City News Blog

rss

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 (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

 


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.

 

- END-


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.


NEIGHBORHOOD OUTREACH – 7TH STREET PARK

LAKELAND, FL (June 18, 2014) - On Saturday, June 21st from 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. the City of Lakeland will join volunteers from a variety of organizations and churches to hold a community outreach event at 7th Street Park (1500 W. 7th Street, Lakeland FL 33805). 

Commissioner Phillip Walker, “This is an area that has recently experienced a number of gang involved shootings and the events is part of our Refuse to Lose anti-gang initiative as we work together to address this problem and keep our fingers on the pulse of this whole issue.  We will work with our faith based partners, the Polk County School Board, area law enforcement agencies and concerned citizens as we continue to move forward.”  He added, “We must all work together and let those know that we will not tolerate this behavior and we will use our resources to seek the maximum penalty allowed for those involved in gang activity." 

The outreach event will include neighborhood cleanup with volunteers stopping by every residence in the area with gift bags of food inviting them to the focal event at 7th Street Park.  Activities in the park will include:

·      Bounce Houses

·      Sports Camp hosted by Simpson Park

·      Kids Club hosted by Dream Center

·      Face Painting hosted by Southeastern University

·      Grilled Hotdogs hosted by Lakeland Fire Department

Pastor Mike Cooper from the Dream Center said, “We spend a great deal of time in these neighborhoods and this outreach event is just one way that we as a community can show support for residents and let them know that we care.  We will be assisting those in the neighborhood by cutting their grass, doing clean-up activities and we have a fun day planned at the park. 

Parking is available at 1121 Atlantic Road and/or 1430 Atline Road.

For additional information contact the Dream Center at 863-413-0088 or email shill@dreamcenterlakeland.org.