Florida Fire Marshals and Inspectors Association
Safety Matters
  March 2016
The opinions expressed in this newsletter are those of the author. They do not reflect in any way those of the Florida Fire Marshals and Inspectors Association unless specifically stated.
In This Issue
Corporate Partners
Champion Partners
Star & Shield Insurance Exchange
Pearl Partners



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Wayne Automatic Fire Sprinklers

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Emerald Partners

Florida Fire Protection Associates


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From the Editor's Desk

The newsletter is published quarterly.

The deadline for article submissions is the 15th day of the month prior to publication.


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President's Update
FFMIA logo

Of the year awards  
FFMIA award recipients were honored by the Governor and Cabinet on March 1 & 2 in Tallahassee.  Fire Marshal of the Year: Ray Perez, Fire Investigator of the Year:  Jeff Brown; Public Educator of the Year: Robert Bertone and Fire Inspector of the Year: Katherine Szostak were recognized for outstanding work in their communities and for the citizens of Florida.  The group received recognition from CFO/Fire Marshal Jeff Atwater,  Agriculture Commissioner Putnam along with members of the House and Senate on the twenty second floor of the Capitol building on March 1st.  The group was also recognized by the entire cabinet during the cabinet meeting on March 2nd.  Pictured below is the group at the FF memorial.  Missing from the photo is Robert Bertone. 

2016 Of The Year Recognition
From left to right: Ray Perez, Katherine Szostak,and Jeff Brown. Missing is Robert Bertone

We have many outstanding members working towards Life Safety  but only a few can be recognized in this way annually.  Please provide nominations when requested and continue to encourage each other in striving for excellence in knowledge, customer service, and life safety delivery.  

During the morning of March 2nd at the fire services memorial at the Capitol, the Professional Firefighters of Florida stepped up to the plate and provided a $150K donation to the memorial construction.

FFMIA Immediate Past President Butcher in his additional role as Chairman of the Joint Council accepts the 150K check from the FPF for the FF Memorial at the Capitol

The donation by the FPF will help speed up the completion of the project but also places the remainder of the funds necessary at an achievable level.  The entire event was a positive experience shared by all that were in attendance. 

Legislative Update
The legislative session is almost over and FFMIA has been active in Tallahassee again this year.  There were a number of bills that were followed and the association was active in shaping that language.  There is rarely a total win but there was some positive progress in terms of prevention and occupant firefighter safety.

The ALF bill is set to go before the Governor.  The highlight is that newly constructed ALF's  will now be constructed to the current edition of the Florida Fire Prevention Code rather than 1994 Edition of the Florida Fire Prevention Code.  The bill even though it was not everything that was desired, shows significant progress and was supported with the thought that the glass is half full.  Thanks to Buddy Dewar that has been working on this issue for many years.  Additional thanks to Anthony Alfelbeck and the SFMO for their active participation in working with the ALF community to get this legislation through the process.  The legislative process will be continuing for the next two weeks.  Below is a list of bills that FFMIA specifically followed and the organization's position on each: 
  • SB 0908/HB 0879  -  Organization of Department of Financial Services - Position: Neutral
  • SB 0822/HB 0431  -  Firesafety - Position:  Support
  • SB 1164/HB 0965  -  Firesafety- Position: Support
  • SB 0304/HB 0059  - Agritourism - Position:  Support
  • SB 0704/HB 0535  - Building Codes - Position:  Oppose
Understanding the session is not complete as of yet, FFMIA's leadership is already in discussion with the SFMO about educating our members.  I would encourage each of you to go positively "MAD" every day.  Go "Make A Difference". Thank you for your service.

David Woodside
From the Executive Director's Desk
FFMIA logo
2016 is taking on some great new opportunities for FFMIA. We are working with Philip Oakes from Narva and Associates and have been coordinating very closely with the Boards and planning committees from both of our sections (FAFLSE and FFEIA) to bring you a combined conference June 21-24, 2016 at the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista that is sure to meet all of your training needs. Mark your calendars and keep an eye on our seminars and events page on our web site at www.ffmia.org. Registration is open and we will update information as it becomes available.

We are also working very closely with our friends at the American Fire Sprinkler Association, Florida Chapter to bring a new look to the Miami Annual Training Symposium April 26-28, 2016 at the Cinebistro at the Dolphin Mall. Look for classes that will offer interactive sessions with contractors and ahj's so we can continue to grow these relationships and dialogues. Registration is also open for this event which has been paired down from five to three days.

We have logged our first on-site planning meeting for our FFMIA Annual Fire Prevention Conference November 7-10, 2016 at the Daytona Beach Hilton, much more to come on that, but surely one you will not want to miss. Make plans now to join us.

Membership in FFMIA has many benefits, but you must be a current member to enjoy things such as free training. I have received numerous telephone calls asking about Wild Apricot. The most common is "Is this legitimate? I thought it was spam." Wild Apricot is our membership data base and is very much dependent on your assurance that all of your contact information is up to date. Without a valid e-mail address you are missing out on important A-List postings and e-mails related to your membership experience. Please take a moment to access your profile in Wild Apricot. Click on the red "Update your Profile" button at the top of the main landing page. If you have changed jobs or e-mail you will need to contact the FFMIA office for assistance at 772-349-1507.

Finally please help us welcome Northwest Regional Director Joe Early and Southwest Regional Director James Tanner. The appointment of these two gentlemen rounds out the vacancies created by the resignations of 1st Vice President Lt. Colonel Mark Sauls and NW Regional Director Tambre Lee. We thank both of you for your years of service on the Board of Directors for FFMIA and look forward to working with our new board members.

  • Send requests for employment notices to jobpostings@ffmia.org
  • Watch for training opportunities throughout the year
  • Sign up for classes and training events through the seminars link of the FFMIA web site
  • Check your membership profile to assure all contact information is accurate
  • Reach out to your regional directors and be involved with your association
Please reach out to me with any questions or concerns you may have.

Sincerely yours in a fire safe State of Florida
Jon W. Pasqualone, Executive Director

Florida Association of Fire and Life Safety Educators - Call to Get Educated!!!

Educators come out June 21st through the 24th! Our conference this year will be in Orlando and we will have a Star Wars theme throughout. There will also be an Inspector's and Investigators track so you will be able to take advantage of a variety of classes. All forms including the Scholarship, Registration, and Public Educator of the Year nomination forms are on our website at faflse.org.
The elections for the FAFLSE Board will also be held this year at the annual board meeting with installation at our awards banquet. If you would like to be considered for the Board; make sure you get your letter of intent to run in to Liz Monforti at emonforti@palmharborfd.com no later than May 1st.
If you know an exceptional Educator that deserves an award please fill out the nomination form and email it to me at susanhastings@ffmia.org by May 15th for consideration. We also have a scholarship available for first time attendees; if you would like to be considered please fill out the form and send it with all other documentation needed to me at susanhastings@ffmia.org by May 15th.  
Looking forward to seeing everyone at the conference!!!!
Article submitted by:  
Susan Hastings 

Award of Excellence


Jeremy Deins
Congratulations to Firefighter Jeremy Deins, for receiving the Award of Excellence in EMS/Rescue from the Florida Fire Chiefs Association. He received this award at the opening ceremony at Fire-Rescue EAST in Daytona Beach on January 21st, 2016. Firefighter Deins received this award for his work and heroic action in rescuing a victim after her vehicle was submerged in water on October 28th, 2015.
On October 28, 2015 around 7:30 AM St. Petersburg Fire & Rescue responded to the 600 block of Rosa Park for a vehicle in the water. Earlier that morning a severe weather system had come through the downtown area of St. Petersburg, which started around 7 a.m., this weather system dumped several inches of rain within minutes. When Fire & Rescue crews arrived on scene they  found an occupant trapped inside her SUV which landed in a flooded canal; with water still rising in the canal fire crews had to act fast.  This high water was caused by a flash flood in the area, the water rose to approximately 4 to 5 feet above the canal.  The rising water caused the roadway that ran parallel to the canal to be completely covered. The driver of the vehicle was unfamiliar with the area and she didn't realize the inherent dangers of the canal. Due to the swift moving rapids that had developed in the area, her vehicle got caught in the swift water and began to sink.  The vehicle's engine compartment quickly pulled the front of the vehicle downward, causing the SUV to invert in the canal. Fire crews on scene had to tie off with ropes in order to safely enter the fast moving current and entered the water upstream, floating down to the vehicle.  The driver who was still trapped inside, climbed to the back of the vehicle where she saw Firefighter Jeremy Deins. Firefighter Deins had climbed on top of  the vehicle and used a haligan bar that he carried with him to break the rear window in the SUV.  After breaking the glass to reach the driver, Firefighter Deins and driver of the SUV reentered the water together, allowing crew members on land to pull them to safety. The female occupant that was inside the vehicle was taken to Bayfront Health Center where she was treated for minor cuts and abrasions.
Lt. Steven Lawrence, CFEI, IAAI-FIT
Deputy Fire Marshal/PIO
400 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. S.
St. Petersburg, FL. 33701-4472
T:727-893-7709/C: 727-831-1370

Youth Firesetting Prevention and Intervention presented


The Estero Fire Rescue Department hosted the new NFA Juvenile Firesetters program which was sponsored by the Florida Association of Fire and Life Safety Educators. Chuck Akers from Event Managers help to facilitate the course with Instructors Puddin Race who is retired from St. Lucie County Fire District and Dale Reisen from the Lee County Fire and Arson Task Force. We had representatives from all over Lee County who attended this four-day course, some of whom were establishing their program for the first time.
Article Submitted By:
Chuck Akers
Event Mangers, LLC
Complaint Department?
So you're a new inspector and it is your second week at your new fire inspector position. Your mentor is excited about giving you the complaints that the department receives. Your mentor says to you "Guess what? Complaints are coming to you from now on"!
You are thinking to yourself, "Okay I'm completely freaked out. How am I supposed to handle this new 'hat' that I'm wearing"?
This happened to me. I took on this new adventure and at first I felt like there was a responsibility that was dumped on me because nobody wanted to do it. I was wrong.
The complaints start rolling in........
Little did I know, this was an amazing opportunity for me. I would call each person and find out what the situation was. I call these people "whistle blowers". I call them by that term because they are my eyes on my community I serve. They see what I can't always see, and when they see something they don't like, they blow the whistle on it and call me. I can't be everywhere, but they are, and they let me know what the problems are in my community.
These calls and emails got me into my code book. As a very green inspector, I learned how to navigate my code book faster and more efficiently. It's an imperative skill as a fire inspector. That book governs every decision we make, and we should know how to use it.
When I have inspections, or when I am dealing with a complaint, I always ask myself "is this going to cause an issue for the emergency crews"? Many calls I receive are not only a danger to the citizens, but they are a threat to the life and/or health of our firefighters on the line. If I do not handle these issues, what will happen to our first responders? Not many people say that they get to protect first responders, I do, and I take it very seriously. As a certified firefighter/paramedic, I see how the issues can affect the safety of the crews and I want the safest environment for them that I can provide.
I am able to be a face for my department. Many of these people don't deal with the fire department unless there is an emergency. I have an opportunity to create positive experiences with the community through education on codes and why those codes help them and our first responders. The more I show them that my door is always open, the more I will hear about and the more help I can be to all aspects of my community.
I take the health and life safety of my department extremely seriously. I do not see complaints as a burden. I see them as an opportunity, an opportunity to correct many hazards that are created by situations and/or people that simply need to be educated on the safety of what they are trying to accomplish. Don't ever see a complaint as a thorn in your side. Approach them like an emergency call; always be ready to make an unsafe situation safe through education and prevention.
Know your target audience. Who are your most important customers, clients or prospects, and why? Know what is important to them and address their needs in your newsletter each month. Include a photo to make your newsletter even more appealing. Inserting a link in your article lets you track which topics attract the most interest.

Article submitted by:
Kristen King FF/PMD/INSP



Are you struggling to meet the experience documentation required for Florida Department of Emergency Managements All Hazards Type Three Incident Management Teams? Does your jurisdiction cover special events? If so you may have an avenue to do both. With the ever changing threats in our society, the need to protect events and gatherings is more important now than it ever has been before, coupled with the fact that a lot of experience in the State has moved on and we do not have a lot of hurricanes and Tornadoes rolling through (although the recent severe weather in the state has been interesting). The result is we have people with education and training but no practical experience.
The opportunity is to utilize large special events (concerts, festivals, Spring Training, marathons, etc.) to gain that needed experience in several ways. 1. If you engage all stakeholders early on in the process, take the opportunity to involve your local Emergency Management as facilitators and utilize the planning process fully, you will develop a comprehensive IAP along with contingencies, that can be provided to FDEM for documentation and lay the framework to cover the risk associated with your event. 2nd Since most large events involve multiple agencies, the opportunity is available to establish a unified command including all parties involved (especially the promoter and any private security handling the event). It is important that everyone be represented at the command post either through a person or through some form of immediate communications. Run the event as if it were an incident and utilize the command structure. (this may take some educating for the promoter and private security).
If you follow these steps you may be able to provide additional value to more resources and gain more willingness to participate, providing a safer event for the public and needed experience for the responders, that will make the unexpected events that come up less chaotic.

Submitted and Authored by:
James Tanner Division Chief/ Fire Marshal

Dr. Gerri Penney Retires after 29 Years of Service


Gerri's motto was that if we responded to it we should address it, so she was very instrumental in creating and educating not only citizens of Palm Beach County but also the State of Florida and the Nation. 
Gerri was an instructor at the National Fire Academy and State Fire College and was involved in the creation of and instruction in the Fire and Life Safety Educator curriculum and certification as well as the Juvenile Firesetter Intervention Program on the State and National level particularly through her work as a member of the NFPA 1035 committee.
Through Gerri's work with the NFPA she was a "Champion" in the Learn Not To Burn curriculum to make Palm Beach County a safer place to live in relation to fire, but then years later became a "Champion" of Risk Watch.  Risk Watch was designed by NFPA and a host of other agencies to address the 8 major causes of unintentional injury and death of children through eighth grade. Gerri's passion for prevention was paramount in Palm Beach County being one of the test sites for the Risk Watch Curriculum.
In 2000 Gerri was selected at the State of Florida's Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year.
Gerri completed her doctoral program from Florida Atlantic University in 2010. Due to her commitment to education and passion for prevention Gerri was part of numerous committees and organizations to further Safety and Injury Prevention initiatives nationwide. One initiative that Gerri was particularly proud of was her work on fire notification devices for the deaf and hard of hearing through a grant from Vision 20/20.
Gerri also was a proud member of PARADE (Prevention Advocacy Resource and Data Exchange) under the United States Fire Administration as well as FESHE (Fire and Emergency Service Higher Education). 
Gerri also was a contributing writer for IFSTA's Fire and Life Safety Educator third edition copyright 2011.
It has been a full and challenging career as Gerri championed the cause of Fire and Life Safety and partnered with others to make Palm Beach County a safer place to live and in doing so touched many lives which will be forever changed. 
Gerri joined the elite of the Florida Fire Marshals and Inspectors Association as she was inducted as a "Fellow" into the organization for her years of dedicated service.
Article Submitted By,
Chuck Akers
Dear Friend and Colleague
FFMIA Honorary Member
Smoke Alarms: Is Everyone Hearing Them?

As I started my new chapter in the fire service as a Fire Marshal, I found myself challenged with, what I could do to make a difference. I had many classes over the years getting me ready for this promotion, but what could I do to help our citizens? The answer came to me at an unexpected time, during a risk analysis class. While doing research for the class I found some numbers that were staggering, and it had me thinking right away. I found that our city has over 5000 hearing impaired citizens, and when I looked closer, what if most did not have the correct alarms in their home (U.S. Census Bureau, 2016). What happens to our hearing impaired citizens when the smoke alarm goes off; will they hear it and have time to escape? Upon my return I did some more research and decided to find out who my stakeholders were, and then see if there was interest in this project.
I wanted to do home safety inspections along with smoke detector checks, and do the installations where needed. I thought this would be a great time to start my hearing impaired project in conjunction with home safety inspections. We are getting in homes and if they are in need, then no better time to help someone that needs that special tool to save lives. I started my research on hearing impaired smoke alarm devices, and found that they work with standard smoke alarms and thought this will be great, we can incorporate everything together. Now where's the money coming from? I found some grants and we will be applying for as many as we can get since the product I found will cost over $300 a unit, plus any smoke alarms that may be needed (Grainger, 2016). I will also need to receive smoke alarms for those homes that may need them too. I implemented a program that every engine or rescue that goes to a home for a fire or EMS call, that after the patient is transported and before they leave, that the smoke alarms are checked and answer 5 questions, are they working, if not do you alert someone, and if they are hearing impaired are the correct alarms in place. We should not be leaving any residence without a working smoke alarm.
How do I reach everyone to get the research I need for my grants? How do I show a need? I decided to start with the local school district, and what I found was that this was a welcomed project. Within a day I was inundated with emails and interest. It appears I hit the bullseye and found a true need in prevention. We as a group will make this happen and now I have contacted a hearing center who will also help get the information we need to help all ages.
One thing that has come up is that I can only do this for our city as the grant is for our citizens. What about the others, what about the other children and seniors in the county? What about the others in the state? Did I actually think of something that needs attention, or are others out there doing something about it and not letting everyone know? If others are doing this around the state, great! if not, why not? Everyone deserves to hear the smoke alarm.

Posted by:
Dave Raborn - Fire Marshal
Cape Coral Fire Department


Grainger. (2016). safe awake. Retrieved from Grainger: https://www.grainger.com/search?nls=3&ssf=3&searchQuery=safe+awake
U.S. Census Bureau. (2016). American Community Survey . Retrieved from U.S. Census Bureau: http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_14_1YR_S1810&prodType=table
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