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Lakeland Fire Department News


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

The Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) is very proud to announce that two if its Firefighters, Damian Motsinger and Brandon Polk will be recognized by Polk County’s President’s Roundtable on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 as Firefighters of the Year, respectively. The organization is made up of leaders from several community organizations like Kiwanis, Rotary, Lions and more. The Firefighters were each recognized for separate acts of heroism outside of their work at the department as emergency responders.  

Firefighter / Paramedic Damian Motsinger was recognized for providing lifesaving aid to a teenage boy who suffered a horrific skateboarding accident, that rendered him unconscious followed by repeated seizures. The boy was found by Firefighter Motsinger, and his wife who is a nurse, on the side of a road on a late Saturday evening. Damian’s quick thinking and medical aid prior to emergency responders arriving is directly credited with saving the boy’s life.  The following award nomination details the event: 

" On a Saturday evening in September 2016, after leaving the home of his in-laws, Damian and his wife Chelsea were driving home on Crews Lake Road when they encountered a car flashing their headlights. Damian pulled over to see what the issue was and if he could help. Upon coming up to the where the vehicle was stopped, he noticed a teenage boy (about 14-15 years old) lying unresponsive in the middle of the road.

A friend of the teenage boy, that was at the scene stated that they were skate boarding down the hill when the patient wrecked, causing him to hit his head hard. The patient’s friend then explained to Firefighter Motsinger that the teenage boy then started to have repeated seizures.

Damian indistinctly jumped into action, using his extensive emergency medical experience to help the boy. Firefighter Motsinger took charge at the scene by holding C-spine on the boy and noticed that cars were coming extremely close to them. Damian instructed the bystanders that they needed to move the child out of the road while maintaining spinal immobilization. Once out of the road Damian had another person hold C-spine, so that he could perform a medical assessment on the boy for further injuries. The boy was unresponsive the entire time prior to the arrival of a Polk County EMS unit arriving on scene. Once Polk County Fire was on scene Damian gave the injury report to Lieutenant /Paramedic Jason Villeneuve, and stressed the urgency to them that this child was a pediatric trauma alert. Damian assisted them with setting up the IV and with preparing to intubate the child.

The child began to vomit and Damian quickly recognized the need to roll the patient to keep him from aspirating. Once the boy’s airway was cleared of vomit, Damian assisted Polk County EMS with securing the unresponsive child’s airway by intubating him. Damian held cricoid pressure while the Polk County EMS Paramedics placed the tube down the child’s airway.

Damian’s quick thinking, leadership, and ultimately heroic actions in a very stressful situation that night helped save the life of that boy. He was at the right place and time to help that young patient by applying his knowledge and abilities as a first responder.

Damian is a true professional that helps others whenever possible. "

Firefighter / EMT Brandon Polk was recognized for providing medical aid and emergency guidance at the scene of a fatal car accident while off-duty. He noticed the accident and arrived just as responders from LFD’s partners in public safety, Polk County EMS, did. He worked closely with EMS crews to assess patients and provide Basic Life Support. Upon the arrival of LFD’s Tower 15, he assisted in the extrication of patients entrapped in one of the involved vehicles.  The following award nomination details the event: 

On the afternoon of August 7, 2016, Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) Firefighter and EMT, Brandon Polk, was off-duty while driving on Memorial Boulevard when he noticed traffic was at a stop shortly ahead of where he was driving.  He then realized that a vehicle accident had just occurred. Brandon drove his vehicle around the stopped traffic and pulled off the side of the road to begin to assess the accident scene and see how he could lend his skills and help.

A Polk County Fire Rescue (PCFR) Medic Unit heading to Lakeland Regional Medical Center with a patient also stopped. Brandon noticed a female laying in the middle of the road and began walking towards her. As he approached her the PCFR Medic advised Brandon she was deceased. The PCFR Paramedic was on the radio with dispatch and advised Brandon that as a result he (PCFR Paramedic) had not yet assessed the other occupants in the vehicles. Brandon walked over to a heavily damaged Jeep Cherokee and began to assess the passenger who was alert, complaining of chest pain, and showing signs of shock.

A bystander then advised Brandon that the backseat passenger was slumped over and not responding. Brandon could not open the passenger door but was able to make access to the backseat from the driver side. He began to assess the backseat passenger and determined that she too was deceased. Brandon then began to assess the driver who was alert but showing signs of shock. After triaging the occupants in the Jeep Cherokee he made contact with the PCFR Paramedic and advised him to notify dispatch that Lakeland Fire Tower 15 would need to be dispatched because the driver was entrapped. Brandon observed that another PCFR Medic Unit had arrived on scene and was assessing the second vehicle involved in the collision.

The Lakeland Fire Department response units arrived soon after Brandon’s initial contact with the patients / victims. Once they arrived, Brandon made contact with the Lieutenant from Engine 41 and Battalion Chief 1 and advised them of the situation and the patient’s status. Tower 15 arrived on scene and Brandon assisted in gathering extrication equipment from Tower 15 and began to assist in patient care of the passenger in the Jeep Cherokee.

If it were not for Brandon’s willingness to stop off-duty and the leadership he demonstrated on scene by directing responding units based on his initial medical assessments, the appropriate patient care to the most critical patients may have not occurred. "


The department is extremely proud of both Damian and Brandon. They are a shining example of the department’s firefighters and are greatly appreciated for their dedication and passion to serve, on and off duty. 



FF/Paramedic Damian Motsinger


FF/EMT Brandon Polk



Lakeland Fire Department Welcomes Thirteen New Firefighters

The Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) is pleased to announce the hiring of thirteen new firefighters that will begin duty on Monday, February 6, 2017. 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 will begin with the department’s month-long 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.

“Our hiring committee is confident that it selected the best available candidates and it’s comforting to know that the new firefighters 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 four-week orientation program.

LFD strives to have a fire department that is representative of the community it serves. The department is proud that of the thirteen new hires, five are U.S. Military veterans. Additionally, the group of new firefighters includes a female, Hispanic, and African American firefighter, respectively. The group of new firefighters even includes a former NFL football player.

Of the new hires, one is already certified as a paramedic while the others are Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs). 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 new hires bring the department to a total of 171 personnel whom, last year alone, responded to nearly 24,500 call for service. 

The Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) is excited to announce that the department’s annual holiday toy drive kicks off Monday, November 07, 2016 and runs through Thursday, December 15, 2016.

Community members are welcome to drop off a new, unwrapped toy at any of LFD's 7 fire stations, Fire Administration Building, and Lakeland City Hall. The toy drive will benefit the Children's Home Society of Greater Lakeland  and the Dream Center of Lakeland, who will distribute the collected gifts to Lakeland's children in need. 

This is the fourth 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 2015, over $7,000 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.

Click here for station locations. 


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. 

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 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

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 ( 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 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 or by visiting 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.