Mayors' Corner

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Mayor BujalskiDunedin Fire Department
November 2018

Every city is proud of their first responders and Dunedin is no different. We have a wonderful Fire Department who is entrenched in our community through Fire Prevention Safety Training, Walk Your Child to School Day, providing free installation of smoke detectors, community open houses and of course, protecting us during any type of natural or un-natural disasters. These men and women leave their families and run into a disaster scene while we are running out. We could not be more proud of the work they do on your behalf.

So, I would like to take a moment to tell you a few of the good things that have happened over the last year.

First, we are delighted to announce this year’s Firefighter of the Year, Lieutenant/Paramedic Kevin Naylor. Lt. Naylor was selected by his peers for his relentless dedication to his fellow firefighters and the citizens of Dunedin.

Kevin has been a member of the fire department since January 2007 and has quickly risen up through the ranks as a firefighter-paramedic, driver operator and to his current position of lieutenant-paramedic. In addition to his assigned duties, he is also an acting district chief and a preceptor for new hire paramedics and St. Petersburg College paramedic students.

Numerous nominations for this award indicate that Lt. Naylor is a valuable role model within the department. He has an easy-going type personality and is very approachable; however, Kevin is no pushover. He is always straight with people and is an excellent sounding board for those who need to vent or just to have someone listen and offer solid advice. He is a company officer that firefighters want to work for. He makes the job more enjoyable with the tone he sets each and every shift.

Kevin spends countless hours training department paramedics, as well as St. Petersburg College paramedic students. On more than one occasion, students have expressed that they would apply for a position with our department due to the positive experience they had riding with his crew and under his watchful eye.

Lt. Naylor is an excellent representative of quality public service and we are fortunate to have him within our ranks.

The next big change is in relation to Deputy Fire Chief Trip Barrs, who has served us for 26 years. Trip grew up in Dunedin’s fire house and has held every rank up through Deputy Fire Chief. He has an Associate's Degree in Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Paramedic certification and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Organizational Studies. In 2013 he received his Executive Fire Officer and Chief Fire Officer designations. He is a state certified Life Safety Inspector I, Instructor III and Live Fire Training Instructor I. While he will be greatly missed, we are so proud of his accomplishments and know that one day, he will bring his experience back to Dunedin. Congrats Trip and family!

Trip certainly leaves a big hole to be filled. We are thrilled to announce our new Deputy Fire Chief, Erich Thiemann. Erich has been with us since 1996. He has held several positions within the fire department including Firefighter/Paramedic, Lieutenant, District Chief and was promoted to Division Chief of Training in 2013. He has received a Bachelor’s Degree from St. Petersburg College and holds several instructors certifications relating to fire and EMS. He was awarded the State of Florida Fire Service Instructor of the Year Award for 2018. Way to go Erich!

Another long overdue promotion went to Lieutenant/Paramedic Eric Leon who was hired in 2008. He has held several positions including Firefighter/Paramedic, Driver/Engineer and Acting Lieutenant. Eric is currently working on his Associate’s Degree from St. Petersburg College. We could not be happier to announce his promotion to Lieutenant/Paramedic. Great Job Eric!

Dunedin Fire Department also has a Meritorious Service Award. Our very own District Chief Dewayne Fast is the recipient. This award is given to individuals who have displayed exemplary and highly unusual accomplishments toward the betterment of the department.

In addition to his regular duties managing and leading our “A” shift; Chief Fast has undertaken several construction projects which have significantly improved the department’s infrastructure and training capabilities:

He built the wood components and fabricated the metal structure for our Jon boat and motor storage rack, DC vehicle command cabinet, two patch cases for fire administration, modified a hydrant wrench to serve as a specialty door handle for the station 60 locker room and built-out the workroom at Station 60. This was done in many cases on his own time, with his own tools. Thank you Chief Fast!

And last but not least, we welcome our newcomers:

  • Firefighter/ EMT Justin Robinson
  • Firefighter/EMT Chase Garitson

These fine folks are just some of your Dunedin Fire Department. We are proud of these well-trained and educated public servants. We can all sleep better at night knowing they stand ready to serve!