Why does a fire truck show up when I call for an ambulance?
A fire truck is dispatched to all reports of potential life threatening calls. For example, shortness of breath, cardiac symptoms etc. In these cases, the Fire Department provides extra help to the ambulance crew should the need arise. Also, in some cases, a fire crew can be at a call before an ambulance arrives especially if the local ambulance is on another call.
Why do I see a fire truck or trucks with lights and sirens on suddenly turn them off but keep going to a call?
A call may come in requiring an emergency response, such as a reported fire in a structure, life threatening call, etc. After being dispatched, additional information may come in for that particular call which no longer requires us to use our lights and sirens, but still requires a presence on scene. In the interest of safety (driving an emergency vehicle to a call is inherently dangerous) we slow down and turn our lights off to help reduce the danger.
What does it take to be a firefighter?
The State of Florida set minimum standards regarding firefighters. If you are interested in becoming a firefighter you will need to attend a State approved school such as Ridge Career Center's Fire Academy, Central Florida Fire Academy or Lake Technical Institute. Each of these schools offer a firefighter curriculum which entails approximately 500 hours of training. Upon graduation, if you have not already obtained your EMT certification this should be your next step as most fire departments look first at hiring certified firefighter's with EMT certification. The education does not end there, there are literally hundreds if not thousands of hours of education available.
What is involved in the average firefighter's day?
Each individual fire department is different. The City of Winter Haven schedule is 24 hours on shift with 48 hours off. At 8 am all firefighters on shift meet for a morning briefing. This meeting usually consists of information that is pertinent to the day such as station tours, training, special events and what equipment is due for service. After the meeting has adjourned truck checks are next on the schedule. Each piece of equipment at each station (Winter Haven has three stations) are checked for working status and cleaned if necessary. Any piece of equipment that is not in working order is repaired or replaced. This normally takes about 1-2 hours. After that, station duties begin with each person in the station assigned to a specific task such as vacuuming, sweeping, etc. In the afternoon, we work on pre-fire plans, education, etc. There is a vast amount of knowledge available to every firefighter from how to drive and operate the truck to how to determine a fire cause. All of our activities on shift including eating and sleeping are worked around emergency calls. After 1700 hours we are able to exercise, workout or participate in a sports- related activity.
How do I get a copy of a fire report?
If the incident occurred inside the city limits of Winter Haven or if the Winter Haven Fire Department responded you will need to call, the main station, located at 301 Avenue G SW, (863) 201-5677, and request an incident report. The report can be e-mailed, picked up in person, or faxed to you at no charge.