THE PUBLICATIONOFTHE FLORIDA FIRE CHIEFS’ASSOCIATION February 2023 • VOLUME 31 NUMBER 2
F L ORIDA FIRECHIEF S ’ ASSOCIATION
Florida Fire Service is the monthly publication of the Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association, provided to Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association (FFCA) members, by the Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association.
Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association
221 Pinewood Drive Tallahassee, FL 32303
Email: email@example.com • www.ffca.org
Wm. Ray Colburn - Executive Director & CEO
Ngoc Huynh - Operations & Events Director
Denise Holley - Office Manager
Liz Aperauch - Marketing Coordinator
FFCA Board of Directors
Douglas Riley - President
Harold Theus - 1st Vice President
Michael Choate - 2nd Vice President
Ty Silcox - Immediate Past President
Carlos Aviles - Secretary/Treasurer
Ryan H. Crawford - Northwest Region Director
Brady Rigdon - Northeast Region Director
Chuck Bogle - East Central Region Director
Chantal Botting - Southeast Region Director
Ian Kemp - West Central Region Director
GregoryDeWitt - Southwest Region Director
Wm. Ray Colburn- Executive Director & CEO
James White - Foundation Chair
Leland Greek - Senior Member
Editorial Submissions firstname.lastname@example.org
Scott Leisen, Editor in Chief email@example.com
Subscription rate for members is $36, which is included in member dues. Archived electronic monthly editions of Florida Fire Service magazine are available at www.ffca.org. Log in as a member and click on the Publications tab.
Florida Fire Service
February 2023, Volume 31, Number 2
USPS # 016-759
Periodical postage paid in Daytona Beach, Florida, and additional post offices.
POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Florida Fire Service, 221 Pinewood Drive Tallahassee, FL 32303. Statements of fact and opinion are the responsibility of the authors alone and do not imply an opinion on the part of the officers or the members of FFCA.
Copyright 2023 by the Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association. All rights reserved. Materials may not be reproduced without written permission.
FLORIDA FIRE SERVICE February 2023 4 Message from the FFCA President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Message from the Foundation Chair . . . . . . . . . . . .10 FROM THE SECTIONS
Orange County Begins New Multi-Company Drill ....14 FFCA New Members .........16 2023 Fire-Rescue EAST RIT Competition. . . . . . . . . . . . 20 2022 Florida Fire Service Awards. . . . . . . . . . . . 22 2023 Fire-Rescue EAST ALS Competition. . . . . . . . . . . 24 2023 Fire-Rescue EAST Firesled Extreme Challenge. . . . 26 South Walton Firefighters Extinguish Blaze ...........28 Central Florida Rope Rescue Challenge. . . . . . . . . . 30 Meet the Deputy Chief. . . . . . . . 32 North Port Cuts Ribbon on New Training Tower. . . . . . . . . 34 Sarasota County Active Shooter Training. . . . . . . . . . . 36 In brief . . . news from around the state. . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Advertisers Index. . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Seminole County Annual Awards Ceremony 42
How to be the Greatest Leader of All Time . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Five Factors For Successful Live Fire Training . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Vacation Rentals and Your Responsibility . . . . . . . . . . .16 Why First Responders Can Count on Ver tically Integrated American Manufacturers . . . . . . . . . . . .18 FEATURES 8 12 10 14 20 16 18 22 24 26 28 34 36 6 30 32
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Greetings FFCA Family,
It was great to see so many of you at FireRescue EAST in Daytona this January. The conference was well attended and provided excellent training opportunities, a world class trade show, and vibrant ALS, RIT, and Firesled competitions. Thank you to everyone who participated in the competitions, and a huge congratulations to this year’s winners. As you have likely heard by now, we are rebranding Fire-Rescue EAST and moving the location to Orlando. The new Florida Fire Conference will be held at the Orange County Convention Center from January 8-12, 2024.
Presentation of colors at Fire-Rescue EAST 2023
We have tentatively scheduled our annual regional meetings and will share the dates with you as soon as they are finalized. These meetings are an excellent opportunity for you to receive updates on the Association, ask questions and offer recommendations, and meet with other fire professionals in your region. The FFCA legislative team has already hit the ground running with our legislative priorities. This will be an important and busy season as our dynamic team advocates for legislation that supports the men and women of the Florida Fire Service.
Please mark your calendars for the 2023
Executive Development Conference that will be held at the Naples Grande Beach Resort from July 14-18, 2023. Our Deputy Executive Director, Ngoc Huynh, along with our conference committee, are busy putting together a dynamic agenda for the conference. This will surely be an event that you will not want to miss!
I hope to see you all soon. Until then, please stay safe, take care of one another, and contact your FFCA board if we can assist you in any way
Doug Riley FFCA President
FLORIDA FIRE SERVICE Februar y2023 6
Douglas Riley, Fire Chief FFCA President
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How to be the Greatest Leader of All Time
By Rick Spence
Bill Belichick is generally considered the best football coach of all time. If you go by his record on the field, it is very difficult to dispute that. As a head coach, he has taken the New England Patriots to a record nine Super Bowls, winning six of them, also a record. He has done it with only one current Hall of Fame player, Junior Seau. It could be argued that Seau was voted in for the accomplishments he achieved much earlier in his career, rather than the few seasons he spent as a reserve and spot starter in New England. (There are two more players that will most likely become Hall of Famers, Tom Brady and Randy Moss.) He has taken nine different teams to a Super Bowl with only three Hall of Fame players. Many of his players were players who were difficult to get along with or did not live up to their potential, basically castoffs from other teams. And because they were consistently going to the playoffs, the Patriots were forced to pick late or last in the annual college draft. He has an ability to motivate and inspire his players to play at a higher level than they had with other teams. Many of Belichick’s players learned how to play as a team, meaning they sacrificed individual accolades for the betterment of the team. In a league where you are paid for how you produce today and are using your performance this year to get a bigger contract the next year, this would seem to be a difficult undertaking for a coach. But that is probably why he is considered the best coach in the NFL.
There is one other thing about Bill Belichick that I think is truly remarkable. He has had eleven of his former assistant coaches become head coaches in the NFL and nine others become head coaches in college football.
Several of those coaches have said that Belichick takes the time to get to know them and explains what their value is to the team. He builds on that and encourages them to get out of their comfort zone and do things they did not think they were capable of doing. One of his former assistant coaches and a current successful head coach said it this way, “he coached us up and sent us out onto the field to make a difference.” The results speak for themselves.
Isn’t that what leadership should be? It reminds me of a man who lived around the Sea of Galilee a little over 2000 years ago. He too took a group of eleven men and got to know them, took an interest in them and explained what their value was to His team. These men were not leaders (all stars or high draft picks) in their community and were not widely known outside of their family and friends. This man from Galilee also pushed them to get out of their comfort zones and do things they did not think possible. It sounds like Jesus may have ‘coached them up and sent them out into the world to make a difference.’ From these eleven men, the Gospel spread from around the Western Mediterranean area in the Middle East to the entire world. They did such an incredible job of preaching the Gospel that it is still going strong over 2000 years later That is what leadership should be. The results speak for themselves.
This is my point: what are we doing for those who work with us, particularly some of our newer officers and recruits? We probably don’t have a team of high draft picks or people we would choose to be on our team. But are we taking the time to get to know them and find out what their value is to our organization?
Are we encouraging them and helping them to get out of their comfort zones and achieve things they did not think they were capable of? Basically, are we ‘coaching them up and sending them out there to make a difference?’
I have heard countless times over the past two-three years that there is a “leadership problem” of “lack of leadership and accountability” within the fire service. What is shocking to me is that I have heard it from ALL levels within most departments, even the same department from the Fire Chief to probees. I’m sure in some organizations that may be true. But, if we are taking the time to get to know these new officers and recruits and are helping them to learn their value to our departments and encouraging them to get out of their comfort zones, we are not part of the leadership problem. We should be ‘coaching up these new people and sending them out into the field to make a difference.’ I can safely say that if we are not doing these things, then we are part of the leadership problem in the fire service. The results will speak for themselves.
Rick Spence retired as Assistant Chief from the Reedy Creek FireDepartment after 30 years. Heis currently the Chaplain for the Florida Fire Chiefs’Association, Central Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association,Reedy Creek Fire Department, Lake County FireDepartment, Clermont Fire Department, Maitland Fire Department, and the Florida Professional Firefighters. He serves asSergeant of Arms for the Florida Professional Firefighters and International Association of Firefighters.He was selected Florida Professional Firefighter of the Year in 2018.He has been married to his wife Alecia for 36 years.
FLORIDA FIRE SERVICE Februar y2023 8
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Iknow all of us have had the opportunity or the requirement to change jobs once or twice throughout our careers. As many of you may know, I recently had the opportunity to move to a new position with the Center for Public Safety Excellence as the Commission on Fire Accreditation International Program Manager. Florida continues to lead the nation with the number of accredited agencies, credentialled officers and personnel. Throughout my career I have always leaned on these models to provide me with a path towards continuous improvement. Young people today are also looking for leadership and positive role models when making critical career decisions.
Our actions as fire chiefs are looked upon by our communities, our agencies, and our families as one of those to follow. With ever y action we make our performance is judged, opinions are formed, and decisions are made. This is one of those little things that’snot
found in the Fire Chief’s Handbook or in any National Fire Academy course. It’s about who we are and the life we have chosen as fire service leaders that makes us a very special type of person.
Our next generation of firefighters are looking to us for leadership. Despite the current lack of interest in public safety careers in most areas of the country, some communities in Florida are seeing an increase in interest. Recruiting efforts are also increasing and agencies are sponsoring candidates who need to complete their required state certifications. For some, paying for EMT and firefighter minimum standards courses are the highest hurdle to cross. This is where you and the Florida Fire Chiefs’ Foundation come together to help.
If you are an FFCA member you should do two things right now to make your charitable Foundation work best for you and your agency. First, you should find a way to
James White, CFO Foundation Chair
personally donate to the Foundation. We have multiple routes that can help you achieve this goal of financially supporting the FFCF. From our high-profile silent auction to membership in the Vigiles Society, we have the doors open to accept your donation. If you need help establishing your path, please reach out to your FFCF Board or your FFCA Regional Director. The second thing you should be doing is sponsoring your young firefighter candidates through your FFCF scholarship program. All applicants are required to secure the support of a local fire chief, who is an FFCA member. This could be your chance to fill that vacancy with someone who will be loyal to your agency for many years to come. Let’s all make a real effort this year to sponsor at least one candidate, and let’s find a way to donate to your Florida Fire Chiefs’ Foundation. Together, we can all make a difference in the future of Florida’s fire service.
FLORIDA FIRE SERVICE Februar y2023 10
Editor’s note: Lexipol recently released a new Live FireTraining Policy and Procedure for customers of our Fire & Rescue Policies & Training solution. If your department does not already subscribe to Lexipol policies, learn more here.
In 20+ years as a live fire instructor with the University of Missouri Fire & Rescue Training Institute, I’ve seen two recurring issues when it comes to live fire training. One is the approach of, “Let’s just go burn stuff”— without objectives, a plan, and the right preparation. The other is the idea that “more is better”—the desire of instructors to “make them feel the heat” so the focus becomes how big and hot the fire can get.
Both these approaches set the department up for significant risk—risk that you will expend precious resources without accomplishing training goals, and risk that you will hurt a student.
Why Is Live Fire Training Different?
While a methodical approach is beneficial for any training topic, it’s essential for live fire training. The high-risk, low-frequency nature of live fire training makes it unique. Access to acquired structures has dropped dramatically over the last several decades and is prohibited in some communities. Some
By Bruce Bjorge
departments are fortunate to have burn buildings or mobile trainers, but often these resources are shared regionally, meaning the average firefighter may only receive live fire training annually or even less frequently
Live fire training is also highly regulated, distinguishing it further from other types of training. It’s rare that we have an NFPA standard specifically focused on one aspect of training, but NFPA 1403 (which will soon be rolled into a consolidated NFPA standard) was developed specifically to address this high-hazard training environment.
For instructors, live fire training requires a lot more preparation and mentoring than other types of training. If your department relies on internal instructors to conduct live fire evolutions, it’s a good idea to have a formal program to train them. Provide sufficient time for instructors to build skill and comfort with an experienced instructor backing them up before you rely on them to conduct these evolutions independently.
Fire service leaders should also tap into state and national resources to ensure they’re incorporating best practices. The International Society of Fire Service Instructors (ISFSI) offers a high-quality live
fire instructor training program for both acquired structures and fixed facilities. This program or another reputable program is beneficial in preparing your local staff for training in this high-hazard environment. Before you’re ready to do it on your own, bring qualified, certified live fire instructors to your department so your trainers can learn safe and effective work practices.
Live Fire Training: Five Factors for Success
With safety and reducing risk as the foundation of your training approach, the following five factors can further enhance the effectiveness of live fire training.
#1: Training Objectives
“We just want to go burn stuff” is not a training objective. Before conducting live fire training, it’s essential to have clear, specific objectives identified and shared with everyone involved. How will you know the training is a success? What key crew per formance indicators or other data points will be measured?
#2: Safe Facility
Live fire training requires a facility that meets NFPA standards. No corners can be cut when it comes to evaluating whether the facility is safe—and that evaluation must be
FLORIDA FIRE SERVICE Februar y2023 12
conducted every time. Walkways, doorways, stairwells, vents, fire ignition systems in a class B facility (go/no-go sequence, piloted ignition)—all need to be inspected. Any deficiencies identified must be corrected before the training starts.
#3: Sufficient Instructors
Live fire training requires a higher instructor-to-student ratio than many other kinds of training. While the training evolution is ongoing, you must have at least one instructor for every five students and there should always be at least four instructors present. When students are in the box, there should be at least one instructor in the box with them.
Checklists and Go/No-Go Sequences
High-risk industries such as NASA, aviation and the military use checklists and go/no-go sequences to manage the risks associated with their operations. The fire service should do the same with live fire training. Before you light the candle, go through a series of checks: Is the fire ready to go, water supply established, Safety Officer ready, firefighters equipped with proper PPE, etc. You need a hard and fast procedure that is followed every time without question and a checklist established specifically for that training day. Invariably, someone will walk away from a pump panel or a student will forget a glove. The checklist makes sure we don’t go until ever yone is ready
#5: Preparation for the Unexpected
In almost all other training, instructors can reliably predict how students will act. That dependability goes out the door with live fire training. Instructors must be prepared for students to do something they normally wouldn’t do. Claustrophobia hits those who have never experienced it before. Students leave the fire building without telling you. They experience an issue with their equipment and remove something to try to fix it. During flashover training, they react by standing up, placing them at immediate risk for facepiece failure and burns. Instructors must be prepared to address student emergencies, and that means having proper guidance in place and practicing it so instructors know how to act when a student does something unexpected.
The Importance of Live Fire Training Policy
Virtually every fire department in the United States, regardless of type, will be tasked with live fire training at some point. And that means every fire department must have good policy and procedure in place for when they conduct the training. Some fire service leaders may think they only need a policy if they have a training facility at their department or plan to use an acquired structure. But if you bring in a mobile training organization or send your firefighters to another department or
institution for training, you still need guidance in place. And your instructors must have a high degree of proficiency on the policy.
Bottom line: Live fire training must be managed with rigorous preparation and adherence to regulations. The potential risk—the possibility of a student getting hurt or killed—is simply too high for anything less.
Bruce Bjorge’s fire service career includes more than 38 years of experience in command and training positions with career, combination, volunteer and military fire agencies. Currently, he is a Battalion Chief with the Western Taney County Fire District in Branson, Mo., and has also served as a company officer and Assistant Chief of Training. Bruce is also the Director for Fire Policy Sales at Lexipol. He formerly was the Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF) Specialist for the University of Missouri Fire & Rescue Training Institute where he managed their Mobile ARFF and other live-fire training programs. He has also served as a Training Developer for Lexipol. He holds Training Officer certification from the International Society of Fire Service Instructors and is a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Training Program Management course. Bruce has been an activeinstructor and evaluator for the past 28 years and is a regular presenter at state, regional and national conferences and training events.
Visit us at WWW.FFCA.ORG 13
Orange County Begins New Multi-Company Drill
By Ashley Gipson, Public Information Officer, Orange County Fire Rescue
Orange County Fire Rescue Department began its cur rent Multi-Company Drill (MCD)- hose line evolutions for a mid-rise structure and RIT operations- on Januar y 30, 2023. This hands-on training, conducted at the Central Florida Fire Institute (CFFI), focuses on 2” hose line deployment and extension, hose line management, and RIT recovery and treatment of firefighters. It also provides an opportunity for firefighters to train and become familiar with the new Scott SCBA the department will transition to this summer. The goal of the MCD is capture 100% of all field personnel, who will receive hands on classroom instruction and a timed scenario in a burn building. With the number of hotels in Orange County, Florida, in addition to new construction of residential buildings containing interior hallways, this training is critical for firefighters. “It is important that our firefighters train for all types of scenarios,” said Fire Chief James M. Fitzgerald. “We want them to be prepared for all types of emergencies and the various challenges they may encounter while responding to those calls.” This MultiCompany Drill will continue into April.
FLORIDA FIRE SERVICE Februar y2023 14
Vacation Rentals and Your Responsibility
By Rodney Kwiatkowski
Our communities are changing. That’sa given, but communities are always changing; that’s nothing new. And change isn’t necessarily a bad thing. When it comes to changing communities, the fire district’s goal is to adapt to the change and continue providing the needed services. We are not politicians, but public servants and among the most valuable service we provide is safety. Walk into any
supermarket, doctor’s office, library, etc., and you will find occupancy-specific passive and active fire and life safety features designed to protect life and limit the damage caused by fire: fire barriers, fire alarms systems, and sprinklers systems to name a few. Local fire districts have done a commendable job of keeping up with the change in these areas. However, there is one area where change has outpaced our ability
to keep up: vacation rentals.
Let me be clear, I am not proposing the enactment of any new legislation or ordinance aimed at restricting or prohibiting residential occupancies from renting as transient public lodging establishments; that is not my goal, nor is it my role. As a fire district, we must recognize the value both small and large business provides to a healthy, vibrant community. As Fire Marshal at West Manatee Fire Rescue (WMFR), I am the primary advocate for public and first responders’ safety. My objective is always, first and foremost, life safety!
Safety in Vacation Rentals
“It is estimated that someone is injured in a vacation rental every 44 seconds.” 1 Estimations aside, during the last three years on Anna Maria Island there were eleven structure fires at singlefamily residential occupancies. Of those eleven, eight, or 73% occurred at licensed transient public lodging establishments (TPLE).
Furthermore, on Anna Maria Island in 2022, not counting on our beaches or in swimming
FLORIDA FIRE SERVICE Februar y2023 16
Wesley Adams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Springfield Fire Department Scott Agans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Control Technologies William Banks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Kirk Enterprises Richard Barberi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Midway Fire District Joshua Bullard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .JFRD Karen Couvillion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .AngelTrack Software LLC Dale Deleacaes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Cape Coral Fire Department Tina Guiler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Triple F - Female Firefighter Dolls Luis Guzman . . . . . . . . . .HiDow International (Merchandise Plus LLC) Gary Harrington . .Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue & Emergency Services Douglas Higley . . . . . . . . . . .Pinellas Suncoast Fire and Rescue District Scott Holloway . . . .Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue & Emergency Services Mark Liebl . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Rural Metro Fire Department Briana Oliveira . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .GoldStar Products, INC Brooke Ricciardi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Fire ACT Jessica Ricciardi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Fire ACT Jeremi Roberts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Nassau County Fire Rescue Oscar Rodriguez . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Margate Fire Department James Schindler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Cocoa Beach Fire Department Doug Shatzel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .St. Johns County Fire Rescue Todd Sherman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Margate Fire Department Debbie Sileo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Clay County Fire Rescue Robert Turner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Lake Alfred Fire Department Samantha Whitehorne . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue & Emergency Services Mathew Williams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Fire ACT
pools located at multi-family occupancies, there were three pediatric drownings or near drownings; of those three, 100% occurred at TPLE’s.
The drowning crisis last year provoked a WMFR Water Safety Campaign that was kicked off by a press conference in Holmes Beach, FL where, among other experts, Manatee County Commissioner Chairman Kevin Van Ostenbridge and the City of Holmes Beach Mayor Judy Titsworth gave impassioned pleas imploring the public to commit to overseeing young people while in and around our waters. Since then, WMFR has continued its efforts to provide water safety materials to local vacation rental companies. Along the way, questions have been asked as to the extent of oversight the local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) has over vacation rentals. This article wishes to address that question.
What is a Vacation Rental?
Florida Statute 509.242(1) states, “A public lodging establishment shall be classified as a hotel, motel, non-transient apartment, bed and breakfast inn, or vacation rental if the establishment satisfies the following criteria…” Florida Statute 509.242(1)(c) goes on to define a vacation rental as, “Any unit or group of units in a condominium or cooperative or any individually or collectively owned singlefamily, two-family, three-family, or four-family house or dwelling unit that is also a transient public lodging establishment...” And finally, Florida Statute 509.013(4)(a)(1) defines Transient Public Lodging Establishments as “any unit, group of units, dwelling, building, or group of buildings within a single complex of buildings which is rented to guests more than three times in a calendar year for periods of less than 30 days or 1 calendar month, whichever is less, or which is advertised or held out to the public as a place regularly rented to guests.” Transient public lodging establishments are licensed by the Florida
Department of Business and Professional Regulations (DBPR).
There are some exclusions, however. For example, if one had a single-family home and wished to convert it into an assisted living facility, a license from Agency for Healthcare Administration (ACHA) would be required. Similarly, requirements for daycare centers and nursing home licensure would be required. The aforementioned are occupancies that fire districts around the State of Florida have been inspecting annually for years without hesitation or question. Fire Districts inspect these occupancies utilizing the appropriate prescriptive chapters of the current edition of the Florida Fire Prevention Code, State Statute 633, and/or Florida Administrative Chapter 69A, respectively This writer has never had anyone question the authority or legitimacy of the AHJ’s annual inspection of a single-family occupancy converted to an assisted living facility. So why the questions regarding local fire districts’ authority over TPLEs and do the fire codes address the issue?
Fire Code and Vacation Rentals
Florida State Statute 633.206(1)(b) Uniform Fire Safety Standards states “State Legislature mandates local fire jurisdictions protect the health, safety, and welfare of “all-new, existing, and proposed… nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult family-care homes… transient public lodging establishments…” Additionally, it goes on to say in 633.206(2)(b), “All such local authorities shall enforce, within their fire safety jurisdiction, the uniform fire safety standards for those buildings specified in paragraph (1)(b).” Lastly, the Division of State Fire Marshal’s Florida Administrative Code 69A-43 Uniform Fire Safety Standards for Transient Public Lodging Establishments, Timeshare Plans, And Timeshare Unit Facilities further address the required inspections of TPLEs and which specific prescriptive code sections to utilize.
As the State of Florida continues its recordsetting population growth, more and more single-family occupancies are converting to TPLEs. As the number of TPLEs continues to multiply, so do the inherent risks associated with them. If you are worried about litigation, should you start inspecting TPLEs in your jurisdiction, consider your defense after a fire at a TPLE in your district takes the lives of one, two, 10, or more people. This writer would much rather fight the former than the latter. To date, there are over 143,000 licensed transient public lodging establishments in the State of Florida. Do you know how many are in your jurisdiction and most importantly, are they safe for the public and first responders?
Rodney Kwiatkowskihas beenFire Marshal at West Manatee Fire Rescue Districtsince 2019.AsFire Marshalhe is theprimary advocate for publicand first respondersafety; a duty he is honored toperform.He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit us at WWW.FFCA.ORG 17
Pictured L-R: WMFR Fire Chief Ben Rigney; Manatee County Commissioner Chairman Kevin Van Ostenbridge; WMFR Fire Marshal Rodney Kwiatkowski, the City of Holmes Beach Mayor Judy Titsworth; former Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore; Holmes Beach Police Chief William Tokajer attend Drowning Awareness Campaign Press Conference, March 10, 2022)
Why First Responders Can Count on Vertically Integrated American Manufacturers
Aquick internet search will tell you that the average vehicle is composed of approximately 30,000 parts, sourced from thousands of suppliers around the globe. One can only imagine how that number grows exponentially when factoring in the complexity and added content on fire apparatuses and other vehicles that support first responders. This market relies on a robust supply base, and many who support this industry proudly manufacture throughout the United States.
Some of the more successful manufacturers believe the key to endurance in this unpredictable market is the use of vertical integration. The ability for a supplier or manufacturer to vertically integrate their processes guarantees efficiency in production and cuts down on delays in delivery and transportation. Those who rely heavily on assembled components from overseas and outside suppliers are finding it difficult to maintain their product pipelines.
Vertical Integration Is Critical
As a New England-based manufacturing company with seventy years in the business and facilities encompassing over one million square feet, Whelen Engineering is a fitting example of how vertical integration enables a more stable production process and increases reliability for customers. Whelen recognized years ago that
By Jim Stopa
vertical integration is more than just a part of a good business model; it is critical to success. Their strategic planning allows them to circumvent the unpredictability of the supply chain with relative ease, especially when compared with manufacturers who choose to offshore processes.
“With our heavy vertical integration of engineering and manufacturing capabilities, we are able to completely control the priority of work that needs to be done across all departments to maintain and support the production of our products,” says James Whelen, Senior Vice President of Engineering at Whelen. “Over the past year our engineering team has modified or redesigned over sixty electrical hardware designs including changes to bills of materials, printed circuit board (PCB) schematics and layouts, and embedded code (firmware). Our in-house testing facilities and capabilities ensure we are not compromising on quality and standards, despite having to react quickly and make design changes due to the supply chain challenge,” he says. This ability to control their destiny despite all the obstacles and shortcomings of the current supply base makes a critical difference.
It’s All About Reliability
When comparing suppliers one must consider their reliability, especially considering
the challenges that still exist in the supply chain today. It is important to look for a supplier that has the experience and resources to navigate difficulties and deliver the goods. When supply bases break down like they have over the past several years, superior manufacturers like Whelen use their vast in-house resources to ensure product pipelines remain stable for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and other customers. This ability to adapt and overcome daily challenges allows control of all sides of engineering and manufacturing. Adjustments are made as necessary to continue the flow of shipments, and products get where they are needed the most.
LION, another American manufacturer focusing on vertical integration, was also able to adapt during the pandemic to continue making gear emergency service providers, civilian responders and militaries need to stay safe in the line of duty. “The supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19 caused increased lead times and backorders of equipment required for first responders,” says LION’s Vice President of American Sales, Adam Hall. “Being able to reduce the impact of these shortages by being proactive in expanding our manufacturing facility and increasing workforce with increased wages and incentives was critical in enabling us to continue shipping turnout gear to the fire service.”
By being both the designer and manufacturer, and not just assembler, premier suppliers like LION and Whelen can pivot and make enhancements internally to continue building products with only slight delays or interruptions to customers. Within vertically integrated companies the operations, purchasing and engineering teams are in constant communication, helping to make certain that production pipelines stay robust.
This tight communication among internal departments means that if purchasing determines there is a future supply chain problem with a specific part, for example, the engineering department will immediately work to find (or make) a similar part. If the component does not fit perfectly into a design, an engineering change will occur, and the necessary adjustments will be made. The redesign, qualifying, and testing of the new part is all done within the engineering department, while the manufacturing department works
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An employee at Whelen Engineering cleans one of the molds used to make their 400 Series Brake/Tail/Turn lightheads.
simultaneously to update processes and develop production testing. In a vertically integrated environment, this all happens seamlessly with little or no interruption to delivery schedules.
In Whelen’s case, by making nearly all their product components internally they avoid many of the pitfalls that other manufacturers face. By manufacturing everything from sheet metal parts, plastic injection molded parts, electronic circuit assemblies, and printed circuit boards on site, and by per forming powder coating, hard coating, and vacuum metallization in-house as well, they control the process and eliminate many of the variables that cause backlogs and delays for suppliers who rely on outsourcing to manufacture their products.
Don’t Overlook Service and Support
And while the focus on new builds and new products is of paramount importance, one should not overlook the service and support a manufacturer provides after the sale. As the industry continues to sort out supply challenges and many face the end-of-life (EOL) of certain products, service and support continue to be of critical importance. First Responders still need to keep their older apparatuses on the road despite part shortages, product EOLs, and supply chain delays. In this industry lives depend on it.
Superior manufacturers recognize this fact and have plans in place to meet the demands of their customers. If an apparatus is out of service, first responders need a partner that is sensitive to their needs and able to guide them to the right solution. The elite manufacturers in our industry will do that by using regional manufacturer representatives that can quickly solve customer problems without needing help from a factory that is across the country or overseas. They will have the resources, staff, and knowledge base to face challenges head on, as shown by the success those manufacturers are still achieving in today’s challenging marketplace. By choosing a flexible and vertically integrated supplier, first responders are ensuring they can keep their apparatuses on the road today and in the future. They’re also helping to secure employment for a proud American workforce.
Jim Stopa worked for 48 years at Whelen Engineering, starting as an electronic technician and climbing the ladder to become an associate electrical engineer, senior electrical engineer, then chief electronic design engineer and electrical department manager, retiring in January 2022.
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An employee at Whelen’s Charlestown, NH facility runs a robotic CNC router in their plastics vacuum forming machine shop.
The Florida RIT Operations Group (FROG) conducted their annual Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) competition January 18-20, 2023, at the Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association’s Fire-Rescue EAST Conference and Exposition in Daytona Beach.This year celebrated FORG’s 10th Anniversary of holding the competition while providing the classes, training, and skills necessary to conduct a successful RIT operation.This year, the Florida RIT Operations Group was honored to be recognized as the Florida Fire Service Instructor of the Year.FROG has endeavored each year to create a unique and challenging training and educational
environment that focuses on the basics of successful rapid intervention techniques.The members of FROG were touched by the recognition for their efforts. This year twentyone teams competed in this year’s competition that saw the previous year’s campion returning to defend their title.
This year’s final scenario was the August 11, 2021, Frederick County, MD residential house fire that tragically lost CaptainJoshuaLaird.This scenario is all too common in today’s fire service as what appears at times to be a “routine” house fire can unexpectedly and rapidly intensify.Captain Laird fell into the basement, called a “Mayday” and was talking through the attempted rescue efforts. For the first time in FROG’s history, the team recreated not just the physical scene but also the radio scene.FROG instructors transcribed the exact radio traffic from the various units on scene that day and using
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ByVince Cinque, Division Chief, BrowardSheriff FireRescue
FROG’s communications system’s radios, used various instructors to recreate the radio traffic, cross talk and distractions that are common on an evolving fire scene.This level of realism added to the intensity for the rescuers and challenged the incident commander to get control of their
channel and continue to oversee the rescue operation.
Finally, nothing happens without the details of planning. From the moment the competition ends, the PIA is conducted, techniques are reviewed, and preparation begins for next year’s event.The FROG team has over 300 years of fire service instructional experience at its core.FROG will be conducting an interyear competition at the Palm Beach State Invitational in South Florida May 2-4, 2023, and will be back for its 11th year when the new Florida Fire Conference debuts in Orlando in January, 2024.Until then, train hard and please stay safe.
Final Rankings 2023 RIT Competition
First– Boynton Beach Fire Rescue
Second – Coral Gables Fire Rescue
Third– Boca Raton AFireRescue
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2023 RIT Competition Champions - Boynton Beach Fire Rescue
2022 Florida Fire Service Awards
2022 Award of Excellence in Community Public Education Program
Tamarac Fire Rescue
Smoke Alarm Program
2022 Public Information Officer of the Year Award
James Lucas, Marion County Fire Rescue
2022 Executive Fire Officer of the Year Award
Julius Halas, Office of the State Fire Marshal
2022 Fire Marshal of the Year Award
Brian Simmons, City of Rockledge Department of Public Safety
2022 Fire Service Instructor of the Year Award
Florida RIT Operations Group
2022 Hazmat Responder of the Year Award
Ed Dwyer, Estero Fire Rescue
2022 Search and Rescue Responder of the Year Award
Brandy Paternoster, Miami-Dade County Fire Rescue - Florida Taskforce 1
2022 Volunteer Fire Officer of the Year
Yoshimi Core, Escambia County Fire Rescue
FLORIDA FIRE SERVICE
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2023 Fire-Rescue EAST ALS Competition
The 2023 ALS competition on January 18-20 in Daytona Beach was one of the most challenging ALS competitions to date. This year there were twenty-one teams who competed for the title. Teams entering the preliminaries faced three scenarios and a game of “Operation” with cumulative scoring. The top five teams with the highest score continued to the challenging final scenario. During each scenario, the teams had Body Simulation mannequins and real-life actors to challenge their skills.
On the first day, the competitors responded to a nursing home setting where a nurse had come to work hungover and was still intoxicated after heavily drinking the night before. While the patients continued to ask for their medications, the nurse accidently overdosed five of them to quiet them down so she could rest. Each patient overdosed on a different medication; Tylenol, Cardizem,
Opiates, Lorazepam, and Tricyclic Antidepressant. Teams needed to located the medication log to successfully diagnose and treat the overdoses. Teams did a great job treating each patient accordingly and administering the appropriate antidote within the five-minute time frame.
If the first scenario did not test the competitor’s mind enough, they had ten minutes to re-group and move onto their second scenario for the day.
Scenario two was a black-market surgery center involving a heart transplant patient, a doctor, and a nurse. The nurse called 911 because the doctor was acting confused; the doctor then became unresponsive causing him to collapse into cardiac arrest. When the doctor fell, he pulled out the heart transplant patient’s ventilator tubing and pacer wire. The nurse ran to EMS once they arrived but she tripped over the scalpel table resulting insignificant
lacerations to her neck and both arms. Teams of three had to treat three critical patients simultaneously: the doctor in cardiac arrest, the patient in a bradycardic rhythm on a ventilator, and a trauma alert with three critical lacerations requiring two tourniquets and an occlusive dressing. Each team had five minutes to treat and stabilize all three patients appropriately.
To begin day two each team started out with a scenario. Amidst a hurricane, teams were dispatched to a fall at a private residence. When they arrived, they walked into an EDM hurricane party, where the competitors found a generator inside the home, a DJ playing loud music, and strobe lights. The generator resulted in three patients with CO poisoning. The DJ was having severe chest pain resulting in a STEMI, a partier fell off the stage causing a head injury while another patient was having photosensitive seizure from the strobe lights. To
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make the scenario more challenging, the teams were unable to go outside due to the hurricane force winds and when they turned the generator off, the lights turned off with it. Each team had eight minutes to triage and treat each patient.
Once scenario three was complete the teams were in the home stretch of the preliminaries to a relaxing game of “Operation”; or was it? During the game, one team member choose a card with a body part from the operation game. On the other side of the card was a medication. Another team member had to work independently to choose the appropriate dose for the medication. If they chose the correct medication dose, the final team member had to “operate” to extract the selected body part from the game without it buzzing. Following each attempt, the team members rotated positions. Each team had five minutes to get as many medication doses and parts extracted as possible.
At the end of day two the top five preliminary teams were established and advanced to the Finals to compete for Bronze, Silver, and Gold!
Broward Sheriff’s Office, Palm Beach County Fire Rescue, Miramar Team B Fire Rescue, Davie Fire Rescue and West Palm Beach Fire.
The Final scenario was a backyard BBQ birthday party that was hit with a massive microburst of wind. The teams were dispatched to a burn patient. Once they first arrived the teams were met with a bounce house that was blown over and deflated; come to find out there was a toddler in the bounce house with a broken arm whom the teams needed to find. Simultaneously, an anxious mother was hysterically trying to locate her baby, the DJ was complaining of severe chest pain, and another patient was screaming with severe chest burns from a gas grill explosion. If that was not enough noise, the teams attempted to focus over the loud DJ music and found one of the large speakers had fallen on a little girl. Nearby, the wind burst had caused two tree trimmers next door significant injury when one cut his arm with a chain saw causing a severe laceration while the other fell into a bee hive sustaining multiple stings and a serious allergic reaction. Meanwhile, the search for the missing baby continued. During the search, teams found a patient who was ejected from a golf cart with a head injury and severe bruising to her right side requiring a needle decompression and another burn patient from the grill. If teams were diligent, they located the missing baby in a pool, drowned and in respiratory arrest. The teams had twelve minutes to complete this very demanding and strenuous scenario. All teams did an amazing job staying calm and working together to treat all ten patients appropriately.
Congratulations to the Final standings.
First - Broward County Sheriff’s Office
Second - Davie Fire Rescue
Third - Palm Beach County Fire Rescue
Thank you to all the teams who competed! You all did an amazing job, and we look forward to seeing you next year. Thank you to all the judges and actors for volunteering your time and assisting us with such a great event, you all truly made this event a success. Thank you to Julie Singleton and the Echo Healthcare Team of Hannah Moon and Linda Ossowicz for doing such an amazing job on the moulage and making it appear so realistic.
Special thanks to our sponsors without whom we could never produce such an amazing event. Thanks goes out to Ten-8/Braun/Demers, Echo Healthcare, Stryker, Phillips/Ferno, Fitch and Associates, MES, Sargent Fire Bags, and North American Rescue.
Finally, we would like to thank St. Petersburg Fire Rescue and the ALS Competition planning committee of Ian Womack, David Schaefer, Travis Witt, Rob Neuberger, David Walker, Jordon Woolverton, and Brooke Stidham for creating and delivering this event.
See you all next year!
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First Place - Broward County Sheriff’s Office
Second Place - Davie Fire Rescue
Third Place - Palm Beach County Fire Rescue
2023 Fire-Rescue EAST
Firesled Extreme Challenge
Firesled Extreme Challenge 2023 Fire-Rescue EAST
Fresled Fitness and Training held the fourth annual Firesled Extreme Challenge at the Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association’s Fire-Rescue EAST. There was an amazing turnout, and it was inspiring to watch these occupational athletes showcase their fitness and firefighting skills. Twelve agencies were represented, some with multiple teams and individuals participating in the competition. a 13year-old cadet to a battalion chief and division chief. The Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association and Firesled Fitness and Training would like to thank all those who competed in and supported this great event. Thank you to returning sponsor NAFECO for supplying competitor tshirts, to our new sponsor Fechheimer for the second place tactical slacks, and to
Christy White for the amazing job he did once again on the first place helmets!
Congratulations to the winners:
First - Belinda Dotson (four-time champion), Orange County Fire Rescue (OCFRD)
Second - Stacie Diaz, (OCFRD)
Third - Vanessa Howell, Marion County Fire Rescue (MCFR)
First - Vince Robinson, Winter Garden Fire Department (WGFD)
Second - Joe Vesce, Boca Raton Fire Rescue
Third - Ty Epling, Reedy Creek Fire Department
First - Dotson/Arcamonte (OCFRD)
First - Deiorio/Orozco (MCFR)
Second - Vespucci/Manuel (OCFRD)
Third - Robinson/Remy (WGFD)
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Windy and freezing cold weather conditions created a tough task for South Walton Fire District A Shift firefighters on December 23 when they were called to a rapidly growing structure fire in a highlypopulated area of Seagrove Beach.
Firefighters who were first on-scene arrived at 10:07 a.m. to find heavy fire fully involving one residence that was under construction on Oasis Lane.
The flames were rapidly spreading to neighboring structures on Bramble Lane due to the windy weather and proximity of the residences.
SWFD’s District Chief 1 then arrived and assumed command of the incident, striking a second alarm to bring in resources from all five fire stations, as well as mutual aid.
As firefighters began deploying multiple attack lines and aerial master streams to protect as many exposures as possible. SWFD, Walton
County Sheriff’s Office, and Walton County Emergency Management established a unified command due to the size of the fire and need for precautionary evacuations in neighboring streets.
Firefighters worked for an extended period of time extinguishing the fire and completing overhaul operations. Personnel remained onscene throughout the night and performed routine checks the following day to monitor for flare-ups and mitigate the smoldering debris.
The SWFD Fire Marshal and State Fire Marshal’s Office conducted a joint investigation and determined the fire was caused by the malfunctioning of a propane-fueled heater being used at the construction site on Oasis Lane.
The investigation also determined the residence of origin was a complete loss. One neighboring residence suffered heavy damage and another residence suffered moderate
Thankfully, no injuries were reported despite the rapid escalation of the incident.
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ByMackenzie McClintock, Public Information Officer, South Walton Fire District
Central Florida Rope Rescue Challenge
By Andrew Sullivan, Sr. Public Information Manager, St. Cloud Rescue
The St. Cloud Rescue Access Technician team, also known affectionately as S.C.R.A.T., participated in the Central Florida Rope Rescue Challenge, held January 14 at the Fire Rescue Institute in Orlando.
Our top-notch technical rescue team, made up of David Miller, Logan Smith, Jonathan Ferrante, Christopher Merrell, Reece Foster,
Ty Toomey, and Danny Wommack, competed against teams from other agencies across Central Florida. Ours was the only agency competing at the Challenge representing an agency from Osceola County.
“I am proud of the effort our team put in to prepare for their first time competing in the event,” said St. Cloud Fire Chief Jason Miller.
“Our department continues to realize the benefits of being able to improve technical rescue skills in our own State-certified fire training center.”
The event featured competitions in a variety of rope rescue scenarios each testing teams’ physical and mental capabilities, as well as the ability to work quickly and safely together.
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Fire Service Tenure/Career Journey:
As Deputy Chief of Administration, Wallentine oversees SCFD’s training division, logistics, capital projects, fire prevention, and administrative office staff. The position is part of a recent department endeavor to expand administrative leadership and management support to operational teams and administrative services. Wallentine brings more than 30 years of experience in the fire service.
In November of 1996, Wallentine was hired by the Tucson Fire Department (TFD) in Tucson, AZ. He has served as a firefighter, firefighter/paramedic, captain, battalion chief, and deputy chief. Prior to arriving in Sarasota County, he lead the TFD Safety & Wellness Division.
As the TFD Safety & Wellness Chief, Wallentine worked to develop and implement programs related to occupational health and wellness, cancer research and prevention, and behavioral health support for firefighters.
Prior to his time at the Tucson Fire Department, Wallentine served the Orange County Fire Authority in California for four years.
“I am honored to work alongside the men and women of the Sarasota County Fire
Department and be a part of the continued excellence with which the department serves the citizens and visitors of Sarasota County,” said Wallentine.
Wallentine received a master’s degree in Public Safety Leadership and Administration from Arizona State University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from California State University at Fullerton. He is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in law and policy.
Wallentine is especially proud of the work he has participated in related to firefighter occupational cancer and his involvement in the national Fire Fighter Cancer Cohort Study (FFCCS.org).
Sources of Funding for Jurisdiction: Non-Ad Valorem Assessments (Fire Only), Ad Valorem Millage (EMS Only), impact fees, user fees, and grants.
Population served including square miles covered:
450,000 and 575 sq/miles.
Composition of Department:
547 commissioned personnel, 65 civilian personnel
Sarasota County Fire Department is an allhazards response fire department with 22
engine companies, three truck companies, one squad, 24 rescue ambulances, one medic truck, three EMS Captains, four Battalion Chiefs, five wildland brush trucks, one fire boat, one command vehicle, and assorted support vehicles for fire and technical rescue operations.
Sarasota County Fire Department responded to over 68,000 emergency incidents in 2022 and transported over 35,000 patients to area hospitals.
What is the most challenging issue facing your department today?
Staffing and recruitment are two opportunities the department has identified for adjustments as we look to grow the department and continue serving our community. As SCFD works toward accreditation, committees have been formed to focus on succession planning and recruitment.
Describe your management style.
The management style I seek to embody is as a coach or mentor. The role of an organizational leader is to develop and provide opportunities to upcoming leaders in the organization. This is intentional to foster professional development for a learning organization.
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Darin Wallentine, Deputy Chief of Administration, Sarasota County Fire Department
Does your department have a formal, long-range strategic plan?
Yes, the Sarasota County Fire Department has a long-range strategic plan. This is coordinated through the County Emergency Services Director and County leadership. More information on the strategic plan can be found at scgov.net.
How are you doing things differently today because of the economy?
Regardless of department or jurisdiction, every fire department around the country is working to provide the same or higher levels of services with increasing costs of doing business. Many departments, including Sarasota County Fire, have managed to
maintain a high level of professional services while finding ways to adjust to varying levels of available resources.
What challenges do you see facing the fire service today?
I believe that the challenges facing the fire service today are in the areas of recruitment, retention, and support for fire personnel in the areas of safety, health, and wellness.
Firefighters are increasingly challenged to cope with a career that can lead to physical injuries, cancer diagnosis, and mental health issues.
What do you look for in a new recruit?
I look for a new recruit that demonstrates a growth mindset. New firefighters seek to prove themselves and assimilate into the profession. The firefighters I look for are driven, learn from their mistakes, and seek to make every day a training day.
How do you view training?
I view training with the perspective that each shift should be an opportunity to learn something new, improve and refine previously learned skills, and stretch firefighters to broaden their ability to make solid decisions under immense pressure. Training should be an environment where we can push each
other so that when we are responding to emergencies, they can draw on the training experience to save lives and protect property. The fire service training environment is best served with rank-specific evolutions, leveraging technology, and seeking to implement best practices through collaboration.
Do you have a close working relationship with your neighboring departments?
Here in Sarasota County, we are privileged to have a great working relationship with our neighboring jurisdictions as well as working with our law enforcement partners in a variety of areas.
What’s the future for the fire service as you see it?
I believe that the future of the fire service is to always be ready to pivot and build depth in our ability to change our service model. The fire service is now embracing the areas of social services, Community Risk Reduction, and maximizing our ability to provide highquality EMS and fire response services. We are using technology increasingly in areas that build big data sets and analytics. Data and improved analytics improve our ability to make good decisions and provide the best services to the communities we serve.
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North Port Cuts Ribbon on New Training Tower
By Madison Heid, Deputy
North Port Fire Rescue cut the ribbon on its new fire training tower in January, marking the start of new training opportunities and more effective response.
North Port Fire Rescue (NPFR) personnel, City leadership, and guests from surrounding fire rescue departments joined to celebrate the opening of a facility years in the making.
The modular building features burn rooms, confined space training areas, and
rooms simulated to look like a kitchen, dining room, bedroom and more. It will be used by personnel for tactical rescue team training, live fire and for honing other skills. The training area in total is 9,630 square feet.
“This is a project 25 years in the making from initial proposal to project completion, and the list of people that contributed to its success is long,” North Port Fire Chief Scott Titus said. “This project will provide an incredible return on investment to our community and neighboring communities as a regional training location to meet and train with our mutual aid partners to ensure efficient and effective responses for the emergencies we encounter on a daily basis. I’m looking forward to getting our crews inside to continue prepare for the high risk, low frequency calls that can lead to tragedy if our members are not prepared.”
The total cost of the training tower is $2 million, with most paid by Surtax dollars, and around 35% paid through Fire Rescue District
funds. Sarasota County voters recently showed their support for the penny tax by voting to continue it in the 2022 election. Chief Titus’s number 63 is adorned on the front of the building, commemorating his –and many others – hard work to make this project come to life. Crews are excited to begin training and bettering their skills.
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Communications Manager, PIO, North Port Fire Rescue
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Sarasota County Fire Department Partners with Law Enforcement for Active Shooter Training
By Sara Nealeigh, Media Relations Officer, Sarasota County Emergency Services
Sarasota County Fire Department is continuously working to train for different scenarios, including an active shooter or hostile environment incident response alongside our partners in law enforcement.
SCFD, partnered with the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office and the City of Sarasota Police Department, has completed three active shooter exercises since July 2022.
In addition to training, SCFD recently purchased ballistic vests to better protect SCFD firefighters in these dangerous environments. These situations are unique as both agencies
work together and collaborate as a team to triage, treat, and transport injured victims while creating and maintaining a safe and secure environment. This extensive coordination and integral teamwork and training between agencies is imperative to furthering our partnerships and providing our community with the best support possible.
By practicing these high-intensity and largescale events in realistic training scenarios with all agencies involved we are able to combine resources and better serve the community in the event of a real hostile situation.
SCFD is grateful to have ongoing positive partnerships with our local law enforcement agencies including the SSO and municipality police departments that provide realistic training for our first responders.
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North Port Fire Rescue Names Four New Lieutenants
By Madison Heid, Deputy Communications Manager
Four North Port Fire Rescue members were promoted to Lieutenant Friday, following a challenging multi-day testing process. We look forward to all they will contribute to the NPFR team. Congratulations on this hard-earned promotion, gentlemen!
Flagler County Assists with Whale Rescue
By Lacy Martin, Marketing Media Manager
Highlands County Promotes Two Members
By Karen Clogston, Public Information Assistant
Highlands County Fire Rescue promoted two of its members recently, one to the rank of captain and the other to the rank of lieutenant, in front of staff and family at headquarters.
On Tuesday, January 31, Daniel Ciorrocco and Branden Fitch both received their new officer’s badges and gear at a promotion ceremony held at Fire Rescue headquarters on Kenilworth Boulevard.
“We are excited to see continued career growth for our members,” Chief Laney Stearns, Highlands County’s Public Safety Director, said. “Both Daniel and Branden are vital to our department’s leadership.”
Ciorrocco was hired as a lieutenant firefighter/medic with Fire Rescue in March 2020. He sat for his captain’s interview in January. His family was at the ceremony Tuesday, and his father, Rocky, pinned his badge on him.
“I am honored to have been selected for the position of captain,” Ciorrocco said. “This promotion is a huge step forward in my career and I look forward to serving the department and community.
“Thank you to all who have supported me throughout my time here with Highlands County Fire Rescue,” he said.
On Wednesday, January 11, Flagler County Fire Rescue Station 41, which houses multiple Marine Rescue members, was dispatched to assist SeaWorld with a beached orca whale just south of Jungle Hut Beach in Flagler County. Unfortunately, the orca did not make it and needed to be transported to SeaWorld Orlando for her necropsy. Since the event, we have learned the 5,000 pound orca whale was in fact geriatric and died of several illnesses.
Inspector King Awarded Medal for Heroism
By Nicole Chesser, Chief of Staff
The National Society Sons of the American Revolution (NSSAR) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history, and promoting education to future generations. Each year the Naples Chapter honors community First Responders and Public Service Members at their award luncheon. This year, Greater Naples Fire Rescue District Fire Inspector Kristen King was awarded the Medal for Heroism for her swift actions on July 18, 2022 to assist a driver whose vehicle had just driven into a canal. Inspector King came upon the accident during her daily inspection route and she entered the water to help the driver exit the vehicle as it was sinking. Inspector King is very deserving of this award for her compassion and selfless actions while carrying out her routine duties.
Meanwhile, Fitch has been with Fire Rescue as a firefighter/medic since October 2020. He is also a field training officer and a member of the Special Operations team. He had several family members in attendance at the ceremony His mom, Tracy, pinned his badge on him.
Fitch passed his lieutenant’s exam in December.
“I am very thankful for this opportunity and excited to be a part of this growing department,” Fitch said.
Tampa Fire Rescue Welcomes New Firefighters
ByVivian Shedd, Public Information Officer
On January 6, 2023, Tampa Fire Rescue welcomed 23 new firefighters into the department. Their graduation followed a grueling six-week orientation, filled with live fire training, water rescues, and classroom learning.
Congratulations to recruit class 22-04 on their graduation: Tyler Bailey, Jarod Barrett, Landon Bass, Charles Benitez III, Kevin Benkel, Helen Breeden, Mitchell Carter, Joseph Dalton, Jackenson Guerrier, Philip Guidone, Daniel Hart, Austin Lanyon, Garrette Odor, Angel Perazo, Cole Rexford, Joshua Reyes, Matthew Sabo, Ronald Simmons, Robert Sollenberger, Brody Stewart, Tyler Van Nortwick, Addelove Watkins, and Paul Yglesias.
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Pictured L-R: Lieutenant Adam Inlow, Lieutenant Tyler Giuliano, Fire Chief Scott Titus, Lieutenant Anthony Morandi and Lieutenant Shawn Krajic.
Highlands County Promotes Two to Lieutenant
By Karen Clogston, Public Information Assistant
On Wednesday, January 11, Max Sherwood and Ceceil “CJ” Williams both received their new officer’s badge and gear at a promotion ceremony held at Fire Rescue headquarters on Kenilworth Boulevard.
Both Sherwood and Williams passed their lieutenant’s exam inDecember, which consisted of a written portion and an in-person assessment where both candidates went station to station to complete various tasks and assignments.
Sherwood has been a firefighter/EMT with Fire Rescue since 2014. His family was at the ceremony, and his wife, Sarah, pinned his badge on him. Meanwhile, Williams has been with Fire Rescue as a firefighter/EMT for four years. He had several family members in attendance at the ceremony It was an emotional moment for their family as his mom, Sharon, who had tears in her eyes, pinned his badge on him.
“This is a big step for somebody coming out of the ranks and into the rank of an officer,” Chief Laney Stearns, Highlands County’s Public Safety director, said. “I know you both are going to take it seriously.You are the leadership.”
Tampa Fire Rescue 2022 Firefighter of the Year
By Vivian Shedd, Public Information Officer
Congratulations to the 2022 Firefighter of the Year, District Chief Michael Pelaez.
Chief Pelaez led Team Tampa Fire Rescue in the preparation, packaging, and delivery of gifts for children in the City of Tampa through the Sincerely Santa program for Christmas 2021. Chief Pelaez commits countless hours of his own time to coordinate and ensure that select children in need have Christmas presents delivered to their homes. Chief Pelaez is a 24+ year veteran of Tampa Fire Rescue with 30 total years in the Fire Service. He has served in the capacity of Firefighter, Paramedic, Lieutenant, Captain, and District Chief for the “B-Platoon.”
The Brotherhood Ride Stops in Bunnell
By Lacy Martin, Marketing Manager
TheBrotherhood Ridemade a stop in Bunnell, Florida at Fire Station 62 on January 27, 2023. The riders travel across Florida in memory of our 85 fallen Florida First Responders who died in the line of duty in 2021 including: Flagler County Sheriff’s Office Deputy First Class Paul Luciano, Bunnell Police Department Sergeant Dominic Guida, and FBI Special Agent Daniel Alfin, son of Palm Coast Mayor David Alfin.
This is an eight-day trek, where the riders sleep overnight in local fire stations and elk lodges, wake up early, and continue with their journey. About forty riders rode in from SR 100 and U.S. 1 north. The next stop is St. Augustine, where they have a police, escort ranging from Volusia County deputies to our own Flagler County Sheriffdeputies.
Orange County Fire Rescue Medal Day 2022
By Jesse Canales, Assistant Public Information Officer
In January, OCFRD held its annual Medal Day Ceremony at Full Sail Live in Winter Park Village. It was the first one the department held since 2019. Fox 35 Good Day Orlando co-host Amy Kaufeldt emceed the event and Publix graciously provided hors d’oeuvres. It was an opportunity to recognize first responders for their heroism and bravery responding to various calls. More than 240 awards were issued, ranging from Lifesaving to Distinguished. Those who were rescued, family and friends also attended to honor the brave men and women in uniform.
Fire Chief Sapp Named Citizen of the Year
ByNicole Chesser, Chief of Staff
The East Naples Civic & Commerce is an organization of residents and businesses that stewards economic development and business activity in East Naples, Florida. Greater Naples Fire Rescue District Fire Chief J. Nolan Sapp was awarded their Citizen of the Year Award at their Annual Dinner Banquet in January. It is evident that Fire Chief Sapp has earned the trust and respect of the community during his 32 years of public service in Collier County.
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Off-Duty Polk County Member Saves a Child’s Life
By Katelyn Hoverkamp, Public Information Officer
While PCFR Driver/Engineer Dustin Bovill and his family were enjoying the Havendale Christmas Parade on December 2, 2022, Bovill observed that a child riding on a float was having a medical emergency near the intersection of Havendale Blvd NW and 34th St NW. Bovill quickly jumped onto the moving parade float and began to render aid.
Bovill cleared the child’s airway, ultimately saving the child’s life. Bovill rode on the float with the patient and the patient’s family until the float reached the end of the parade route. Bovill was then able to transfer care to a PCFR Rescue Truck that was standing by. The patient was transported to a nearby hospital.
“While I was watching the float pass by, I saw the father’s expression as he looked up from the float and I knew that something was not right,” Bovill said. “After I saw the child’s father, I jumped onto the moving float in order to assist in anyway that I could.”
Bovill has worked for Polk County Fire Rescue since 2014. He began his career as a Firefighter/EMT before being promoted to a Driver/Engineer position in 2018. Bovill has also been a member of the division’s special operations team since 2015.
“Driver/EngineerBovill’sinstinct to jump in and assist a citizenin need demonstrates our member’s readiness to serve whether they are on and offduty,” said Polk County Fire Rescue Chief Hezedean A. Smith, D.M. “Bovill’s actions and the care he providedtothe child in need is something we are very proud of here at Polk County Fire Rescue.”
Flagler County Welcomes Field Training Officers
By Lacy Martin, Marketing Media Manager
Flagler County Fire Rescue has three new Field Training Officers. Lieutenant Ivan Grant
(A) is our new B-Shift Lead Training Officer. FF/PM Andy Thomas (B) and FF/PM James Melady (C) are our new Field Training Officers who are also on B-shift. The three are eager to work with our new hires and medics who are in the clearing process. Flagler County is proud to have such dedicated staff who are willing to mentor and lead our future paramedics.
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WMFR Annual Awards Presentation
On Tuesday, January 17, 2023, West Manatee Fire Rescue recognized district personnel for their 2022 contributions. Among those celebrated were retiring Lt. Darren Vollmer (C), who received a Career Service Award; Rookie of the Year, David Miller (D); Firefighter of the Year, Chris O’Kelly; Fire Officer of the Year, Lt. John Stump (B), and Soteria Award winner, Crystal Tucciarone (A). Soteria is given annually to a team member who best embodies the spirit of Soteria, the Greek goddess of safety, deliverance, and preservation from harm.
HCFR Classes it up at Career Fair
By Karen Clogston, Public Information Assistant
Highlands County Fire Rescue members focused on some community outreach at the Mason G. Smoak Foundation High School Career Day Januaary 12. Personnel had a great time speaking to local students about how the department operates and the many opportunities available to them in the future.
Members were able to show students various equipment used in the field, from bunker gear and life-saving tools to operating a hose and checking out the apparatus on site, including a rehab truck, engine and ambulance.
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Coral Springs-Parkland Firefighter/Paramedics Hit the Road
After an intense two-month in-service training program, 10 new firefighter/paramedics will hit the streets of Coral Springs and Parkland to begin the next phase of their careers. The Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Department (CSPFD) Training Division ran the new members through a rigorous training regimen to include all aspects of firefighting and emergency medical services. The new FF/PM’s have now had a great foundation to be able to move to the next phase of their training; the Field Training Officer (FTO) Program. This next phase will have them “shadowing” an experienced and seasoned FTO for their one-year probationary period. Once certain skills and a comfort level achieved, the member will be able to work on their own and be counted as an official member for the purposes of the minimum staffing.
Fire Chief Michael McNally said of the new members, “This is a great group of men and women, and I am excited to see them flourish in their new career We will provide them all of the tools and knowledge they need to become successful”.
Brevard County Fire Rescue New Burn Building
By Lisa Smith, Office of EMS
Brevard County Fire Rescue (BCFR) recently purchased a new burn building. The initial building from Draegar was over ten years old and served BCFR well. However, as we have grown, so has our need to expand resources to train our crews. Construction of the new burn building has been completed and class 23-01 are the first to conduct their training with staff in the new facility. The new building consists of a totalof 4,000 square feet (sq ft) which is divided in the following way:
1,600 sq ft first and second floors with 400 sq ft third and fourth floors. Additionally, there is a 400 sq ft rappel deck on the roof with two bomb proof anchors and a stand pipe from the first floor to the roof. This new prop will allow for us to dramatically expand our firefighting training including the ability to host multiple in-house specialty classes such as ropes operations and truck company operations. Thank you to our training staff who worked diligently to schedule classes for the upcoming year and in time for class 23-01 new hires to able to complete their training in the first quarter. This new building is truly a sign of where our department is going and proof of our progress.
South Walton Responds to Commercial Fire
By Mackenzie McClintock, Public Information Officer
South Walton firefighters responded to a commercial structure fire in the early hours of January 4 near the intersection of U.S. Highway 98 W. and Professional Place.
SWFD dispatchers first answered the call at 3:16 a.m. after a Walton County Sheriff’s Office deputy noticed the smell of smoke in the area while responding to a separate incident. The deputy investigated to find smoke showing from the Miramar Beach commercial establishment known as Coastal Cruisers, then the deputy relayed to dispatchers the signs of a working fire within the building.
SWFD firefighters were dispatched emergently and arrived at 3:25 a.m. to confirm the report of smoke showing.
Firefighters immediately pulled an attack line and forced entry into the building. Upon making entry, crews encountered heavy black smoke, low visibility, and high heat conditions.
Incoming crews then secured a water supply and initiated aerial apparatus operations as flames began showing through sections of the roof. Firefighters continued to work for several hours to extinguish and overhaul the fire before clearing the scene at 6:05 a.m.
Approximately 25 SWFD personnel in total responded to the call. No injuries were reported.
The SWFD Fire Marshal conducted an investigation and found the fire caused moderate damage after originating near an interior wall of the structure and spreading throughout the building. The investigation determined a malfunction in two electric scooters within the structure could not be ruled out as the most probable cause of the fire.
While speaking with Coastal Cruisers owners, SWFD received feedback on the tactics of the firefighters who responded. According to the owners, the crews were successful in mitigating the incident while limiting as much damage as possible to the merchandise and contents of the business. The owners remain hopeful that they will be able to resume normal operations before the busy season of Spring Break.
SWFD would like to thank WCSO and Florida Power & Light for their assistance during the call, as well as the mutual aid partners who provided coverage throughout SWFD’s jurisdiction while the incident was underway.
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Seminole County Annual Awards Ceremony
The Seminole County Fire Department (SCFD) recently held is annual awards Ceremony at the Sanford Civic Center, which was emceed by Orlando’s FOX 35’s Good Day Orlando’s Danielle Knox. More than a dozen awards were given out to those who had gone above and beyond for the department in the last year.
Longtime Geneva resident and Retired Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Ward was honored with the “Pioneer Award,” which is presented to a retired member of the department who has left a legacy on the organization. Ward served in the fire service for more than 30 years and was instrumental in helping develop SCFD’s Training Center and SCFD’s involvement with the Urban Search & Rescue Task Force 4.
“The majority of Chief Ward’s career was spent developing, supporting and mentoring many of the company officers and firefighters that gave SCFD the ability to be an All-Hazards Department,” said nominator Lieutenant Matt Jaynes. “Chief Ward helped us establish a premier Department, having the most highly trained personnel in all different aspects of Special Operations. It’s rare you can look back at one person’s entire career and see how every day, when they came to work, they worked to better the job, the people, and better the Department in order to best serve our citizens.”
In addition, Seminole County citizen Jonathan Cruz was honored with the Citizen Award for his bravery in helping save residents from an apartment fire last year in Casselberry.
Other awards included:Firefighter of the Year – Dan Felician, Paramedic of the Year –Matt Humphrey, Lieutenant of the Year –Theresa Krebs, Chief Officer of the Year –Jason Moore, Fire Department Employee of the Year – Robert Green, Rookie Firefighter of the Year – Jackson DeCuir, Fire Prevention Employee of the Year – Amanda Bannon, and Emergency Communications Employee of the Year – Marissa Mathews, Special Recognition Awards: Katrina Elliot Gentry, Michael Pattison, and Sean Thomason.
Community Service Award: Christopher Baker and Chris Torres.
Partnership/Special Thank You: First Responder Therapy Dog Winston & his mom Erin Bock, based in Chuluota.
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