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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 (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. 



The Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) marked an important moment in the career of 13 of its newer members in ceremonies held November 2-4, 2015 for firefighters hired in November 2014. The ceremonies marked a successful first year with the department and their transition from “Rookie” Firefighters to “Regular” Firefighters.

These 6 firefighters successfully made it through LFD's rigorous hiring process, new hire orientation, and a yearlong probation period that includes multiple skills, physical abilities, and knowledge assessments. 

Firefighters Slappey, Stafford, Burger, Friedman, Lutz, McCutcheon, Geiger, Novogrodsky, Allison, Scripter, Sutherland, Rivera, and McLendon celebrated their transition from probationary to regular firefighters in the company of family, friends, and colleagues. 

The ceremony marks the completion of the Personal Qualification Standards that the department uses to vet only the finest candidates. This probationary period is designed to ensure that new additions live up to the department's standards and are cut out for a difficult line of work in the fire service

LFD is experiencing rejuvenation in its workforce with these 13 young firefighters coming on board last year. The new hires fill vacancies left by retirements and meet staffing needs from recent expansion with new Station 7.

Congratulations to all of the young Firefighters!  Photos from all three ceremonies, held on each shift respectively, can be viewed here. 



Update September 30, 2014: Video of the ceremony can be viewed here

 

The Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) will be revealing its fire engine exhibit at the Explorations V Children’s Museum on Tuesday, September 23 at 4:00 PM and you’re invited to join us. A brief ceremony will be held to dedicate the exhibit to the children of Lakeland. Admission to the museum will be complimentary from 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM for those attending the unveiling ceremony. Refreshments will be provided. Explorations V Children’s Museum is home to a fire engine exhibit gifted by the Lakeland Fire Department in the late 1990’s. The display is undoubtedly one of the museum’s most popular and is visited by over 50,000 visitors every year! The original installation was a homegrown, grassroots effort created and installed by LFD firefighters who volunteered their time and skills to create an educational and hands on exhibit for children to enjoy.

The original exhibit was used very much and through that use it began showing signs of wear and tear. Through the work of a committee made up of LFD personnel it was decided the exhibit would be revamped to be more functional as well as be a better representation of the newer, more modern Lakeland Fire Department.

The engine was removed from the museum on Friday, July 11, 2014 and has been worked on by Lakeland Firefighters volunteering off duty to refurbish the exhibit. Community sponsors (Pierce Manufacturing, R.F. Lusa and Sons Roofing and Sheet Metal Inc., Indie Atlantic Films, Sherwin-Williams Paints, Explorations V Children’s Museum) also helped by providing resources used on the exhibit.


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. 

 

 


Update April 28, 2014: The event raised raised $2,470 for READ Polk! Winner of the Judges Prize was the Auburndale Fire Department. Winner of the People's Choice Award was Team Backdraft made up of B-Shift Lt.'s Matt Brown and Jason Busby. 


Come Out and Support Your Lakeland Firefighters April 10, 2014


Interested in signing up a team? 

Click here for more information on how to register your team. Chili teams are limited to firefighters, either active or retired. All others are encouraged to come out, taste some good chili, and have a great time while raising funds for a great cause; ending illiteracy in Polk County.