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.
Jason Byrd began his fire service career with the City of Madison (Florida) Fire Department in 1989. In 1991, he became the third generation of his family to join the City of Tallahassee Fire Department. During his career, he has served in the capacity of Firefighter, Fire Engineer, Fire Lieutenant, Fire Captain, Fire Battalion Chief, and currently holds the rank of Fire Division Chief. In his current position, Chief Byrd oversees the Emergency Response Division of the Tallahassee Fire Department. He is responsible for all aspects of emergency service delivery by the Tallahassee Fire Department which consists of 280 personnel, serves approximately 275,000 citizens and responds to over 22,000 emergencies annually.
Chief Byrd holds a Bachelor's Degree and is currently enrolled in a Masters of Business Administration program. Additionally, he is a State of Florida certified Paramedic, Fire Officer II, Instructor III, Fire Safety Inspector, Fire Investigator, Live Fire Instructor, and HazMat Technician.
Fire Suppression and Rescue
The Tallahassee Fire Department responds to nearly 400 structures fires, both commercial and residential, as well as approximately 200 vehicles fires, over 900 brush and rubbish fires, and more than 1100 vehicle rescues annually. As a result of the diversity of emergency calls, personnel must be properly equipped, trained, and at the ready to respond and mitigate any of these emergency situations. Beyond Leon County, the department also provides emergency response via mutual aid to communities in the surrounding area.
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 15 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.