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This is the official blog of the City of Lakeland, Florida. Check back frequently to stay up to date with all that going on in our beautiful city!


LAKELAND, FL (January 30, 2016) - 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. 




Lakeland, FL (November 28, 2016) - Firefighting hoods are an essential component of a firefighter’s turnout gear, used to protect their skin from the harsh and dangerous elements they are exposed to in a fire. The Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) recently transitioned from traditional firefighting hoods to particle filtering hoods (Halo brand) designed to protect a firefighter’s most sensitive skin areas from exposure to fine particulate matter.

Protective hoods are the most vulnerable area of a firefighter's ensemble. Traditional firefighting hoods lack any type of barrier characteristics to keep out the superfine particles that absorb a variety of hazardous chemicals, including carcinogens.

The switch to particle filtering hoods by the Lakeland Fire Department comes at very appropriate time with a recent multi-year study of 30,000 firefighters, published by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), finding that firefighters are significantly more prone to suffer from cancer than the general U.S. population. Firefighters not only run a higher risk of getting cancer but also of dying from cancer. NIOSH studies and other research shows this increase is likely due to carcinogen buildup on firefighters' skin, particularly on the neck and face areas which offer much faster absorption of these hazardous chemicals into the body.

LFD transitioning to these new protective hoods is significant in that it is one of the first fire departments in Florida to do so, and certainly the first in central Florida. The Lakeland Fire Department recognizes that its people are its most important assets and that they need to be protected. Assistant Chief of Operations Doug Riley shares “The work our firefighters do is already inherently dangerous with exposure to many different hazards both during and after an event. These new barrier hoods are an important way we can protect our firefighters who risk all to protect others.”

The new hoods do come at a slight price increase from the previous firefighting hoods, and are approximately 30% more expensive, however it is a small price to pay for the safety of firefighters.

Dangerous carcinogen exposure is more of an issue now than ever. Modern homes full of synthetic furnishings burn faster, hotter, and with more carcinogen laden smoke than did legacy homes of the past filled with wood and cotton furnishings.


Contact

Janel Vasallo, Public Relations and Information Manager | Lakeland Fire Department
863/834-8219 | janel.vasallo@lakelandgov.net




Lakeland, FL - The Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) is excited to announce that it will be accepting applications to fill vacant firefighter positions starting September 30, 2016 through October 15, 2016. The firefighters to be hired will fill positions created by recent promotions and retirements. At minimum, ten firefighters will be hired.

The Lakeland Fire Department offers competitive pay and benefits, extensive professional development, and is an established public safety leader in the region. As a result, it is a highly desirable fire department to work for, often receiving hundreds of applications in a short window of time when vacancies are opened.

More information about necessary qualifications, how to apply, and pay and benefits is available at lakelandgov.net/lfd. An employment brochure and a 25-minute video production “Fully Involved: What it means to be a Lakeland Firefighter” is also available at the Lakeland Fire Department website to provide prospective applicants more information about why they should apply.

Qualified applicants are encouraged to apply at lakelandgov.net/employmentservices.

Applications are only accepted online.  Diverse applicants representative of Lakeland’s community, that meet the firefighter employment requirements, are strongly encouraged to apply.

LFD utilizes the National Testing Network (NTN) and requires a Candidate Physical Abilities Test (CPAT) of all applicants. The City of Lakeland is a drug-free work place and an equal opportunity employer.

More about the Lakeland Fire Department:

Established in 1916, the Lakeland Fire Department has a rich history and celebrated its centennial as a career fire department in August 2016. The department has seven stations serving approximately 100,000 people in the City of Lakeland. The department has 170 employees, of which 150 are emergency response personnel. In 2015, the department responded to over 22,000 service calls in its 84 square-mile response area, which includes the city limits as well as portions of unincorporated Lakeland.

The department offers a wide range of services which includes heavy rescue, technical rescue, fire prevention, fire code enforcement, fire investigation, aircraft rescue and firefighting, and in-house fleet maintenance; all in addition to fire suppression and emergency medical response. The Lakeland Fire Department is also passionate about being an active participant in its community and consistently giving back through philanthropic efforts and through non-emergency services such as community outreach and preventative public education.

CONTACT:

Janel Vasallo, MPH | Public Relations / Information Manager | Lakeland Fire Department | 863/834-8219


Lakeland, FL (August 25, 2016) – The Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) is proud to announce that one of its long serving firefighters, Lieutenant Matt Allan Brown, will be recognized on August 31, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio as The American Legion’s National Firefighter of the Year.

This distinguished award will be presented at The American Legion’s 98th Annual Convention held at Cincinnati’s Duke Energy Convention Center. 

The award is highly prestigious and is only given to one firefighter in the nation per year. The American Legion explains that “The award recognizes those firefighters who have selflessly distinguished themselves over and above their normal duties predominantly though service activities, professional achievements, and heroic acts”. 

Lieutenant Brown was selected because of his high level of involvement and service in the Lakeland community outside of his duties as a firefighter, his dedication in service while at the department, and for several heroic actions while off duty. Matt serves the department as a Lieutenant as well as the department’s Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team coordinator and SWAT Paramedic team coordinator. He is also highly involved in the community through his work as part of the Lakeland Rotary Club and is a graduate of Leadership Lakeland, Class XXXIII. 

One of the heroic incidents that led to this award was when Lieutenant Brown stepped in to provide medical aid while off duty in an incident which involved an officer being shot by a suspect while in pursuit. The second event took place in a local supermarket parking lot, where an elderly patient had a medical episode in a moving vehicle that proceeded to crash into parked vehicles. Lieutenant Brown, once again while off duty, sprang into action to assist the patient and contain the incident.

These heroic actions led to local and state level awards in 2015 for Lieutenant Brown prior to the national award he will accept August 31.

For interview requests and more information please contact Janel Vasallo.

CONTACT:

Janel Vasallo, Public Relations & Information Manager | 863/834-8219 janel.vasallo@lakelandgov.net