Fire Department’s New Rescue Task Force Gets Gear Donation

The Lakeland Fire Department’s new rescue task force is getting boosted by a donation of protective gear for firefighters to wear when they are called to assist with dangerous situations, including active shooters.

Sixteen helmet and vests sets valued at $15,373 were acquired through a grant from the Firehouse Public Safety Foundation.

They will be worn by firefighter/medics during initial emergency medical response as well as in heightened dangerous situations such as an active shooting.

Capt. Matt Brown, a paramedic and training official, says those in the task force will receive specific training on how to treat shooting victims or victims while they are in a high-stressed environment. They’ll learn how to triage patients while still in a dangerous or what the department calls a ‘warm zone’ prior to moving them to a safer area.

‘The Lakeland Fire Department prides itself on being prepared to provide exceptional emergency response services in a variety of circumstances,” spokesperson Janel Vasallo said. The initiative was the department’s response to a national trend in violent active shooter and hostile environment situations, she said.

Firefighters in this specialized task force are currently being trained to use the gear. It is anticipated the training will wrap up and the task force ready to deploy by late October.

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