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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. 


Throughout February, the department's Firefighter/Paramedics have been learning the Handtevy method. This newly adopted system is designed for quick and efficient pediatric emergency treatment.

The Handtevy is a revolutionary 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 the first-of-its-kind customized and age-based system that results in fewer medical errors, increased patient safety and renewed provider confidence.

The award winning system will prepares emergency responders for one of the most anxiety provoking events in healthcare, the pediatric code. The Handtevy is a first-of-its-kind hybrid pediatric resuscitation system that uses both age and length as options to initiate care. Age based resuscitation has the distinct advantage of allowing early determination of critical information prior to arrival on scene. Rather than using confusing formulas to first determine a child's weight, the Handtevy System allows health care providers to quickly determine volumes already pre-calculated and specific to their department's protocol. The ultimate goal is to begin treatment considerations prior to contact with the child where every second counts.

Firefighter / Paramedics at LFD received the raining in house from certified instructors who are also paramedics at the department. 

This training is one of many that Paramedics at LFD receive throughout the year. It is an example of how the department emergency responders work smarter for better outcomes in Lakeland. What matters most is saving lives, and the department takes that responsibility very seriously. 


Congratulations to the department's newest Driver Engineer, Andy Hawks. He was promoted to the position in a ceremony held Thursday, February11, 2016 in the company of family , friends, and colleagues.

His biography shares: "Andy Hawks has been a valued member of the Lakeland Fire Department since May 2007, when he joined the department as a firefighter.

Andy hails from Skaneateles (Pronounced skɪniˈætləs), New York where he graduated from Skaneateles High School. He has since gone on to receive an Associate’s Degree in Nursing from Polk State College. Andy is not only a firefighter but also a skilled Paramedic at the department. Additionally, he is involved in ancillary teams at the department and serves as an Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) firefighter.

Andy is highly esteemed at the department because of his ability, dedication, and drive. He is nearly finished with his Fire Officer 1 course of study and shares that he intends to continue on his current trajectory of career advancement and hopes to one day serve as an officer.

His work at the department keeps him busy but when not on duty, Andy enjoys spending time with his family and watching his son stay active in sports. He also enjoys concerts and staying in shape with CrossFit.
Andy is joined today by his lovely family; his wife, Jessica and son, Sawyer. The family man that he is, Andy candidly shares “I would not be here today if it wasn’t for the desire to give my family everything I can. They are the sole reason I push myself to be better in all I do in life.” "

Congratulations to Andy on his well-deserved promotion to Driver Engineer. The role of Drive Engineer comes with immense responsibility and the Lakeland Fire Department is confident that Andy will excel in his new capacity.


Fire Safety Warning for Hover Boards
Citing media coverage of several recent fire incidents, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) issued a series of safety tips urging hover board owners to read product guidelines and be aware of potential fire hazards when using these trendy devices.
 
“It seems hover boards are the hottest holiday gifts on the planet this year. But a number of media outlets reported fire incidents are cause for caution to avoid Christmas wishes going up in smoke,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. Part toy, part transportation, the self-balancing scooters based on an idea first seen in the movie Back to the Future, can pose a fire risk. 

“These are fairly new to the mass market and there isn’t a lot we know about them. The best advice we can offer is to read all manufacturers’ guidelines - particularly those that apply to charging hover boards – and to follow some additional fire safety guidelines.”

The Lakeland Fire Department offers the following tips to keep the holidays fire-safe. 

If you purchase a hover board:

· Choose a device with the seal of an independent testing laboratory.
· Read and follow all manufacturer directions.  If you do not understand the directions, ask for help.
· An adult should be responsible for charging the hover board.
· Do not leave a charging hover board unattended.  
· Never leave the hover board plugged in overnight.
· Only use the charging cord that came with the hover board.
· Stop using your hover board if it overheats. 
· Extreme hot or cold temperature can hurt the battery.  
· Be on the lookout for product updates from manufacturers and safety groups.  
· Many airlines have banned hover boards. If you plan to fly with a hover board, be sure to check with your air carrier.
· When riding in a car, keep the hover board where you can see it in case it shows signs of a problem.

Signs of a Problem:

Some hover board fires have involved the Lithium-Ion battery or charger. Signs you may have a problem:

· Leaking fluids
· Excessive heat
· Odor
· Sparking
· Smoke

If you notice any of these signs, stop using the device right away. Call 9-1-1.  If safe to do so, move the hover board outside away from anything that can burn.

If you have had a fire or injury event involving a hover board, contact the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
 
As a safety precaution never store the board or charge them indoors. Keep then in a detached garage or storage area if possible. 

 

Download the Hover Board Safety Tip Sheet here


It’s Going to Be a HOT Holiday: Presenting The Rescued Pets 2016 Calendar

Animal and firefighter lovers everywhere can rejoice this holiday season because SPCA Florida and the Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) are presenting the ultimate stocking stuffer – The Rescued Pets 2016 Calendar! 

The calendar features SPCA Florida’s rescued pets and real Lakeland firefighters beautifully photographed and presented each month of the year along with helpful information and safety tips from both organizations.

The high quality calendars are only $10.00 and make the perfect gift for the upcoming holidays. Sales begin today and can be purchased:

Online at www.spcaflorida.org or

In person at

  • SPCA Florida Headquarters at 5850 Brannen Road S. Lakeland, FL 33813
  • Lakeland Fire Department Administration Building at 701 E Main Street Lakeland, FL 33801
  • Wellness Wagon weekly route stops; locations available at http://www.spcaflorida.org/wellness-wagon-1

Cash and checks are accepted at all sites. Credit cards are only accepted online at www.spcaflorida.organd at SPCA Florida’s Medical Center, Adoption Center, and Administration buildings.

The calendar was created as part of SPCA Florida and LFD’s partnership announced earlier in the year (goo.gl/snL1Oy). All proceeds from the calendar will go directly to helping animals rescued by the Lakeland Fire Department that are encountered on human emergency scenes. Thanks to the partnership of the two organizations and donations like yours through the purchase of this calendar, many animals have and will continue to be treated at SPCA Florida’s Reva McClurg Animal Medical Center featuring a state-of-the-art hyperbaric chamber for pets. The funds collected from the sale of this calendar will also help with the purchase of new animal-specific rescue equipment for LFD apparatus.

This partnership is just another great way for SPCA Florida to expand on its mission of helping animals while the Lakeland Fire Department can show its compassion and care for all of the living creatures in its community.


The Lakeland Fire Department is very excited to announce that it will be unveiling its Commemorative Firefighter Sculpture and Reflection Area on Tuesday, December 8, 2015 from 10:30 am to 11:30 am. The dedication and unveiling ceremony will take place at the site of the artistic installation, located directly in front of Fire Station 1 at 701 E Main Street.

The project was envisioned by Lakeland’s firefighters as a way to recognize and honor the sacrifice made by those that serve in the fire service. The Lakeland Fire Department is very fortunate to not have any line of duty deaths at the department so the sculpture is not intended as a memorial, but rather as a commemorative monument to recognize the sacrifice made by firefighters at the City of Lakeland in service to their community.

The sculpture and reflection area will honor their commitment, service, and enduring spirit to provide exceptional emergency service and care for those in need. This monument will be dedicated in gratitude, respect, and recognition of all of Lakeland’s firefighters past, present, and future.

The project has been seven years in the making; with the first five years being a grassroots fundraising campaign. Firefighters of the department directly contributed approximately $70,000 of their personal funds through monthly contributions to raise the bulk of the funds needed. In the past two years community contributions were sought for additional funds and several organizations (listed at www.lakelandgov.net/LFD) contribute, in addition to the firefighters, to make the project a reality.

The Lakeland Fire Department’s Commemorative Firefighter Sculpture and Reflection Area will live on in perpetuity through contributions from the Lakeland Firefighter Foundation Fund of the GiveWell Community Foundation. Donations are still welcome to help with the maintenance, upkeep, and future development of this project and other projects that will enrich the Lakeland community and create awareness of the local fire service. Donations can be directed to the Lakeland Firefighter Foundation Fund at http://www.givecf.org/ or by visiting http://www.lakelandgov.net/lfd and clicking Donate Now.

All members of the community are welcome at the ceremony and all are strongly encouraged to share this information and the attached invitation.

 


The Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) is excited to announce that the department’s annual holiday toy drive kicks off today, November 30, 2015 and runs through Wednesday, December 16, 2015.
Community members are welcome to drop off a new, unwrapped toy at any of LFD's 7 fire stations. The toy drive will benefit the Children's Home Society of Greater Lakeland (https://www.chsfl.org) and the Dream Center of Lakeland (http://dreamcenterlakeland.org), who will distribute the collected gifts to Lakeland's children in need.  

This is the third year in a row that the Lakeland Fire Department sponsors a toy drive and the event has been very successful in years past thanks to the donations of the community and firefighters that generously provide toys. In 2014, over $8,000 in toys were donated to children in Lakeland! 

“Out of the many events our department sponsors and participates, this is one we all look forward to every year” says Fire Chief Gary Ballard. “The holidays are a time to reflect on our blessings and to give back to those in need. This annual toy drive helps hundreds of children in Lakeland by allowing them to enjoy the holidays by knowing that they are cared for by their community.”

Station locations were toys can be dropped can be found 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. 



Lakeland Fire Department representatives are currently in Appleton, Wisconsin for the inspection of two new engines heading to Lakeland very soon to replace the current Engines 11 and 41, respectively.

The receipt of new engines entails a highly detailed and thorough inspection of each and every component on the apparatus (pictured). Members on an internal committee, made up of LFD personnel, help design and see its assembly through. Members visit the Pierce Mfg facility in Wisconsin to undertake the inspection process before accepting delivery. Once it is ready the Engines are driven down from Wisconsin to the department’s Maintenance Facility at Station 4 where they will each individually be outfitted with all of the specialty tools and equipment firefighters need to protect Lakeland. Once in service in approximately a month, a follow up story and photos will be posted.

The replacement process is efficient because the older engines that the new engines are replacing are kept as reserve engines in LFD’s fleet. When other engines in the fleet are down and out of service for repair and maintenance, the reserve engine can be put into service so that there aren’t any interruptions to LFD’s response to Lakeland’s calls for service. The average engine at the department has an approximately 17 year life cycle, where they are then sold off at auction to recuperate expenses. Additionally, through an amortization program in place at LFD, the new engines do not create any new expenses to the annual budget that haven’t already been accounted for. This allows for the City of Lakeland, FL (Government) community to have the equipment it deserves when it needs it most with minimal financial impact.

See the entire photo album with lots more photos of Engine 11 and 41 here.


The Lakeland Fire Department would like to recognize Assistant Chief of Operation, Doug Riley, as the department's second graduate (of the Florida Fire Chief’s Association (FFCA) Emergency Services Leadership Institute! Great Job!

The intensive program consist of six 2 -3 day leadership courses delivered by some of the most influential leaders in the Florida Fire Service. Chief Riley completed his last class and graduated on July 20, 2015 in Naples, Florida.

The Emergency Services Leadership Institute (ESLI) program is sponsored and hosted by the Florida Fire and Emergency Services Foundation (FFESF) in the interest of addressing contemporary leadership issues that affect Mid-Level and Chief Fire Officers. The focus and content of the six-course Institute is consistent with upper level academic achievement and addresses issues that are either not prominent in other curricula or not structured in a manner that allows for an integrated learning experience over a two to three day period per course. While the institute is comprised of six courses, each individual course is designed to stand alone as a specific educational experience. The six courses will be offered on a two-year revolving basis. The Institute is designed to allow a participant to start and finish with any course and can be taken in any sequence. The 6 courses are Human Resources and Labor Relations; Personal Qualities, Leadership, and the Organization; Government Relations and Public Policy; Marketing Fire and Emergency Services; Finance and Budgeting and Emergency Management.

Congratulations to Chief Riley on a job well done and thanks for blazing the trail as both a learner and leader for other LFD Chief Officers.