March - April - The City of Boca Raton

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March - April - The City of Boca Raton
A publication by the staff of the City of Boca Raton Fire-Rescue Services Department
Mar-April 2016
BOCA FIRE RESCUE NET
http://www.ci.boca-raton.fl.us/fire/newsletters.shtm
shore, the car fully submerged.
Fire Chief Report
By:
Thomas R. Wood
CFO, MIFireE
2015 Firefighter of the Year
Firefighter Paula Ursini
I received four nominations this year
for “Firefighter of Year” from: Captain Jeff Ross, Lieutenant Kim
Puchalski, Fire Inspector Irena
Elmstrom, and Firefighter Jesse
Duffy. My decision was easy because all four were for Firefighter
Paula Ursini.
The following describes why she was chosen:
Firefighter Paula Ursini was on her
way to work on December 1, 2015,
when she witnessed a car veer off
the Turnpike and go into a canal. Paula immediately stopped her
car, jumped into the canal and swam
out to the car, which was sinking,
and found a female victim trapped
with her leg caught under the seat.
The canal was deep and Paula was
unable to stand. Paula helped the
victim get her foot loose from the
area of entrapment and assisted her
out of the sinking car. The victim
was unable to swim and frantic. Paula was able to calm her
down and swim her back to
shore. As they made it back to
These are the facts as they were
related to me in the nominations I
received. But what was also made
clear to me was her sense of empathy, courage, professionalism, and
quick thinking. In these situations,
the usual protocol is to wait for
backup. Paula’s assessment of the
situation told her there was no time
to waste - to wait meant that this
person would probably die. In that
moment, all of her experience, training, and instincts came to her aid
and she made a decision. Paula
acted quickly and with compassion
and, in a selfless act of courage, she
saved a life. There can be no
greater gift than the willingness to
make what could be the ultimate
sacrifice to save another.
February 17, 2016. Mr. Tom Weber, ISO National Director - ISO
Community Hazard Mitigation, made
the presentation. It will go into effect
on June 1, 2016, and it could mean
about a 2% savings on most fire
insurance premiums. Only 178 of
the 47,000 fire departments in the
United States have reached this
pinnacle. This was a team effort and
I am proud of everyone that contributed. We are developing an “ISO
Class 1” logo to display on our fleet.
Personnel Changes
Paula’s heroic actions exemplify
everything it means to be a Firefighter in our City. It means going
beyond professional training, combining it with life experience, and
acting with compassion and honor
when faced with difficult and, sometimes, impossible situations.
The award ceremony is to be scheduled soon. Congratulations!
ISO Class 1
We prepared for and underwent an
ISO review back on November 3,
2015, under the coordination of Deputy Chief Glenn Joseph, with the
assistance of everyone on the Department. To our delight, Mayor
Susan Haynie and I were presented
with the highest rating possible on
Please join me in wishing Assistant
Fire Chief Mike Gergora well in
retirement. His “Last Roll Call Ceremony” was held on Friday, February
26th and his last day was Monday,
February 29th. We were hosting a
Bagpipe & Drum Academy that
week, and many extra musicians
played the music for his ceremony.
This will be a hard one to top.
BOCA FIRE RESCUE
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Battalion
Chief
Aide
Curt
Berryman will be leaving us on
March 13th…he will be missed. John
Boike has taken one of the two Battalion Chief Aide positions. John
came to us from Palm Beach County
Fire Rescue, with lots of experience.
Save the Dates
Chuck Burkell Leadership Seminars
Auditorium at 6500 Congress Ave.
Tuesday, March 8, 2016, OR
Wednesday, March 9, 2016
C or D Shifts
Until next time…be safe.
the worst month for brush fires in the
City, so be prepared and informed by
obtaining more information regarding
statewide brush-fire activity at the
State Division of Forestry website at
www.fl-dof.com. In addition, the Department was again notified by the
Palm Beach County Department of
Environmental Resources Management that they are attempting to conduct a prescribed burn of approximately 7 acres in the Yamato Scrub
Natural Area sometime between February 21st and December 23rd. The
parameters to conduct this prescribed
burn are very stringent and have not
been met in the past several years.
Operations
By:
Daryl Scott
Assistant Chief
FAU Stadium
Again this year, there will be several
events held here in the City at the
FAU Stadium, with the first being the
She Believes Cup, which is the US
Women’s National Soccer Team vs.
Germany and France vs. England in
the final matches. This is a tournament that starts in Tampa and ends
in Boca Raton. The Florida Launch,
a Major League Lacrosse team, continues to call FAU Stadium home;
and their season starts in April and
continues
during
the
summer
months. Then, the FAU Owls football season starts in the beginning of
September. The Boca Raton Bowl
will, again, be played in December
with teams from the Mid-American
Conference vs. the American Athletic
Conference.
Brushfires / Prescribed Burn
Hot and dry weather will soon be
here and with that comes brush-fire
season. April has historically been
Exams
The upcoming Lieutenants’ promotional examination will be taking place
at the end of April; we wish everyone
participating in same the best of luck.
The Captain and EMS Captain promotional exams are also rapidly approaching. All employees who are
eligible to take these exams are encouraged to do so. The exams will
not only give you a better understanding of the position, but will also aid
you in upcoming exams by learning
the testing procedure. Those interested in partaking in the process
should get ready early.
“If you really want to do something,
you'll find a way. If you don't, you'll
find an excuse.” ― Jim Rohn
Until next time, be safe…
Administrative
Services
By:
John Treanor
Assistant Chief
ISO Rating
If you have not heard, we are now a
Class 1 Fire Department. This is a
tremendous
accomplishment.
I
would like to thank everyone for the
hard work that went into making this
happen; that includes – but is not
limited to - all the hours of training,
the rapid response to emergencies,
and the willingness to accept new
ideas. Congratulations!
2016 Fire Expo
I would also like to thank all those
that participated in the 2016 Fire
Expo. The event was very successful and well-received by the community. Watching the children’s faces
light up with amazement is always a
wonderful experience. Keep your
calendars open; next year’s event
will need plenty of people to assist.
Hiring Process
The department is currently accepting applications for the position of
firefighter/paramedic. Please get the
word out to those that may be interested in working with us. All applicants must be certified as a firefighter and paramedic at time of employment. This means those that are
certified firefighters in 3rd semester
paramedic school can apply. It also
means that a certified paramedic in
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BOCA FIRE RESCUE
the fire academy can also apply. This
new approach should allow us the
ability to include those still in school
that will be certified by the time we
hire them.
Probationary Employees
All probationary employees are currently going through their fire phase
rotations. Soon, they will be rotating
to medic units and starting the medical phase. As this change occurs, it
is imperative to keep up with their
training and performance objectives.
Please let the Training Division know
if you need any assistance during
this process. In addition, feedback on
the process is welcome. Please let
us know if you notice any areas
where we can improve the process.
Clerical Corner
By Susan Sova
Time for Another Reminder:
Tuition Reimbursement Paperwork
goes to Susan Sova
You must be employed with the
City for one full year. (Article 29 –
Sections 1 through 6)
PRIOR to beginning class, submit a
“Tuition Reimbursement” form, Target Solutions, File Center, Common
Forms (Item 11 in the electronic filing
cabinet), along with proof of enrollment/receipt of payment. After class
has been completed, Sue needs
proof of completion and the letter
grade you received. (A – 100% reimbursement; B – 75% reimbursement; and C – 50% reimbursement)
Any questions, call Sue at 561-9824026, or email her at
[email protected]
Operations
By:
Glenn Joseph
Deputy Chief
MARCH
03/01
03/02
03/03
03/05
03/05
03/10
03/18
03/19
03/19
03/21
03/23
03/24
03/25
03/25
03/27
03/29
03/30
APRIL
04/01
04/01
04/03
04/09
04/09
04/12
04/16
04/17
04/17
04/18
04/22
04/22
04/23
04/23
04/26
04/27
04/28
MAY
05/01
05/01
05/06
05/08
05/14
Shannon Frederick
Lenny Marrafino
Thomas Reid
James Barry
Chad Kozloski
Mike Francis
Kyle Graham
Aaron Hyde
Donald West
Daryl Scott
Warren Hunt
Raul Chacon
Joe Brooks
Angelina Odoms
Brian Shapins
Jeff Rupp
Scott Ward
Clayton Brannigan
Dave Woodside
Rudy Kerkerian
Eric David
Jose Santana
Marie Marini
Nate Nichols
Scott Brooks
Lance Parks
John Meunier III
Michael Schmitz
Michael Young
James Cuomo
Ryan Gerwig
Aaron Oatley
John Gonzalez
Ryan Cihowiak
Kylee Andrews
Neil Duffy
Joe Gandolfo
Mark Lacho
Norm Engel
Chief Gergora’s Retirement
I would like to congratulate Assistant Chief Michael Gergora on this
retirement. He has served the City
of Boca Raton with distinction for
over 27 years. I have known Chief
Gergora for over 30 years; we
worked at Lantana Fire Department
together and were fire service instructors at South Technical Education Center (South Tech) for many
years.
Michael always demonstrated the highest regard for his
fellow firefighters and a commitment
to excellence in public service. I
wish him a long, healthy, and happy
retirement.
Dermal Exposure
In the last few years, there has
been a growing number of published research raising concerns
about the effects of dermal exposure to smoke and the products of
combustion. The Fire Chief and his
staff have been evaluating strategies to minimize these effects – beginning with the hood exchange
program; the next step will be to
evaluate the best decontamination
wipes available on the market. We
have narrowed the list to three and
are acquiring samples to evaluate;
we intend to deploy a decontamination system to all emergency response vehicles soon.
Be Safe, Be Competent,
Be Professional
Thursday, March 17
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BOCA FIRE RESCUE
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BOCA FIRE RESCUE
Photos courtesy of
Jay Bell
BOCA FIRE RESCUE
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Logistics and
Support
keys are an updated version of the
existing keys. The inventory will be
updated to reflect this on all the units.
By:
Michael LaSalle
Assistant Chief
Fire Expo 2016
I would like to take this opportunity to
commend our staff and our volunteers for their dedication and cooperative assistance during this year’s
FIRE EXPO. Everyone went “above
and beyond” the call of duty in terms
of preparing and participating in
FIRE EXPO 2016 at The Town Center Mall of Boca Raton.
At this point, everyone should have
been issued all their new work pants.
These new pants have been very well
-received and are durable and functional, as well.
That’s it for now from the Logistics
and Support Division. As always, if
you need anything, please give me
call.
Training
Over 2,250 visitors of all ages attended the Expo and were thrilled to
see 10 action-filled exhibits and over
20 “health and safety” exhibitors.
Boca Raton Fire Explorers Post #315
participated again this year, along
with the folks from Boca Raton Police Services, CERT, IAFF Local
1560, and the Firefighters Benevolent of Boca Raton, and many more.
I would also like to thank Town Center Mall and its staff for, once again,
hosting our FIRE EXPO. This partnership has proven be a great relationship over the past few years.
Equipment
The Logistics and Support Division is
proud to unveil 15 new Thermal Imaging Cameras (TICS) for use in the
field. These state-of-the-art cameras
are a replacement of our old TICS.
Training will be forthcoming on this
excellent piece of equipment.
We will also be distributing new elevator keys to all apparatus. The new
By:
Jeffrey Rupp
Division Chief
Greetings again from
the Training Division!
First and foremost,
hope everybody is safe and well.
SCBA Training Evolutions
Thank you to everyone who helped
with, and participated in, the SCBA
training evolutions.
Some good
things that came from this training
included working within a command
structure, using SLIC-ERS, deployment of the coil load, and, finally, the
functioning of a RIT team. Whether
good or bad, hopefully, everybody
took away with them, something from
this evolution.
Vehicle Fire Training
We also recently completed evening
vehicle fire training. As before, there
were some positive and some negative findings. Thank you to all the
crews that prepared themselves for
the training and showed up with
positive attitudes. Hopefully, the
officers noted any shortcomings of
their respective crews and will address issues. And again, hopefully,
everybody was able to take something from the training.
On a related note, there definitely
seems to be a need for company
officers to find time to prepare their
crews. It is the company officers’
responsibility to ensure that they,
and their crews, are prepared for
any and all emergency calls. The
company officer should also know
the strengths and weaknesses of
his/her personnel. Please feel free
to reach out to the Training Division
if we can help in any way.
Lieutenants Exam
The closing date for the upcoming
Lieutenants test is right around the
corner, April 7th. Please do not wait
until the last minute to sign up.
More Training!
Some exciting training to look forward to includes: two weeks of extrication training and two weeks of
medical training in March. The new
protocols are looming on the horizon! April will be full of hose testing!
Until next time, be safe!
BOCA FIRE RESCUE
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EMS
By:
Michael Davanzo
Division Chief
Hello everyone!
Stroke Protocols
The EMS Division is embarking on
some great changes in the very near
future. The month of March is filled
with new and exciting training that
will enhance our services. Boca Fire
Rescue Services, in conjunction with
Dr. Shaye Moskowitz of the Boca
Regional Hospital Marcus Neuroscience Institute, have created state-ofthe-art stroke training.
We have
filmed a video which will introduce
our personnel to the R.A.C.E. Stroke
exam, as well as help train them.
Along with the video, we have created a Powerpoint presentation to
supplement the learning experience
of the new stroke exam. The stroke
protocol will be changing and will put
us on par with the NIH stroke-scale
used at comprehensive stroke centers in our area. I’m happy and
proud to announce that our protocol
revisions are complete and streamlined to create a comprehensive, yet
very user-friendly, document that will
aid our personnel in Emergency
Medical Services.
There will be
many more changes coming down
the pike that will keep us on the cutting edge of pre-hospital medicine.
Lieutenant Exam
The Lieutenant exam is quickly approaching and I encourage all who
sign up to take the exam - and any of
you thinking about taking the exam to study hard and be the best you can
be. You are the future leaders of our
department and your willingness to
promote and help lead us into the
future will create the finest Emergency Medical Services that can be
provided.
Best of luck to all.
BABY NEWS!!
Welcome to the World!
Roman Grey Polistena
Born February 17, 2016
to Val & Jamary Polistena
Sophia Alexis Richards
Born December 14, 2015
to Karl & Stephanie Richards
Cameron Jace Sekula
Born December 3, 2015
to Jason & Brianna Sekula
Gannon Edward Hanks
Born October 5, 2015
to Eric & Bethani Hanks
A publication of :
Boca Raton Fire Rescue Services
6500 Congress Avenue, Ste 200
Boca Raton, FL 33487-2851
March
Joe Brooks
Aaron Fix
Patty Van Buskirk
Victoria Osborn
Mike Davanzo
Scott Kovi
Mike Schmitz
Tory Buckman
Matt Grunke
Sean Migone
Matt Tupper
Marcus Cooper
Neil Duffy
Shannon Frederick
Dan Johnson
Arnaldo Rodriguez
Mike Sember
Ryan Kelly
Dorrant Mowatt
Robert Parks
Val Polistena
Richard Rafalski
Scott Hauss
Mark Lacho
Manny Nuno
Jonathan Santana
Steven Wright
April
Ellen Beckman
John Luca
Mike Lucas
Erik Solensten
Mike Sklark
Kim Puchalski
Amy Ross
Shane Leon
John Meunier
Paula Ursini
Jesus Barrera
Evan Gaub
Jon Vought
John Patfield
CONGRATULATIONS!
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BOCA FIRE RESCUE
Michael LaSalle, Public Information Officer
ISO - On February 17th, 2016 Fire Rescue Services was given a
Class 1 ranking. The ceremony took place at City Hall. Picture from
left to right are: Pictured from left to right are: Deputy Mayor Weinroth, Chief Wood, Chief Woodside, Chief LaSalle, Tom Weber
(ISO), Mayor Haynie, Chief Gergora, Chief Treanor, and Chief Scott.
This serious auto accident occurred on I-95 at the Yamato Road
overpass. Our units responded and had to extricate the passenger
from the vehicle. I-95 had to be shut down in both directions to
land the Trauma Hawk.
On Thursday, February 4th, 2016 at 1513 hours, units were dispatched to a car on fire next to a structure. Upon arrival, fire
crews found three cars on fire with some fire extension to the
exterior of the building. The fire was quickly extinguished while
the building was being evacuated. There were no firefighter or
civilian injuries. The cause of the fire was undetermined.
On Wednesday, February 17th, 2016, Fire Rescue teamed up with
Police Services to conduct an active shooter drill at 800 Banyan
Trail (Fire Support Facility). The drill went very smoothly and was
the first in a series of training evolutions between the two departments.

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