SCFD Employee of the Month January 2017

Lieutenant Paula Thompson is the Seminole County Fire Department

Employee of the Month for January 2017.

Lt. Paula Thompson has been selected as Seminole County Fire Department Employee of the Month for her coordinating and partnership development with the American Red Cross Home Fire Safety Campaign and more specifically her coordination of the Palm Valley Smoke Alarm installation day that was held on January 21st.  This led to 741 smoke alarm installations in this retirement community.  This specific event was the largest event coordinated with the American Red Cross of Central Florida to date.  Overall this program has benefited hundreds of Seminole County residents.

In the summer of 2015, Lt. Thompson was approached by an American Red Cross (ARC) representative at an Emergency Management event about Seminole County Fire Department (SCFD) and the ARC developing a partnership to implement their ARC Home Fire Safety Campaign in Seminole County.  She recognized the value of the partnership and the “win-win” for both agencies and more importantly the importance of creating safer homes for our residents.  She brought the program back to the Department and held a meeting with the ARC rep., the Fire Chief, and at the time Chief of Operations Mark Oakes.  The partnership was developed and the first event was held in the fall of 2015 in the area of East Altamonte known as Winwood.

Lt. Thompson not only envisioned the win-win partnership she has since coordinated all the Department’s activities for the event.  This type of event takes a whole lot of up-front organization, planning and resources to make it happen.  Just a few of the items that need to be coordinated for this event are, securing and developing a partnership with the neighborhood that has the need, maps of the neighborhood, advertising for the event such as variable message boards, reverse 911 call, attending any neighborhood meetings to promote the program, coordinating the canvassing and installation day with the ARC, volunteers, crews and so much more.

The program itself educates the public in the importance of fire prevention, practicing fire drills at home and testing smoke alarms monthly. The key part of the program is to save lives by providing at risk communities with working smoke alarms which are equipped with low maintenance, 10 year lithium-ion batteries, at no cost to the homeowner and/or occupant. To reach that objective, SCFD representatives provide ARC with a local area to be canvassed and together begin raising awareness of the upcoming event. The target neighborhood is initially notified with door hangers distributed by ARC and SCFD volunteers on canvassing day and through social media, homeowner’s associations, message boards and other available communication  Her dedication and coordination of this program has benefitted five (5) Seminole County neighborhoods since the partnership was formed in 2015.  Over 1,252 alarms have been installed in Seminole County since the start of this program.  Thank you Paula for you dedication to Seminole County.