1. #1
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    Default Key West Florida--New Fire Chief Appointed

    Somewhere on here I posted that the process of looking for a new Fire Chief in Key West was close to concluding. Well...I could not find the post to add this but they decision has been made.

    http://keysnews.com/278815971236462.bsp.htm
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  2. #2
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    Default

    Familiar faces in new places at Key West Fire Department

    BY TOM WALKER
    keysnews.com


    Two days after being named Key West fire chief, Billy Wardlow sat in the same small office in the Central Fire Station on North Roosevelt Boulevard he has used since being named assistant chief in 1996.

    Wardlow, 48, seemed at ease Thursday, surrounded by the fire and sports memorabilia he's collected throughout his 27-year career and was patiently waiting to move into the larger office once occupied by former Chief Tim "Buddha" Fahey. Fahey retired in August after three decades of service.

    "They have to get the new carpet down and move in the furniture, so I didn't want to have to move everything twice," he said.

    But for Wardlow, freshly shorn of a year's growth of beard started the day 343 fellow firefighters lost their lives in the Sept. 11 attacks -- he removed it on the one year anniversary of their deaths -- a simple thing like cramped quarters wasn't going to keep him from moving the 73 member department into a new era.


    "Really keeping in touch with the community and focusing on a concept of team-building, not only among ourselves, but with other departments in the city are two things we're looking at," he said.

    Ordinarily the upward promotion would leave a vacuum in the assistant chief's slot, but a money-saving reorganization eliminated that position.

    Fire Marshal David Fraga and Operations Commander Alan Vidal assimilated the responsibilities of assistant chief into their current duties. Given the title of division chief, Fraga, 50, will also concentrate on fire prevention services and personnel. Vidal, 45, will handle budget and operations. The trio, who worked their way up the ranks, boast a combined 85 years of firefighting experience.

    "I think we'll mesh together well," Fraga said. "Our strengths in our specific areas will compliment each other."

    One priority for the department, according to Wardlow, will focus on maintaining the city's Insurance Service Office rating of 3. Based on a 1-to-10 scale, the ISO 3 rating has an impact on determining the property and liability insurance risk of communities for insurers and other regulators. Key West has been able to maintain the low rating since 1996 with annual reviews conducted every two years

    "ISO ratings are mainly directed at commercial properties," Wardlow explained. "And, in the long run, it does have some effect on private homeowners."

    The Key West Fire Department with a rich tradition and known for career longevity among the employees will also be looking at recruiting more minorities. Potential minority firefighters could likely be culled from classes at the Monroe County Fire Academy on Grassy Key, the Florida Fire College in Ocala and the Fire Explorer Program at Key West High School spearheaded by Fire Marshal Craig Marsten.

    "We're also formulating plans to visit local organizations and groups for recruits as well," Fraga said.

    With October named Fire Prevention Awareness Month, other plans include expanding fire safety and education to individuals and local businesses on a continuing basis.

    "If they want to call us for something like a simple fire alarm installation, or a safety survey of their property, or even scheduling educational classes, all they need to do is give us a call," Wardlow said.

    In house, the department is eyeing the firefighters in the recent Emergency Medical Technician class to beef up the current number of 35 EMTs.

    "By the time it's over, we should have 50 fully trained EMTs," Fraga said.

    Currently, the department also has eight paramedics and will likely add to that number as well.

    Wardlow said he's confident with the addition of the two division chiefs, his firefighters and other support staff, that his transition at sitting behind the desk of chiefs past, including his late brother Richard "Dickie" Wardlow, should be seamless.

    "We all know how to do our jobs," he said.

    twalker@keysnews.com
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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