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.
Monroe County Fire Rescue Firefighter Jake Werner will honor Monroe County Fire Rescue’s fallen brother Herve Thomas in the 2022 Brotherhood Ride on Jan. 21, 2023 (the event was rescheduled due to Hurricane Ian). The Brotherhood Ride consists of firefighters, police officers, and EMS personnel who ride bicycles to honor emergency first responders who have died in the line of duty. Thomas passed away while on duty in May 2021. The mission of the organization is to provide emotional and financial support to the families of fallen heroes. The 2022 ride is dedicated to Florida’s 85 fallen heroes who died in the line of duty in 2021. Werner and others on the team will pedal for eight days from Fort Myers to Jacksonville, covering 550 miles averaging 70-100 miles daily.
“We are proud of Firefighter Werner’s efforts to honor our fallen brother Herve Thomas,” said Monroe County Fire Chief Steve Hudson. “We wish him a safe and successful ride.”
Werner, of Key Largo, knew Thomas and worked with him for more than 10 years and wanted to do this to honor his memory. He has been riding his bike daily, averaging 20-25 miles per day to prep for January.
To learn more about the Brotherhood Ride, a nonprofit organization, or to contribute to Werner’s fundraising efforts, visit www.brotherhoodride.com.
Monroe County Fire Rescue and the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners welcomed five new firefighters at a badge pinning and oath presentation at the October meeting. The newest members of Monroe County Fire Rescue are firefighter/EMT Brandon Colina, firefighter/EMT Luis Guardado, firefighter/Paramedic Cesar Lopez, firefighter/Paramedic Kyle Ondarza, and firefighter/EMT Aaron Nieves.
Monroe County Fire Rescue took delivery of a Mobile Fire Pump Testing and Training unit called a Draft Commander 3000. This mobile pump testing unit is one of a kind and will help Monroe County comply with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards. The unit is stationed at the training facility on Grassy Key to provide hose testing and fire apparatus pump testing and training. The unit uses clean recycled fresh water during pump testing instead of salt water from an open water source that would corrode apparatus pumps.
“Having a unit like this on hand will allow us to save time, money, and resources,” said Chief Steven Hudson. “This multipurpose unit will greatly assist all fire rescue departments in Monroe County during pump testing and training.”
Monroe County Fire Rescue welcomes its fifth “Hot Shots” class to Joe London Fire Academy on Grassy Key. Class 22-01 includes 29 qualified men and women starting the process of becoming a career or volunteer firefighter. Twenty-three of the students 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.
“This program provides the opportunity to cultivate and develop the committed men and women that reside in Monroe County and introduce them to a prestigious lifelong career in the fire service,” said Fire Chief Steven Hudson. “This educational opportunity is a win-win to reduce turnover and retain these graduates in our community.”
Students who complete the 17 performance objectives of the firefighter program 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.
The program finishes on Dec. 16. There are no new classes scheduled at this time. More information about the program can be found at www.monroecounty-fl.gov/hotshots or email Johnson-Cara@monroecounty-fl.gov.
Monroe County Fire Rescue Chief Steven Hudson completed the professional designation of “Chief Fire Officer” (CFO) through the Commission on Professional Credentialing. As a result, Hudson becomes one of only 1,755 CFOs worldwide.
“This has been a long process,” said Hudson. “Achieving this designation signifies my career commitment to fire and emergency services and Monroe County.”
The peer-reviewed program is voluntary and designed to recognize individuals who demonstrate excellence in seven areas: experience, education, professional development, professional contributions, association membership, community involvement, and technical competence. In addition, applicants identify a future professional development plan.
The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners welcomed three new Firefighter/EMTs to Monroe County Fire Rescue at today’s regularly scheduled meeting. Family and friends joined the commissioners and fire rescue staff at a badge pinning and oath presentation.
“The hard work they put in makes my job easier,” said Monroe County Training Battalion Chief Charlie Mather. He said to the new hires, “The challenges placed before you to get into fire service were small; never lose sight of the passion you had to get here nor let go of the compassion and empathy you need for the lives you will impact.”
The three new hires include:
Preparation is everything, and this week a team of emergency responders conducted a drill to ensure the best response if a hurricane threatens. Key West Fire and Rescue, Monroe County Fire and Rescue, the Lower Keys Medical Center, and the U.S. Air Force Air National Guard all participated.
If Monroe County calls for a mandatory evacuation, hospital patients must be flown out to other hospitals. During the drill, volunteers posing at patients were transported from the hospital to the tarmac at the Naval Air Station Key West where they were boarded on a transport plane.
“Teamwork and practice mean that we’re ready should a storm come our way,” said Key West Emergency Manager Capt. Gregory Barroso. “We need to be sure we coordinate ambulance and air service to keep the patients safe under a threat of a hurricane.”
The last mandatory evacuation order in the Keys was in 2017 for Hurricane Irma. But there are no guarantees, said Capt. Barroso. In 2004 there were four calls for a mandatory evacuation, and three the following year.
While emergency managers are practicing, the community is reminded to do the same. Be sure your hurricane plan is in place in case we have more than a drill this hurricane season.
Submit Your Stories
Chamber members send us your press releases on your organizations accomplishments, staff awards and/or major happenings. We will post them for free.