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Lakeland Fire Department News


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. 

Out of its 150 Emergency Response Personnel, 68 of the Lakeland Fire Departments responders are Firefighter / Paramedics. Eight recent paramedic school graduates, that have tested and become officially certified to practice, are undergoing new paramedic orientation throughout March. The training will last 3 weeks and will conclude on March 27th.

This training includes 116 hours of didactic, video and scenario based training, exceeds requirements set forth by the Florida Department of Health’s re-certification standards, exceeds Advanced Airway training requirements from the Office of Medical Direction and makes LFD’s Firefighter / Paramedics the most highly trained force of emergency responders in Polk County.

This translates to a better quality of medical care in in Lakeland. To keep up with the high standards the department sets for its emergency medical responders and to meet state and county requirement, LFD’s Medical Rescue division also undertakes annual Paramedic Training as well.

Training will take place throughout March so photos will regularly be added to the department's facebook album. To view click here

The Lakeland Fire Department's Urban Search and Rescue Light Technical Rescue Team #421 (USAR LTRT-421) was invited by the State of Florida to participate in the South Florida Exercise (SoFLEx) USAR Drill held in Palm Beach on January 8, 2014, and January 9, 2014.  The drill was a joint exercise with various USAR teams from around the state functioning together to perform a search and rescue mission after a natural disaster.  The scenario for this exercise was a Category 4 hurricane (Hurricane Brice) with sustained winds of 100mph that made landfall in Palm Beach County.  There were a total of eight LTRTs and four USAR Task Force Teams that were invited to attend this exercise.  The exercise was divided among two different locations, Palm Beach County State College and the Palm Beach County Fire Rescue Training Center.

Upon arrival on day one the USAR LTRT-421 group encountered the scenario in full swing, having been made aware that the Hurricane had made landfall and caused extensive damage trapping several victims. Rescue activities for the Lakeland team on day one included rescuing victims from apartments. The team’s assignments over the two days also included breaching through four sections of concrete to make access into an “apartment” (large conex box) which had a floor collapse, shore the collapse in the “apartment”, and proceed to search into the “parking garage.”  Team members also participated by serving as live victims for drills involving highly trained Search and Rescue Dog’s, much like LFD’s very own Cabella and Primos, although they weren't in attendance. 

These exercises are very useful in training rescue professionals from around the state in the event that Florida is hit by a significant hurricane, a very real possibility. LFD’s USAR team is one of only a few in the state and would play a crucial role in rescuing the trapped living after a major natural disaster.  The exercise was not only a useful learning experience but also provides a good means for networking and interaction among teams, with teams interacting with each other to complete the search and rescue mission.  These exercises allow the teams to work together prior to an actual event.  The members are able to meet each other, learn the tactics of other teams, and get to the teams equipment cache.

LFD’s Light Technical Rescue Team-421 members that participated were:

  • Lt. Matt Brown-Team Leader
  • Lt. “Bubba” Geddings-Rescue Specialist
  • Lt. Matt Luttermoser-Rescue Specialist
  • Mike Wheelis-Logistics Manager
  • Luis Ortiz-Rescue Specialist
  • Todd Burney-Rescue Specialist
  • Jonathan Smith-Rescue Specialist




Newspaper article reporting the training event can be read here

More photos are available here


Content contributed by Lt. Matt Brown, USAR Coordinator for LFD.