Monroe County Fire and Rescue helps Santa make his way through the Keys

Deputy Chief RL Colina from Monroe County Fire and Rescue joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to talk about what’s been going on in the county.

There are a number of events that Monroe County Fire and Rescue will participate in for the holidays.

Chief Colina said, “We pride ourselves in making sure that we get out there in the community and not just spread the prevention message out there but also get up in community and kind of participate and enjoy the season with our community.”

One event is the holiday parade this Saturday.

Chief Colina said, “It’s such a great collaboration of all the different organizations, the agencies. It’s a great time for a lot of people to get out, kind of diffuse a little bit, enjoy the crowd, enjoy the vibe of the holidays, and just be out there, present who they are and enjoy a little bit of hand waving from the community.”

Monroe County Fire and Rescue will be taking Santa around the area throughout December.

Chief Colina said, “He’s granted us a couple of days here to spread some holiday cheer to the local neighborhoods. He’s like officially one of the first fire chiefs that were ever established. And that’s where we got the red and white from. He doesn’t obey the traffic signs. He just goes where he wants.”

Trauma Star will be having a flight to the North Pole on December 5 between 8 and 11 a.m.

Chief Colina said, “That’s another great day where we have a lot of kids, a lot of people from the community will come there and we do spot checks on Santa. We’ll have Santa there. It’s just a great time to kind of gather and celebrate the holidays. We do that on December 5 at Key West airport.”

Santa will also appear on December 9 between 12 and 2 p.m. in the park.

Chief Colina said, “That is an amazing collaboration between Monroe County Parks and Beaches and ourselves at Harry Harris Park in Tavernier. It’s a great time. The first 100 kids, there’s a free prize. We have some Frisbees. We have candy canes. We’ll give tours of the fire trucks. And then more importantly Santa, he’s arranged to spend that time there at the park, and if anyone would like to take a picture with him, from the young to the older, whoever would like to a picture with Santa, he will be available during those times.”

Monroe County Fire and Rescue is always on alert.

Chief Colina said, “We made it through one holiday and we’re going to have a joyous Christmas to follow up by spectacular New Year.”

The holidays are a good time to maintain fire prevention.

Chief Colina said, “A lot of times, we get these Christmas trees, and they’re beautiful, they smell wonderful. But just like anything else, they’re a plant, they need water. When these things get dried out, they don’t visually show, so you won’t look at it and you won’t see the brown in it initially. But when they dry out, they become very brittle to the point where you can touch the trees sometimes and all those little pine needles will fall right off. Those are extremely accelerant in a fire. Make sure if you do have a live tree, that you have a surge protector that’s connected to the lights to make sure that there’s no chance of arcing, that you’ve got a protector down there. Then more importantly, that it’s away from anything else in contact with electricity and that you keep it nice full of water throughout this season.”

Monroe County Fire and Rescue will be in Big Pine on Thursday for the Webelos Boy Scouts of America first responders adventure badge.

Chief Colina said, “We will be meeting with them to go through some first aid and some of the requirements in order for them to obtain that badge. We’re super excited for them. Once again, these are fourth and fifth graders over 10 years old. It’s a great time for our community, for Fire Rescue to get out there and collaborate. We’ve got about 160 firefighters out there that support 24 hours, seven days a week. But anytime we can recruit, and we can educate the community it makes every place safer for us to be.”

How can people find out more if they’re interested in finding out what a career in Fire Rescue is all about?

Chief Colina said, “There’s a lot of opportunities for residents of Monroe County that are interested in the EMT program, paramedic program and especially fire service, as we’re one of 43 state run facilities for the training academy. To get your firefighting standard compliance, you can go to our website. All the information under fire rescue for the Joe London Training Facility will direct you down the path to get you signed up or at least informed about when the next class is starting.”

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