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Florida’s Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal has rolled out new training materials for employers of the state’s first responders. It’s to help those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

MGN Online

Florida lawmakers have approved a bill that will give Florida’s first responders with emotional injuries access to workers compensation.

While it’s so far gone nowhere in the state Senate, a proposal critics are dubbing the “union-busting bill” has passed the Florida House.

Florida Forest Service facebook

40 more wildland firefighters from Florida are now heading to the western part of the U.S. to help deal with one of the worst wildlife seasons in American history. That’s on top of the 41 sent last month.

Florida Channel

State employees will be getting a pay raise this year, under a proposal now heading to the Senate floor. But, it’s tied to a controversial pension reform issue and health insurance reform package backed by the House.

Florida Channel

Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater hosted a ceremony Tuesday to honor the lives of Florida’s fallen firefighters.

MGN Online

A bill seeking a three percent pay raise for state employees unanimously passed its first Senate panel Monday. And, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are mulling over the issue as well.

Florida Forest Service

When an impasse between the Florida House and Senate shut the last regular legislative session down early, a number of bills fell through the cracks. Now lawmakers are working to breathe life into those forgotten measures in time for the next session.

There’s a lot of disappointment going around due to Governor Rick Scott’s long list of vetoes. It includes more than a million dollars in pay raises for Florida forestry firefighters.

Florida Channel

The state’s Agriculture Commissioner says he’s disappointed Governor Rick Scott vetoed Pay raises for forestry firefighters—a top priorities of the Florida Department of Agriculture.

Governor Rick Scott recently gave the nod to several priorities of the state’s first responder unions. Now, those unions are speaking out on what they’d like Florida lawmakers to include in the still-to-be-considered state budget.

The Florida Channel

Local pensions are a ticking time bomb in the state. While funding remains undercut and overdue, lawmakers are working to pass a bill that will finally redress the issue.

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

The Florida Cabinet joined firefighters as well as families of the fallen for a groundbreaking ceremony of a new Florida Fallen Firefighter Memorial on the grounds of the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee Tuesday.

With Bagpipes to mark the beginning and end of Tuesday’s groundbreaking, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater officiated the ceremony in his capacity as the state’s fire marshal.

“The time for a memorial on our Capital grounds to recognize 181 lives of firefighters lost in the line of duty dating back to 1885 is long overdue,” said Atwater.

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

The courtyard between Florida’s old and new Capitol buildings will soon have a new addition. The State’s Fire Marshal office is partnering with other firefighter agencies to erect a Fallen Firefighter Memorial.

Disney's "Planes" Facebook page

The latest Disney-Pixar movie, "Planes: Fire and Rescue," is scheduled for a nationwide release this Friday, and Disney is partnering with the Florida Forest Service as part of that release.

Before the movie starts, Florida moviegoers will see a 30-second educational video about Florida’s Wildland Firefighters and their effort to combat wildfires.

Tallahassee Firefighter Charged With Fraud

May 20, 2014
Ryan Benk / WFSU News


A Tallahassee firefighter is being charged with giving 42 fire college students passing grades although he actually didn’t teach a single course. Now Lt. Matt Schlossman faces 17 fraud charges.

Florida Forest Service

A Florida legislative panel is weighing the Florida State Fire Service Association’s demand that firefighters no longer be sent to respond to fires alone. Having at least two responders to every wildfire would cost the state an estimated $3 million annually.

Florida Forest Service Director Jim Karels says the increased staffing mandate is not necessary because the lowest-risk fires only require one firefighter—and if he sends two to one fire, it’s possible nobody will be available when the next one breaks out.

Florida Forest Service

More firefighters are leaving Florida to help fight wildfires in other states. The Florida Forest Service sent 30 firefighters and staff to California and Oregon earlier this week and 40 more will leave the state Saturday. Florida Department of Agriculture Spokeswoman Erin Gillespie says it’s not unusual to send that many firefighters to other states.

Florida Forest Service

The Florida Forest Service is sending 30 firefighters and other staff to help fight wildfires in Oregon and California. The state has people to spare because this year’s rain has reduced the number of fire outbreaks in Florida.

Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Erin Gillespie says Florida offered up its extra personnel by adding them to a nationwide database that she says is like a " for firefighters."

Jessica Palombo / WFSU-FM

An electrical fire on Thursday morning at FSU’s High Magnetic Laboratory injured one man, who was airlifted to Shands in Gainesville with serious burns. The cause of the fire is still being investigated.

Fire fighters arrived at the Mag Lab just after 9:30 a.m. to find smoke filling one of the magnetic research buildings. Mike Bellamy with the Tallahassee Fire Department says, the fire started on a high-voltage electrical panel.  

A bill meant to lower the retirement age of special risk employees back to what it was a year ago is more or less dead in the Florida Legislature. Sascha Cordner has more.

After a move by the Senate to stall the measure, the House sponsor, Republican Representative Ritch Workman, withdrew his proposal from consideration in its last committee stop.

A measure that would allow police officers, firefighters, and other special-risk employees to retire earlier is advancing in the House. But, as Sascha Cordner reports, there are a couple of provisions in the bill that opponents say would destroy the state’s pension plan system.

Republican Representative Ritch Workman says he wants a do-over on a massive pension reform plan he sponsored last year to correct a past mistake: