From Staff

The First Coast Navy Fire & Emergency Services (F&ES), which is comprised of the NAS Jacksonville and NS Mayport Fire Departments, has been selected as Commander, Navy Region Southeast (CNRSE) Fire Department of the Year (Large Category) for the third time in the past four years. 

On Feb. 5, Jim LaConte, program director of CNRSE F&ES announced the 2013 Navy F&ES award winners - recognized for outstanding performance by F&ES teams and individuals. 

NAS Jacksonville and NS Mayport Fire Chief Mark Brusoe remarked, "This award is largely due to the outstanding performance of our 104 firefighters, paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs)."

He noted, "In 2013, we augmented the NSB Kings Bay Fire Department as they manned up for advanced submarine emergency response - saving the Navy almost $1 million in personnel costs. We also supported major music concerts and other events at NS Mayport, in addition to training for shipboard emergencies. We provide service not only to the two naval bases, but also to the Pinecastle Range Complex, and Outlying Landing Field Whitehouse." 

The department also converted its ambulance service to advanced life support (ALS) transport; maintained memorandums of understanding with local counties to provide mutual aid response; hosted specialized hazardous materials and technical rescue teams at training events; provided CPR/automated external defibrillator (AED) training for base security and Navy Exchange personnel; and assisted home ported ships at NS Mayport with annual fire hose testing.

First Coast Navy F&ES Firefighter/EMT Justin Uhrmacher said, "Our leadership is dedicated to training. We expect a lot from each other and perform as expected. There's a lot of fire and rescue expertise here - and we demonstrated that in 2013 with a number of successful ALS runs, confined-space and high-angle rescues.

Elizabeth Lynch is a First Coast Navy F&ES firefighter/EMT who said the CNRSE Fire Department of the Year award was indicative of the goal-oriented leadership at NAS Jax and NS Mayport.

"Our paramedics are all certified for ALS, which allows us to transport victims to hospitals off base when needed."

First Coast Navy F&ES Firefighter Joey Fields said, "This department is always moving up when it comes to building proficiency and teamwork. As we build our careers, we also train up to expand our capabilities."

Brusoe added, "We also have a superb fire prevention program at NAS Jax and NS Mayport. They do an outstanding job educating the public on fire safety through lectures and demonstrations. They are also responsible for inspecting every building on base for fire hazards." 

Firefighters at both bases also spend many hours training to increase their proficiencies in emergency situations. Some of this certified training includes advanced life support, hazardous materials, rappelling, damage control and evacuation on board ships, and exercising with the mobile aircraft live fire trainer.

The core competencies of First Coast Navy F&ES are:

⢠Emergency Medical Services Response

⢠Fire Protection and Hazardous Materials

⢠Fire Prevention

⢠Aircraft Crash and Rescue

First Coast Navy F&ES will represent CNRSE in the upcoming Commander, Navy Installations Command F&ES competition. 

Each region may submit nominations in 11 categories: Large, Medium and Small Fire Department of the Year; Fire Prevention Program of the Year; Fire Service Instructor of the Year; Heroism Award; Military and Civilian Firefighter; and Military and Civilian Fire Officer of the Year.

The winners in those categories are the Navy nominees for the corresponding DoD F&ES Awards. The EMS Provider of the Year and Navy Fire Chief of the Year are Navy only awards.