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Lakeland Fire Department - Celebrating 100 Years of Service: 1916 - 2016

Lakeland, FL – 2016 is turning out to be a remarkable year for the Lakeland Fire Department (LFD). The new year not only marks the first time in the department’s history that it can tout an Insurance Services Office Classification of a 1 (the highest achievable rating in emergency response that a community can receive) but it is also the year in which the Lakeland Fire Department will celebrate 100 years as a career fire department. 

This is a historic event not only for the department but for the City of Lakeland. The department was officially made a career fire department by then city commissioners who had the foresight to professionalize emergency response services 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 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. More information about the event will be provided closer to the event date. 

For more information about the department, its history, and the ways the Lakeland Fire Department is celebrating its 100 years as a career emergency response organization, visit http://www.lakelandgov.net/lfd .

 

You are encouraged to share this information with the community. For more information, interview requests with department representatives, filming, etc. please contact PIO Janel Vasallo.

 

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Lakeland’s Fire Chief Gary Ballard is New First Vice President
for the Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association


On August 5, 2014 Chief Ballard was nominated and elected by his peers to become the First Vice President for the Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association (FFCA). Having served as the West Central Regional Director and the Second Vice President for the FFCA over the past two years, Chief Ballard has the skills and knowledge to continue to lead within the organization. This new role will allow him to share his 37+ years of experience in an expanded capacity with fire service leaders from all over Florida as First Vice President.

This professional platform will allow Chief Ballard to showcase the excellent emergency services that the Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) offers the people of Lakeland, as well as create additional networking opportunities that will add to the quality and scope of LFD’s services. It is also a wonderful opportunity to lend his leadership skills to help the fire service as a whole in Florida.

The FFCA is made up of fire and emergency professionals from all ranks representing all regions of Florida. The association’s mission is to promote and support excellence in fire & emergency services. The association does so by recognizing the fields best and brightest, offering scholarships, fundraising for charity, and providing professional development. With Chief Ballard in this new leadership position, he will undoubtedly continue to expand those efforts.

Congratulations and sincere thanks to Chief Ballard for increasing the City of Lakeland’s profile and presence throughout the state.


Firefighter Steven Connors Promoted to Driver Engineer




On Wednesday, November 13, 2013 Firefighter Steven Connors was promoted to Driver Engineer, the youngest firefighter to do so in LFD's history. 

 

Steven was joined by his wife and LFD colleagues to celebrate his professional advancement with the Lakeland Fire Department. Steve Connors has been an integral part of the LFD since March 29, 2010. Steve understands the importance of duty and service to country very well, having joined the United States Army at the young age of 17 where he went on to serve with the 1st Ranger Battalion and 82nd Airborne Division prior to joining the LFD.

 

Connors, a Ruskin, Florida native is an avid outdoorsman having spent his childhood fishing and hunting along this great state’s creeks and rivers. He proudly uses that experience and skill to his advantage at the annual Fire Olympics with repeated attempts to dethrone Gilman, Herndon and Brannen.

 

He is an East Bay High School graduate and has since gone on to receive his Associate of Arts degree from Hillsborough Community College and holds certification in law enforcement, fire standards, and is a paramedic.

 

Steve credits his ability to have become a Driver Engineer to the training and support of his crew and all of his family at the LFD. Steve notes that he will deeply miss his brothers and sisters on B shift due the move from this new opportunity but looks forward to the day he can work closely with them again.

 

Congratulations to Steven Connors and sincere thanks for his dedicated service. 

 


LFD Promotes Mike Smith to Driver-Engineer!


On Tuesday, August 06, 2013 Mike Smith of Station 3 was promoted to Driver-Engineer.

Mike was joined by his wife Laura and LFD colleagues to celebrate his professional advancement with the Lakeland Fire Department. Originally from Ft. Lauderdale, Mike is a graduate of the Hillsborough Community College where he was recognized for his academic achievements in Fire Standards. He has been with the department since 2007 and was commended by Chief Ballard during the ceremony for being one of the department’s top paramedics.

A big congratulations and sincere thanks to Mike Smith for his years of dedicated service.