Southern Manatee Volunteer Firefighter's Association
14th Annual Golf Tournament

Come and join us for our 14th annual SMVFA golf tournament at the beautiful University Park Golf and Country Club.  There will be prizes, raffle items and plenty of food and drinks!  This tournament fills up very fast so register your team soon!  To register a team, sponosor a hole or for more general information, please click here.





Southern Manatee Fire Rescue District has enhanced their response capabilities for Hazardous Materials Incidents. Back in February 2015, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Department donated their Bomb Squad vehicle to the Southern Manatee Fire Rescue District.


This vehicle is a 1994 Freightliner that was specially designed for the Sheriff’s Department. After receiving this response vehicle, the Districts Hazardous Materials Team spent countless hours in removing the Sheriff’s Department decals, re-arranging inside and outside shelves, installing radio’s, replacing blue emergency lights with red lights, and buffing the exterior to make it ready for a new decal design and a lot of other work to make this apparatus operational for hazardous materials responses.


The vast majority of this work was conducted in-house by Battalion Chief Chris Gould, Lieutenant Sean Conner, Firefighter/EMT Brandon Ellis, Firefighter/EMT Mike Geiser, Firefighter/EMT Derek Foss, Firefighter/EMT Brian Godden, Firefighter/EMT Dave Sedgley, Firefighter/Paramedic Mike White, Firefighter/EMT Chris Burghdurf, Firefighter/EMT Sam Collins, Firefighter/EMT Jarek Dehart, Battalion Chief Herb Smith, Lieutenant Dan Anderson, Firefighter/EMT Mike Bloski, Firefighter/EMT Ed Tumolo, Firefighter/EMT Jason Weissman, Firefighter/EMT Tim Keusch, Firefighter/EMT Robert Davis, Firefighter/EMT Pete Saxman, Battalion Chief Rick Blanco, Firefighter/EMT Duane Ely, Firefighter/EMT Justin Sperko, Firefighter/Paramedic Kyle Eldridge, Firefighter/EMT Jordan Velazquez, Firefighter/EMT Dwayne McKeaver, Lieutenant Chad D’Agostino, Firefighter/EMT Steve Gibson, Lieutenant Robert Thayer, Firefighter/EMT Travis Dowell and Firefighter/EMT Rich Gatanis (Graphics), many are State of Florida Certified Hazardous Materials Technicians. The Fire Commissioners and the Administration of Southern Manatee Fire Rescue District truly appreciates the dedication of these employee’s and extends our “Thank you” for a job well done. Their work has saved the District money that can now be used for equipment for our Team.


Our Hazardous Materials Response vehicle will be able to handle all types of hazardous material incidents dealing with liquid, gas and solid chemical leaks and fires including bio-hazardous decontamination.


Southern Manatee Fire Rescue District operates a Hazardous Material Team that consists of 30 Firefighters that are 160 hour State of Florida Certified Hazardous Materials Technicians. The Districts goal is to be able to staff this response vehicle 24/7 by the end of 2016.


Beginning on March 17, 2014, Robert Bounds and Debbie Tuckerman began the journey on obtaining their Certified District Manager (CDM) recognition. This program is offered through the Florida Association of Special Districts (FASD) in conjunction with the Ruben J. Askew School of Business at Florida State University (FSU). Robert and Debbie initially attended a week long class at FSU followed by a required multi-facetted project that took several months to complete. This year at the annual FASD conference in June Robert and Debbie, along with several others from around the state, were presented with their official diplomas recognizing them as Certified District Managers.




On April 8th, at the Southern Manatee Fire Rescue District Commission meeting, five new Firefighters were sworn in. These new Firefighters/EMT are scheduled to begin an orientation class starting on April 13. All new employees will complete a 40 hour orientation course prior to starting shift work. Congratulations to
Firefighter/EMT Justin Markey, Firefighter/EMT Michael Murphy, Firefighter/EMT Jordan Velazquez, Firefighter/EMT Chris Burghdurf, and Firefighter/EMT Travis Dowell.


 Additionally at the Southern Manatee Fire Rescue District Commission meeting Captain Robert Bounds was promoted to the rank of Deputy Chief and he will assume the duties and responsibilities of Administration and Finance.

Southern Manatee Adds New Engines And A New Look


The District recently took delivery of two new Pierce Impel Fire Engines. These new Engines have Class A foam delivery systems and dedicated EMS compartments for medical equipment that will allow this equipment to be on constant charge. Engine 312 is assigned to Station 1 and Engine 321 is assigned to Station 2.

Even Firefighters Have Heroes


Southern Manateee Fire Rescue is mourning the death of our beloved Reverend Richard E. Kirby who passed away at his home in Samoset, FL.  He was 86 years old. 

 He was the current Chaplin of both the East Manatee and Southern Manatee Fire Rescue District’s in Bradenton, FL. 

 He began his volunteer fire service career with the Samoset Fire Department as a Fire Commissioner and Chaplin in 1982 before becoming the Chaplin at East Manatee in 1987 and Southern Manatee in 1990.  He was the Pastor of the Open Bible Tabernacle in Samoset until his retirement in 2008.  Rev. Kirby was nothing short of a Monday morning tradition at Southern Manatee.  We would check off the trucks, eat breakfast, then hang out with the Reverend.  There wasn't much that kept him from seeing "His guys" each and every week.  Nothing dampened his spirits.  He was always making sure that we were doing well, both emotionally and spiritually, while on duty and in our personal lives.  His warm smile and clever jokes will truly be missed at Southern Manatee.

Memorial services for Reverend Richard Kirby will be held this Saturday, March 7th at Woodland Community Church, 9607 SR70 East.  Visitation/Fellowship will begin at 10am followed by the service at 11am.
Food will be served at Elwood Park Baptist Church, 3516 45th St. E. at 12:30.





September 11, 2001

On Thursday, September 11th, 2014, please join us in remembrance of those who lost their lives and those brave men and women who unselfishly gave their lives that others may live.
We will never forget you.

From The Bottom Of Our Hearts, Thank You!

I want to thank everyone who helped us attack the GMA polls yesterday because that is what it was, and all out blitzkrieg of their polls!  We had an amazing 33,000+ votes yesterday!  To put that into perspective, the other FD videos that went head to head on Wednesday and Thursday, their vote totals combined didn't equal what the friend's, families and fans of Southern Manatee Fire rescue were able to muster up!  What an amazing show of loyalty from all of you!  You guys pressed hard all the way to the end.  Yes, we fell a few votes short in the end but the loss pales in comparison to the extraordinary outpouring of support that we witnessed for the men and women of our fire department.  This past week has been a ride that we will not soon forget!  We are truly blessed and honored to serve such a wonderful community.  We have had so much support from our local media such as ABC Action News 11 Tampa, ABC 7 Sarasota, Bay News 9, and the Bradenton Herald that I felt we needed to give them a special shout out.  You guys truly made us feel special.  Thanks again and please share this post with all of the wonderful folks that took time out of their day yesterday to help put Southern Manatee Fire Rescue, and Manatee County, on America’s map!

SMFR to Host 13th Annual SMVFA Golf Tournament


Southern Manatee is pleased to announce our 13th annual golf tournament to benefit our Volunteer Firefighters Association which will be held on October 24th.  Since it's inception, University Park Country Club has opened its beautiful golf course to us in an effort to help raise funds for our volunteers.  Over the years, they have been instrumental in helping us raise thousands of dollars which goes towards purchasing new equipment and training for our firefighters.  There will be many prizes, raffles and silent auctions to take part in as well as a buffet dinner afterwards.  This tournament typically fills up fast so get your team registered today!  Click here for registration information.


Southern Manatee Expands It's SAFE-KIDS Car Seat Program


Recently Southern Manatee Fire Department expanded on its current car seat program by certifying 7 more personal as car seat technicians. To date the department has performed an estimated 50 car seat installations and safety checks. SMFR now has certified technicians representing all three shifts. The certification training also included 5 personnel from Cedar Hammok Fire rescue. As of now These two departments are the only fire districts in Manatee County to provide this service to the citizens of our community. Southern Manatee car seat techs assist SAFE-KIDS WORLDWIDE with performing safety checks throughout the county and in neighboring counties as well. If you would like more information on how to have your child seat checked or installed, please click here.


Local Firefighters Take Home Some Hardware in Annual Florida Firefighter Games


During this year’s annual Florida Firefighter Games, which was held in West Palm Beach, a team made up of local firefighters from Tampa, Hillsborough, Manatee, and Pinellas County (including SMFR's own FF. Dustin Daughtrey) competed in a hockey tournament amongst other fire departments.  The Tampa Bay Firefighters Hockey team consists of 2 teams, a competitive and a recreational team.   The team, which has been playing together for some time now, was able to bring home the bronze medal in this year’s Firefighter Games.  The Tampa Bay Firefighter hockey team competes in about 3-4 Firefighter or First Responder charity events throughout the year, including the Battle of the Badges which is held at the beginning of the NHL season with the Tampa Bay Lightning and alumni! Their largest tournament is held during the month of January in Orlando which can bring in as many as 30 teams from all over the country, including Canada, with as many as 6 divisions varying in all skill levels.  Congratulations to the guys for bringing home some hardware!

University Park Residents Conduct Annual C.E.R.T. Training With
SMFR Firefighters

For the past 8 years, the University Park Country Club in south eastern Manatee County has been building their own C.E.R.T. (Community Emergency Response Team) to help with large scale emergencies such as hurricanes.  Since it's inception nearly eight years ago Lt. Wayne Lambert, of Southern Manatee Fire Rescue, has been at the fore front of this endeavor to help train U.P.C.C.'s citizens in emergency response techniques such as patient triage, packaging
and transport.  With the help of his fellow firefighters, he has been successful in helping University Park "C.E.R.T" volunteers train for the next large scale emergency.  With nearly 30 volunteers, UPCC has helped themselves become proactive in the ever important world of community involvement.

HAZMAT Training Brings Out SMFR's Next Generation Of Firefighters


During SMFR's recent in house HAZMAT training class, Cooper Duquette (son of firefighter Keil Duquette) took some time out to enjoy a photo opp with his dad while his father performed some real time Hazardous Material training scenarios. 

SMFR Battalion Chief Receives Manatee County Fire Officer Of The Year Award

This past year Chris Gould, Battalion Chief with the Southern Manatee Fire Rescue District and a member of the Manatee County Hazardous Materials Team has demonstrated outstanding dedication, leadership and commitment to the Manatee County Hazardous Materials Team. Chris is one of the Team Leaders and Chris during this past year ensured that all of the Hazardous Materials assets were inventoried, quarterly checked, tested and repaired or replaced as required. Chris traveled throughout the County to where these trailers were located and brought them back to Southern Manatee Fire Station #3 where he performed this work. He ensured that Fire Dispatch and the Fire District housing this equipment were aware that he had them. Upon completion he returned them. Additionally Chris attended all required training and worked with the other Team Leaders to produce a list for the Fire Chief’s that contained Team Members names, contact info, and training completion. This past year as well as previous years, Chris along with a few other Team Members have been the bandaid or glue keeping the Team alive. Chris puts in countless hours for this Team and attends numerous training sessions above and beyond of what is required without any compensation.                        -SMFR Chief Brian Gorski-

SMFR Firefighters Compete In The 2014 Fight For Air Stair Climb

On Saturday March, 22, Southern Manatee Fire Rescue participated in the American Lung Associations Fight for Air Stair Climb at the Bank of America building in Tampa. The 2014 SMFR team helped to raise money for the cause and climbed the 42 story building in full firefighter gear. This was the fifth year in a row that Southern Manatee firefighters competed in this friendly competition between local fire departments. There were 8 fire department teams and 76 firefighters in this year’s race. SMFR’s Chuck Moonen took 3rd place for the second year in a row. The team plans to continue their support of the American Lung Associations fund raising event and hopes to raise more money next year.