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Posted on: January 15, 2019

Firefighters Honored at Promotion and Awards Ceremony

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The Panama City Fire Department held a Promotion and Awards Ceremony on January 15, 2019.

Congratulations to Derek Wicker on his promotion from Firefighter to Engineer. Wicker will be responsible for several duties, including getting the crew to the incident safely and ensuring firefighters have access to water needed to fight fires.

Engineer/EMT Eric Ponce, Firefighter Jon Michael LeFurge and Firefighter Oscar Vega received a Life Saving Award and Special Unit Citation. On the day following Hurricane Michael, Squad 1 was on a search and rescue mission when a citizen notified them that another citizen was having chest pain. The squad drove towards the citizen’s address in a pickup truck but had to walk a block and a half to get to the home because of downed trees and power lines. When the firefighters arrived at the home, the patient lost consciousness. The crew immediately carried the patient back over the trees and power lines to the truck. With no direct route to the hospital available because of debris, Firefighter Vega used his knowledge of the city to drive the truck to the hospital while Engineer/EMT Ponce and Firefighter LeFurge performed CPR and used an AED on the patient. The patient regained a pulse and respirations while enroute to the hospital. The quick actions by the crew saved the citizen’s life and we couldn’t be more grateful to have them serve our community.

Chief Alex Baird also presented all members of the Fire Department with a Special Unit Citation for their selfless actions during the landfall of Hurricane Michael and in the rescue and recovery period following the storm. Firefighters responded to emergencies, searched damaged properties and cleared thoroughfares quickly and efficiently, putting the needs of our community before their own.

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