GRASSY KEY, FL – Monroe County Fire Rescue welcomes its sixth “Hot Shots” class to Joe London Fire Academy on Grassy Key. Class 23-01 includes 29 qualified trainees starting the process to become a career or volunteer firefighter. Of the 29 students, 23 are residents of Monroe County. The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners continues to support the program that waives the tuition fee for qualified Monroe County residents in exchange for a commitment to volunteer or work as a career firefighter anywhere in the Florida Keys for three years.
“The ‘Hot Shots’ program provides those within our community looking for a career in fire rescue the ability to complete the program without any debt,” said Deputy Fire Chief RL Colina. “By bringing in homegrown candidates with local family and friend support, we hope to keep the talent we train at the academy serving our Florida Keys’ communities for years to come.”
Students who complete the 17 performance objectives of the firefighter program are prepared to take the State of Florida Firefighter II examination.
The program finishes on Dec. 15. Classes are held usually once a year. There are no new classes scheduled at this time. More information about the program can be found at www.monroecounty-fl.gov/hotshots or by emailing Johnson-Cara@monroecounty-fl.gov.
MONROE COUNTY, FL – On Sept. 2, Monroe County Fire Rescue Deputy Chief R.L. Colina accepted a $39,295 grant for a set of extrication tools, including a Hurst Cutter, Spreader, and Ram by Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation Manager of Development and Outreach Nancy Palmer. The award was presented during the Heroes Salute Celebration at the Hawks Cay Resort following the Heroes Salute 5K Run/Walk. Several Monroe County firefighters participated in the run.
“When minutes count, having the right tools in the right hands makes all the difference, and we are thankful to the Foundation and our nearest Firehouse Subs in Kendall for the donation,” said Colina. “This critical equipment will allow our County’s first responders to be better prepared in emergencies and protect the citizens and visitors of the Florida Keys to the best of our abilities.”
The equipment obtained through this grant will reduce extrication time during motor vehicle accidents. Accessing vehicle occupants quickly to provide needed medical care and transport to critical care increases the victim’s survivability.
The Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation has donated to Monroe County Fire Rescue several times when the County needs critical equipment. To learn more about Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, visit FirehouseSubsFoundation.org.
MONROE COUNTY, FL – Monroe County Fire Rescue established a Peer Support and Critical Incident Stress Management Program for all local fire departments throughout the Florida Keys, the dispatch center, and during an EOC activation.
Peer support can help firefighters reduce stress and anxiety and mitigate post-traumatic stress and suicidal thoughts that first responders can sometimes experience after responding to traumatic calls or other incidents.
The program can help local first responders take better care of themselves and resume their mission to serve others after a traumatic experience.
"We are proud to work with industry leaders in strengthening our firefighters' wellness, safety, and health," said Deputy Fire Chief R.L. Colina. "Our team has worked incredibly hard to ensure we are prepared and trained to meet the needs of our first responders in the Florida Keys."
This MCFR team consists of:
MONROE COUNTY, FL – The Monroe County Fire Marshal’s Office wants everyone to have a fun and, most importantly, a safe 4th of July week. Please leave fireworks displays to the professionals.
“Discharge of fireworks can lead to loss of life and property,” said Monroe County Deputy Fire Chief RL Colina. “Fireworks can burn as hot as 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, including sparklers, which can cause real damage when not handled properly.”
All professional fireworks in unincorporated Monroe County must be permitted through the Monroe County Fire Marshal’s Office. The Fire Marshal’s Office approved the following fireworks displays in unincorporated Monroe County (all times are approximate):
There are additional displays in some municipalities.
**If you live near fireworks shows, you may want to soothe your pets and keep them indoors.
Here are a few ideas provided by the National Fire Prevention Association to get into the patriotic spirit without fireworks:
1. Glow sticks: A safe alternative to a sparkler.
2. Noisemakers: Make your own if you can’t find any.
3. Outdoor movie night: Set up a screen and projector.
4. Make a patriotic craft with the family.
5. Throw a birthday party for the USA, and don’t forget the cake.
For more information on fireworks permitting, please visit www.monroecounty-fl.gov/fireworks. Monroe County also lists other permitted fireworks displays on this page for reference, including for special events like weddings.
As a reminder, Monroe County government offices will be closed on Tuesday, July 4, and will reopen for regular business on Wednesday morning.
MONROE COUNTY, FL – Monroe County Fire Rescue (MCFR) Deputy Chief RL Colina attended the Executive Fire Officer program at the National Fire Academy (NFA) in Emmitsburg, MD, in April. While attending the program, he was honored to be selected to deliver the flags of fallen firefighters who lost their lives last year to the National Fire Academy Chapel in preparation for the official National Fallen Firefighters Memorial ceremony that took place May 6-7.
“It was an extremely humbling moment in my 26 years as a firefighter," said Colina. "As a member of Monroe County Fire Rescue, it was an honor to be selected for such an important ceremonial process for our fallen Brothers and Sisters. We shall never forget!"
MCFR Captain Cassy Cane was also in attendance at the ceremony. She was at the National Fire Academy as a SAFER grant review board panelist.
MONROE COUNTY, FL – The Board of Monroe County Commissioners declared May 21-27 as Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week at today’s regularly scheduled meeting. EMS is a vital public service, and Monroe County Fire Rescue and Trauma Star are always ready to provide lifesaving care to those in need 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The County celebrates its first responders, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, emergency medical dispatchers, firefighters, police officers, educators, administrators, pre-hospital nurses, emergency nurses, emergency physicians, trained members of the public, and other out-of-hospital medical care providers. In addition, Monroe County Fire Rescue EMS engage in thousands of hours of specialized training and continuing education to enhance their lifesaving skills.
“Emergency medical services and Trauma Star provide crucial pre-hospital care that can dramatically improve the survival and recovery rate of patients,” said Monroe County Fire Rescue acting Battalion Chief of Trauma Star and EMS Andrea Thompson. “These services play a critical role in protecting our community members and visitors in our unique area.”
Monroe County welcomes James “Jim” Callahan as Monroe County Fire Chief. He will lead the organization and help recruit for the fire chief position. Chief Steve Hudson retired in December 2022.
“We are grateful for Chief Hudson’s hard work and dedication over the last 10 years in Monroe County and 39 years in career fire service,” said Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi.
Callahan retired from Monroe County Fire Rescue in May 2021 after 15 years with Monroe County and 51 years in career fire service. While at the County, he made significant contributions to the Florida Keys community, including adding adequate fire hydrants and other water resources, increasing career service firefighters, advancing emergency communications, and upgrading equipment and fire apparatus.
He coordinated with the County’s project management team to rebuild the fire stations in Conch Key, Stock Island, Big Pine Key, and Cudjoe Key and renovated Tavernier, Layton, and Sugarloaf. He created the “Hot Shots Program” and advocated for building the fire training facility on Grassy Key. His changes allowed the fire department to receive an improved ISO rating of 3/3X from a 5/9 rating, which helped to lower property insurance rates countywide. Callahan also consolidated airport fire services, giving airport firefighters access to state-mandated training, and he established a Fire Prevention Division to handle building plan reviews, construction inspections, commercial fire inspections, and public education.
“Chief Callahan’s knowledge and experience in fire department administration and operations have advanced Monroe County Fire Rescue from a small combination department into the professional fire service organization it is today,” said Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi. “We welcome his institutional knowledge and leadership again as we prepare for the organization’s future.”
Monroe County Fire Rescue graduated its fifth “Hot Shots” class on Friday, Dec. 16, 2022. Class 22-01 includes 27 qualified men and women on their way to become career or volunteer firefighters. The graduates successfully completed 456 hours of intensive classroom and rigorous practical training over the past 3.5 months.
Twenty-two of the students are residents of Monroe County. The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners continues to support the program that waives the $2,200 tuition fee for qualified Monroe County residents in exchange for a commitment to volunteer or work as a career firefighter anywhere in the Florida Keys for three years.
“We are excited to see these students graduate from our Monroe County Fire Academy Hot Shots Program and look forward to them serving in the Florida Keys community in the future,” said Interim Fire Chief RL Colina.
The graduates completed the 17 performance objectives of the firefighter program and are prepared to take the State of Florida Firefighter II examination. To be hired at Monroe County Fire Rescue, a candidate must also complete EMT training.
Graduates include Samantha Blyer, Jamie Boan, Adrian Castro, Roberto Costa, Jordan Duran, Alberto Figueroa, Ariel Gonzalez, David Gonzalez, Samuel Gonzalez (Class Leader), Victor Hernandez, Stephen Jones, David Linville, Alejandro Lopez, Amanda Marcotte, Cole McDaniel, Aaron Moore, Logan Pellicier, Melissa Ramirez, Kaitlyn Ritter, Leylah Rodriguez, Harold Roman, Christian Ruiz, Justin Stankiewicz, Sierra Temple, Mason Thompson, Steven Torna, and Camren Watson.
There are no new classes scheduled at this time at the training academy. More information about the “Hot Shots” program can be found at www.monroecounty-fl.gov/hotshots or email Johnson-Cara@monroecounty-fl.gov.
All Monroe County Fire Rescue stations are designated Toys for Tots drop-off locations for new, unwrapped gifts for local children. Drop donated toys at any fire station until Dec. 16.
MCFR stations are located at:
• Station 8 - Stock Island, 5655 MacDonald Avenue, MM 5
• Station 9 - Big Coppitt, 28 Emerald Drive, MM 10
• Station 10 – Sugarloaf, 17175 Overseas Highway, MM 17
• Station 11 – Cudjoe, 22352 Overseas Highway, MM 20
• Station 13 - Big Pine Key, 390 Key Deer Boulevard, MM 30.5
• Station 17 - Conch Key, 10 S Conch Avenue, MM 63
• Station 18 – Layton, 68260 Overseas Highway, MM 68.5
• Station 22 – Tavernier, 151 Marine Avenue, MM 92
Monroe County Fire Rescue and Local 3909 are participating in the Movember movement, also known as No Shave November, raising money for men’s health issues. The word Movember is a combination of the words for mustache, “mo” and “November.” Movember is an annual event involving the growing of mustaches during the month to raise awareness and spark conversation about men’s health issues, like prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and suicide. Many local firefighters compete for the best-grown mustache during the month. The Movember organization’s goal is to change the face of men’s health by bringing awareness and funding for prostate and testicular cancer research, trials, and treatment. November is also Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.
To learn more about Movember, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, or to contribute to Monroe County Fire Rescue’s fundraising efforts, visit https://movember.com/t/local-3909?mc=1. As of Nov. 21, the local team has raised more than $2,000.
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