West Manatee Fire Rescue

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Welcome to West Manatee Fire Rescue

Crew Provides Station Tour

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Read more...Crew Provides Station Tour

The B-Shift crew at Station 1 recently provided a wonderful station tour to 3 lucky visitors.  All the kids took their turn extinguishing a "made believe" fire using a real water extinguisher.


WMFR Conducts Rescue Swimmer Training

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Read more...Rescue Swimmer Training Conducted

Members of WMFR’s Rescue Swimmer Team performed their open water training evolution at Palma Sola Causeway.  The Rescue Swimmers were tasked to “rescue” a buoy which represented an unconscious victim.  Training also included searching for a submerged victim.  Members of the Rescue Swimmer Team train regularly to keep their skills sharp.



West Manatee Fire Rescue Holds Awards Ceremony

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Read more...West Manatee Fire Rescue Holds Awards Ceremony

Read more...West Manatee Fire  & Rescue District honored personnel for their achievements in 2014.  Earning Rookie of the Year was Firefighter Josh Adkins; Firefighter of the Year was Firefighter Tyler MacDonald and Fire Officer of the Year was Captain Ryan Moore.

Recognized for 35 years of service was Fire Chief Andy Price; 20 years, Captain James Leigh; and 15 years, Captain Ryan Moore; 10 years of service were Firefighters William Bowen, Ben Dillon, Bill Kimbrell, Jeff Philips, Jeff Taylor, Mike Petrosino and Inspector Keith Miller.

Firefighters Chad Brunner and Jorden McPherson for 5 years

Firefighters Zach Benshoff, Cameron Moeller, Ryan Beall, Chris Catarzi, Cameron Frazier, Thomas Price and Jacob Sulkowski for 1 year of service.

Special recognition was given to former Commissioners Larry Tyler and Scott Ricci and Pension Board Member Catherine Van Velzen.


Brunner Promoted to 1st Class

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Brunner Promoted to 1stClass

Chad Brunner was promoted to the rank of First Class Firefighter at the Board of Commissioners meeting, Thursday night.  Firefighter Brunner started as a reserve firefighter with the District in 2009 and was hired in 2011 as a full-time firefighter.


Fire Chief Replacement Named

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Sousa outlines goals for West Manatee Fire Rescue




Tom Sousa, who will become fire chief in 2015, said 
his goals include enhancing the rescue side of operations and 
working more closely with the county's marine rescue department.


HOLMES BEACH – “It’s really good,” Capt. Tom Sousa said about his approval as West Manatee Fire & Rescue’s chief to replace the retiring Chief Andy Price in April 2015.

Sousa, who has served as the fire district’s training/safety/public information officer, said the district has really grown since the merger of the West Side and Anna Maria fire districts in 2000.

“Andy built the organization to where it is today,” he pointed out. “I came in 2006 when it was still in the developing stage. In the 14 years since the merger, the agency has matured into an effective firefighting and EMS delivery system.”

The rescue side

Sousa said his goals include enhancing the rescue side of the district’s operations.

“We’re focused on saving lives and protecting property,” he explained. “I’d like to look at our cardiac save rate to see if we can improve survival rates. So far this year, there have been 29 sudden cardiac arrests.”

He said he would like to increase the number of AEDs (automatic external defibrillators) in businesses and public places and offer more CPR classes to the public.

He also would like to work more closely with the county's marine rescue on water safety.

“There are a lot of people out here at the beaches, even in the summer,” he noted. “We have been proactive in our effectiveness in response by training a dozen of our firefighters to be rescue swimmers. There are some on each shift, and they carry dive rescue equipment.”

The fire side

On the fire side, Sousa said, “Our fire response is good and well organized. I’d like to look at innovative ways to be more efficient when we get there.”

In addition, he said he’d like to enhance fire prevention education and build and maintain good relations with the three Island cities on construction issues, prevention and hurricane planning.

He said he is not concerned about the possibility that firefighters could unionize. Several months ago, a number of the district’s firefighters applied to join Local 2546, the International Association of Firefighters.

“There’s a scheduled vote to see if they want to be represented by a bargaining agent,” he explained. “Management is not participating the process, and it is yet to be determined whether the battalion chiefs will participate.

“It will just add steps to the management of the organization, but the mission is still the same. Service delivery will be unaffected.”

Transition process

He said part of the transition process over the next seven months will be replacing his position as training officer, as well as dealing with the retirement of the deputy chief and two administrative assistants next year.

“We need to evaluate the work flow,” he said. “If we can find some efficiencies, we will. I’d like to see what the chief’s job entails, then we can go forward and see what we’re going to do.”

Sousa and his wife Annette, have four daughters, Haley, 24; Natalie, 23; Mariel, 21; and Olivia, 19.

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