Tallahassee Fire Department
Division Chief Lori Roberts currently serves as A Shift Commander for suppression and oversees the Division of Logistics. Chief Roberts began her employment with the Tallahassee Fire Department in 1992, during which she held the positions of; Firefighter, Fire Engineer, Fire Lieutenant, Fire Captain, Fire Battalion Chief, and currently holds the rank of Fire Division Chief.
Chief Roberts holds a Bachelor's Degree in Information Studies, an Associates of Science in Fire Science Technology, and an Associates of Arts in General Studies. Additionally, she is a State of Florida certified Emergency Medical Technician, Fire Officer I, Fire Officer II, Instructor III, Fire Investigator, and Live Fire Instructor.
The Logistics Division supports the mission of the Tallahassee Fire Department by providing support services for fire suppression, hazardous material, and rescue operations. This support includes:
- Maintaining and supplying all 296 personnel with uniforms and personnel protective equipment such as helmets, coats, pants, boots, and gloves.
- Management, maintenance, and stocking of 21 department facilities.
- Management of all department fire apparatus as well as support vehicles.
- Management and maintenance of all department technology needs.
- Management of the department Special Operations which include Hazardous Materials Task Force 2 Team, Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 7 Team and the Airport Operations for the Tallahassee International Airport.
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.
Division Chief Gene Sanders currently serves as a Shift Commander for suppression, as the Department's Fire Marshal, and oversees the Prevention Division. Chief Sanders began his employment with the Tallahassee Fire Department in 1997, during which time he has held the position of; firefighter, driver/operator, captain, and battalion chief. Chief Sanders serves as a liaison for the Department at both the local and state level. He holds an Associates of Science degree in Fire Science. Additionally, he is a State of Florida certified Emergency Medical Technician, Fire Officer I, Fire Safety Inspector, Fire Investigator, Hazmat Technician, and Live Fire Instructor.
Each year, the personnel within Prevention interact with more than 2500 local businesses and places of assembly, including schools and churches, to ensure fire safety for the public as well as the employees who work there. Our inspectors inspect for compliance with all life safety and current NFPA fire codes.
During an inspection, TFD will evaluate whether conditions at a business site are safe or if there are issues that are liable to cause a fire or endanger lives and property as a result of fire. If these conditions do exist, TFD will advise the business immediately and consult with the owner/manager or designee about correcting these problems in a reasonable timeframe so the business will be safer and in compliance with fire codes.
Prevention also oversees the fulfillment of the department's home fire safety program with the free install of smoke detectors to elderly and low income citizens. Public education and outreach regarding home fire safety is another responsibility of Prevention. This programming mainly includes fire safety presentations at public events and local civic groups as well as an annual Fire Prevention Week community event in October.
Update Your Emergency Information
Property managers and business owners can now update their emergency contact information and gate codes by using our online form. This will ensure our emergency personnel and first responders have the most accurate information and can be able to respond quickly and efficiently should the need arise.
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.
The Tallahassee Fire Department is looking for hard-working, caring, professional individuals who desire to work in the rewarding and challenging profession of Fire/EMS.
Become a Firefighter
Additional Forms and Information
Chief of Fire - Jerome Gaines
Jerome Gaines was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He graduated from Northrop High School and received his Bachelors Degree in Management from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2011.
On December 9, 1983 he was sworn in as a firefighter with the Fort Wayne Fire Department. In 1988 he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in the suppression division. In 1989 he transferred to the training academy and became the lead instructor. Later that year he was promoted to Captain. In 1991 he was promoted to the rank of District Chief of Hazardous Materials Operations. In 1993 he was promoted to Chief of Special Operations. While in this position he also took on the duties of Systems Administrator over the Information Technology Division. In 1999 he returned to the fire suppression division as a Battalion Chief. In 2004 he was appointed to the position of Shift Commander and in 2014 he was appointed to the rank of Assistant Chief of Operations, where he oversaw the daily activities of 365 firefighters. He was appointed to fire chief of the Tallahassee Fire Department on June 30, 2014.
He and his wife Denice have three daughters (Tonya, Courtney, Jenai) and a son (Jorel) and seven grandchildren. He leaves the Fort Wayne Fire Department with thirty and half years of dedicated service.
The City of Tallahassee’s Fire Department has been fighting fires and responding to emergencies for more than 100 years. While Tallahassee developed as a city, firefighting was a community effort ranging from "bucket brigades" to hand- and horse-drawn wagons. In 1902, the first centralized fire department was established by the city, and in 1915 the first motorized truck, a LaGrange, was purchased for the sum of $8,000.
Fire prevention has been a large part of the fabric of the Tallahassee Fire Department. As early as 1843, the city enacted building ordinances that required all buildings in Tallahassee to be constructed of fireproof material. This was in response to the "Great Fire of 1843" that destroyed almost all of downtown Tallahassee, a business district of more than 90 structures. In 1912, Chief T.P. Coe was quoted in local newspapers saying that ladders should be readily available at all residences so neighbors could possibly put out a fire with a bucket of water.
Firefighting, fire prevention and responses to all types of emergencies have grown extensively in the last 100 years. Today TFD has 16 stations serving and protecting about 702 square miles of incorporated and unincorporated land in Tallahassee and Leon County and over 284,000 people. The department is comprised of 282 full-time certified firefighters, 261 of whom respond to over 24,000 incidents annually and 21 whom are on staff. In addition, 14 general support employees provide a variety of administrative support.
The face of firefighting is changing constantly. In Tallahassee's recent past, the majority of calls were for fires, predominantly resulting from kitchen accidents, chimney sparks and arson. Now the department faces a multifaceted response requirement that is daunting, to say the least. Thirty-two percent of current emergency calls are for emergency medical services (EMS). To field approximately 7,000 EMS calls annually, TFD provides the largest non-hospital-based medical response force from Jacksonville to Pensacola. In the face of a major medical emergency in the community, TFD will be the first responder.
But, above and beyond the medical response mission of the department, TFD has trained its staff to respond to such specialized needs as arson investigation, structure collapse, high-angle rescue, extrication, search and rescue, and hazardous materials. Additionally, working with the county and state agencies, TFD assumes the lead role for the city in planning for and responding to man-made and natural disasters.
TFD has a long and distinguished history of responding to the public safety needs of the city and Leon and surrounding counties. The Department enthusiastically accepts this challenge. TFD continues to plan how to best serve and protect citizens for the next 100 years.