EMS & Training
Division Chief Kermit Washington began his service with the City of Tallahassee Fire Department in 1987, during which he has held the positions of; firefighter, driver/operator, lieutenant, captain and battalion chief. Currently Chief Washington serves as a Shift Commander for suppression and as the Division Chief of EMS /Training; this includes developing training programs and maintaining training and EMS certification records for the department. Chief Washington has and continues to serve as TFD Honor Guard commander, as well as liaison for the Department to the Tallahassee Community College Fire Academy. Chief Washington holds an Associate Degree in Fire Science from Columbia Southern University of Alabama.
The department responds to a variety of emergency calls, including structure, vehicle, and brush fires, vehicle rescues, hazardous conditions, and medical calls. The majority, approximately 60%, of these calls are medical in nature. TFD provides advanced and basic life support medical care to the citizens and visitors of Tallahassee and Leon County, serving approximately 275,000 citizens and responding to over 22,000 emergencies annually.
Training is instrumental in the development and advancement of suppression personnel emphasizing customer service and professional fire service advancement. TFD achieves this by coordinating and delivering in-service training through practical skills activities, classroom course delivery and on-line curriculum. The training grounds consist of a 6 story multi-use training tower, 2.5 story class "a" burn facility, natural gas and propane burn station and regional team hazardous material/Urban Search and Rescue training station.
Wonder what it would be like to be a firefighter? Well now you can find out. The Department's Citizens' Fire Academy delivered twice annually, is an informative learning process that provides an opportunity for you to receive 5 weeks of both classroom and field instruction regarding the various responsibilities facing our firefighters. While attending, you will receive information and instruction on such issues as vehicle extrication, Liquid Propane (LP) Gas Fires, Fire Hose Deployment, Fire Attack, Fire Ventilation, Safety, Communications, Airport Fire Operations, Hazardous Materials, Vertical Rescue, Emergency Medical Procedures, and much more. All of this is enhanced by your opportunity to ride along with a company, rappel with a TRT member, and extinguish a Liquid Propane Gas Fire. The Academy is free.
EMS Programs – Community Involvement
To help promote good health habits and to prevent potentially serious illness, the Fire Department offers free blood pressure screening to you as a public service at all 16 fire stations located throughout Leon County. In addition to the free blood pressure check, you are given a card to keep to maintain a record of your blood pressure readings. You are encouraged to take this card with you on visits to your physician for review. Learn more about lowering your blood pressure by reading this American Heart Association report.
The Difference Between BLS and ALS
Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) are trained in Basic Life Support (BLS) measures. To become an EMT, one has to attend and graduate from an accredited EMT school program. During this time, an EMT is taught how to deal with basic medical emergencies and trauma. Through both classroom and practical education, the BLS provider becomes proficient in trauma care, cardiac and stroke care, CPR, advanced first aid, child birth, and basic medication administration. These skills allow a BLS provider to stabilize a patient until ALS care arrives, and/or until a patient is transported to a hospital for further medical care.
To become a Paramedic, and be certified in Advanced Life Support (ALS), one must first complete an EMT/BLS level of training, followed by two years of college level courses including College Math, English, and Human Sciences. After prerequisites have been completed, one can apply for a Paramedic program. The training gained in Paramedic school expounds on EMT/BLS school. Skills learned include aggressive cardiac life support, pediatric life support, severe trauma, and many other life-threatening emergency medical conditions. Paramedics are also trained to start IVs, administer medications according to medical director, and perform advanced airway management. An ALS trained Paramedic is responsible for managing the emergency medical scene according to protocol, and direct operations inside the medical transport unit en route to the hospital.
American Heart Association Heart Ready Award
Recognizing that coronary artery disease is America's #1 Killer, advanced defibrillators are standard on our ALS units and over 50 have been deployed to our Basic Life Support units, staff vehicles and fire department facilities. This preparation has been recognized as the Department has recently been awarded the American Heart Association's HEARTREADY Award.
Hazardous Materials Toxicology Response Program
In the case of chemical exposures, the Department has implemented the only pre-hospital chemical exposure treatment program in our region. This program of specially trained paramedics has the required knowledge, training, and antidotal resources needed to intervene in specific chemical poisonings.
Helping Hugs Program
When young children have suffered trauma from fire related injuries, medical emergencies, or accidents, Department members will give the child a small stuffed animal for comfort. This helps to ease fear and anxiety the child may experience and to breakdown the barrier between the child and firefighters.