7:45 AM 2:30- 3:30 PM

Sleepy Hill Elementary

2285 Sleepy Hill Road

Station 3

7:00 - 7:45 AM 2:30- 3:30 PM

Blake Academy

510 Hartsell Ave. 33815

Station 4

7:00 - 7:45 AM 2:15 - 3:15 PM

Jesse Keen Elementary

815 Plateau Ave. 33815

Station 4

7:00 - 7:45 AM 2:15 - 3:15 PM

**August 18 **

McKeel Academy Central

411 N Florida Ave, Lakeland, FL 33801

Station 1

8:15 - 8:45 AM 2:15 - 3:10PM

**August 18**

South McKeel Elementary Academy

2222 Edgewood Drive South

Station 5

8:00 - 8:45 AM 2:45 - 3:30 PM


Restart the Heart Before You Depart

In December the Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) adopted and trained on how to use a new pediatric emergency response system in the field for better results when treating children, the Handtevy System. The Handtevy is a pediatric resuscitation system that combines customization, consultation, education and organization to empower healthcare providers to rapidly and accurately respond to any pediatric call with ease. The Handtevy is a customized and age-based system that results in fewer medical errors, increased patient safety and renewed provider confidence.

This week the department launched an internal campaign on the Handtevy system in order to better communicate to its first responders how it is designed to work in the field.  

This effort is most appropriate now that we have entered the summer months in Florida which have proven to be a particularly vulnerable time for children, with an increased amount of drownings. 

Although the video is targeted towards EMTs and Paramedics at the department, and not the public, LFD shares this to show how the department goes the extra mile to better serve you. The campaign was an idea of the firefighter paramedics featured in the video and the Rescue Chief. It’s also a great example of an empowered workforce constantly seeking to do things better.

Better systems, lead to better outcomes. This is just another example of how the Lakeland Fire Department is always seeking ways to improve, and the high level of dedication LFD has to helping those in need.

LFD hopes the video can also serve as a resource to other first responders using the Handtevy System. 

The Lakeland Fire Department is approaching a major milestone as it prepares to celebrate its centennial anniversary!  
This is a historic event for the department and the City of Lakeland. The department was officially made a career fire department through an ordinance passed on August 16, 1916.  This was done for the benefit of the community in light of several catastrophic fires that had occurred in previous years.  

To mark the significance of this achievement and as a way of sharing the department’s pride in having 100 years of service, the department will be celebrating with a Centennial Celebration for the entire community! It will take place at Fire Station 1, located at 701 E Main Street in Lakeland on August 13, 2016, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. 

The event will celebrate the department’s past and present. The community celebration will feature:

Leaping Lena, the Department’s Restored 1938 Pirsch Fire Engine
Historic Artifacts and Displays
Live Demonstrations
Station Tours
Apparatus and Equipment Displays
Photo Booth

and more! 

The event is free and open to the public and everyone in the community is encouraged to attend.

After nearly 100 years of waiting, the Lakeland Fire Departments Centennial Celebration is less than 100 days away! The Lakeland Fire Department became a career fire department (previously a volunteer force) on August 16, 1916.

To mark the significance of this achievement and as a way of sharing that pride with the Lakeland community that makes it all possible, the department will be celebrating in several cost effective ways throughout 2016 in honor of its centennial. Centennial Celebration items include: 

§  Commemorative centennial badges for emergency response personnel (paid for entirely out of pocket by the individual firefighters). The badges capture the department’s rich history with patriotic flair (photo attached); 

§  Custom decals for all apparatus to highlight that LFD is proud to be “Celebrating 100 years of Service”. These will be on apparatus through August of 2017; 

§  Commemorative flags at all stations to highlight the centennial;  

§  The restoration of Leaping Lena, the department’s original 1938 Pirsch Fire Truck to be used at public events like the Lakeland Christmas Parade. Restoration has been ongoing for a year; 

§  A centennial celebration for the entire community at Fire Station 1 on August 13, 2016. It will be a free and public event to educate the community on the department’s past and present as well as fire safety. 


Another one of those ways the department is celebrating is through a 100 Day Centennial Countdown Campaign on Facebook, which began on Monday, May 9, 2016. LFD shares a picture a day for 100 days to countdown to the centennial anniversary date. The pictures are from the department’s past and present.

This is one of the many small ways we're celebrating as the day gets closer and will culminate with a big community celebration planned for August. You can see the daily picture as well as previously posted pictures on the department’s Facebook page accessible here. 

The Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) is pleased to announce that the ten new firefighters that began duty on Monday, April 4, 2016 have successfully completed their three-week orientation program. The new hires are filling vacancies from recent retirements of longtime LFD veterans and openings left as a result of internal promotions. 

The new firefighters experienced the department’s three-week orientation program at the Lakeland Fire Department’s Training Center located at 901 Granada Street. Although all the new hires are certified firefighters, this training course is designed to teach the new firefighters how to do things the “Lakeland” way. They review a full spectrum of practical skills they need to perform on the job as well as emergency medical training before being released into the field. 

The hiring process was selective because of the large pool of applicants. Another opportunity for aspiring firefighters will be available later this year when the department will look to hire additional firefighters to fill retirements anticipated later in the year.

“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 and leader of the department’s three week orientation program.

Of the ten new hires, one is a certified paramedics while the other nine are Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs); although the nine EMTs will have the opportunity to pursue paramedic training once on the job. 

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. 

You can see photos taken from all three weeks here. 

Every year, between the months of January and May, several community organizations select a Firefighter and Emergency Medical Responder of the Year to honor for heroic efforts in the field. The most prominent of the awards being those of the President’s Roundtable, a consortium of several community groups like Rotary, Lion’s Club, and Kiwanis that select emergency responder who have done something above and beyond in the field that required true heroism above the call of duty.

The Lakeland Fire Department is very proud to have two of its Firefighters honored at the event. Firefighter/ Paramedic Cody Ritenour and Firefighter/Paramedic Alvin Catholic for Firefighter of the Year, respectively.

This is a great honor and very well deserved. The incidents that led to their nomination and awards are outlined in the narratives below.

Cody Ritenour:

“On February 15th, 2015 at approximately 9 AM, an unfortunate head-on collision took place in Osceola County on State Road 60. Cody Ritenour, a Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) Firefighter and Paramedic was several vehicles behind the incident when it occurred, while traveling home after completing his shift.

Upon noticing there was commotion up ahead, Cody made his way to the accident scene and found that bystanders had pulled a four year old girl and a six year old boy from one of the involved vehicles; it was quickly filling with smoke from an engine compartment fire. The driver of the vehicle was entrapped and was unresponsive. The fire was spreading quickly and with no way to put it out, Cody decided to instead attempt to get the victim out. He was unable to open the front doors without extrication equipment due to the severity of the crash. He made access into the back seat of the vehicle where he tried to free the entangled victim, yet was unsuccessful. The flames overcame the firewall and entered into the interior of the vehicle where the heat and smoke forced Cody to retreat.

Unable to continue helping the driver, Cody applied his training and experience in the field and turned his attention to the young children involved. He noticed that the four year old girl was unresponsive but was breathing and had a pulse and that the six year old had suffered serious injuries but was alert. The driver of the other vehicle had minor injuries and was ambulatory. Cody sprang into action by calling 9-1-1, identified himself, and gave an accurate on scene report requesting the appropriate units to be dispatched including a fire suppression unit, Emergency Medical Services, police, and that two helicopters be put on standby for pediatric trauma alerts.

Cody continued patient care after hanging up with the emergency operators by accessing the children’s vitals and listening to lung sounds with his personal stethoscope until further support could arrive. Cody directed several bystanders to assist him with the children until fire and EMS crews arrived. Once they arrived, Cody again identified himself and gave them the details of the scene. Cody assisted EMS with patient care and packaging the children for transport. A landing zone was established by crews on scene and two helicopters landed on State Road 60 to fly the children to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children for Trauma Care in Orlando.

We cannot express enough how incredibly proud we are of Firefighter Ritenour. Not only did he risk his own life by attempting to save the driver of the accident from a burning vehicle, but he also put his training to work and took command of the scene. Cody triaged the victims and was able to assemble the necessary resources to give the remaining victims the care they needed and a fighting chance at survival.

Cody is a young man with less than two years of practical fire and medical training however he showed poise and composure beyond his years. At the time this recommendation was written it is unknown what the outcome of the children’s injuries were or what the future holds for them but we are certain that they have a better chance of recovery due to the actions taken by Cody Ritenour on that day.” - Lieutenant Joseph Delegge

Alvin Catholic:

“On December 13th, 2015 at 1am, Alvin responded to a structure fire on LFD Engine 21 with the report of a person being trapped in the apartment.  Upon arrival there was a confirmation of a person that was on the floor in the apartment and was unable to exit the structure on her own. Alvin pulled an 1 ¾ attack line to the door of the apartment and then made entry into the home. Inside of the home, Alvin encountered heavy smoke, heat, and had no visibility. Alvin was able to locate the victim in the living area near the hallway of the residence. After locating the victim, Alvin reassured her and kept her calm, event though she was initially combative. The victim was pulled from the home and delivered to emergency medical crews for treatment.  The victim was able to be treated on scene and released.  Alvin then continued with his firefighting actions and was able to extinguish the fire remaining in the structure.  Alvin’s decisive and quick actions brought a quick resolution resulting in the saving of the woman’s life.” – Lieutenant Chris Farina

Congratulations to both firefighters. They are a shining example of the heroism of all of LFD’s emergency responders who serve Lakeland selflessly every day. 

Firefighter / Paramedic Cody Ritenour 


Firefighter / Paramedic Alvin Catholic 

The Lakeland Fire Department’s (LFD) Fire Safety Management division recently underwent some changes when it announced the retirement of Fire Marshal, Alfred “Frank” Bass after 29 years of service. Fire Marshal Bass joined the department in 1987 as a firefighter and went on to become a Fire Inspector and Investigator in 1994 before promoting to Fire Marshal in 2007. The position of Fire Marshal is an important one at LFD, as it is an integral part of the department’s Fire Administration and Leadership Team.

A ceremony was held on Friday, March 11, 2016 at Fire Station 1 to wish Fire Marshal Bass well on his retirement and to thank him for his many years of service to the people of Lakeland.

The department also recently appointed a new Fire Marshal, Cheryl Edwards. Her promotion was marked by a ceremony held on March 14 at Fire Station 1.

This was an exciting and historic announcement for the Lakeland Fire Department, as Cheryl Edwards will be the department’s first female Fire Marshal and member of the Leadership Team in its 100 year history as a career fire department. Cheryl joined the department in 1994 as the Public Education and Information Officer. She has since then served as Fire Inspector and Investigator, which she promoted to in 2008, and has served in the position until her most recent promotion to Fire Marshal.