Address: 5314 23rd Ave. S., Gulfport, Florida 33707
Fire Chief Rene Fernandez
Rene Fernandez is currently the Fire Chief for the City of Gulfport Fire Rescue along with being the EMS coordinator for the department. Fire Chief Fernandez began his career with Gulfport Fire Rescue in 2006 as a Firefighter/Paramedic, was promoted to Lieutenant Paramedic in October of 2017, and was then promoted to the position of Fire Captain Paramedic on October 21st of 2019. Fire Chief Fernandez officially assumed the role of Fire Chief on January 10th of 2023. Fire Chief Fernandez has also been a resident of the City of Gulfport since 2007.
Fire Chief Fernandez has worked in many different roles with the Department including Driver Operator, Lieutenant Paramedic, Captain Paramedic and has overseen the medical operations of the Department since the time of being promoted to Lieutenant Paramedic. Fire Chief Fernandez has extensive education in the medical field including a current certification as a Paramedic, Registered Nurse, ACLS, PHTLS, EPC, and CPR instructor with the American Heart Association. He has also obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Science and an Associate’s Degree in Arts. Fire Chief Fernandez also has extensive training on the fire service side of things including certifications as a Pump Operator, Fire Instructor III, Fire Inspector, Fire Officer I, and Fire Officer II.
Rescue 17 Placed in Service
The Gulfport Fire Department is excited to announce that on April 6, 2020 Rescue 17 was placed into service. The new vehicle is highly maneuverable in traffic and more adaptable on emergency scenes. This vehicle will be used for hurricane evacuations, along with transporting cardiac arrest patients, trauma alerts patients and critical patients when the counties Sunstar Ambulance has a delayed arrival on scene. The new vehicle roll-out, which will be the newest addition to the life and safety operating fleet will bring with it significant cost savings, faster response times, and added flexibility at emergency scenes, all to better serve the City of Gulfport.
“Our department welcomes this critical piece of equipment that will improve the call volume for the safety of our residents,” said Fire Chief James Marenkovic. The department currently has two traditional non-transport engine vehicles. Gulfport Fire and Rescue welcomes the newest addition to the life and safety operating fleet, Rescue 17.
What is a push in ceremony? A traditional ceremony for the placing of new apparatus in service. There are several versions of this but it usually includes: pushing the old apparatus out, wetting down the new vehicle and pushing it back into the station. It may also include the moving of the bell to the new apparatus, photos, etc.
Fire Department ISO Rating
In 2021, Gulfport Fire & Rescue was awarded an ISO rating of 2. ISO (Insurance Services Office, Inc.) is the leading supplier of statistical, actuarial, and underwriting information for and about the property/casualty insurance industry. The ISO fire insurance ratings for a community are the foundation on which most insurers build their coverage programs. After looking at many factors, ISO assigns a Public Protection Classification from 1 to 10. Class 1 generally represents superior property fire protection, and class 10 indicates that the area’s fire-suppression program doesn’t meet ISO’s minimum criteria. A low ISO fire rating equates to lower insurance premiums citywide. For a one station department, Gulfport’s classification as a 2 is impressive as less than 3% of departments nationwide have classifications on 2 or less.
Essential elements a fire department must have to receive a Class 2 rating:
- Must have pumper capacity to suppress a fire in any building in the community
- Must have a 24 hour central dispatch for contacting firefighters
- Must have fully equipped reserve apparatus
- Annual tests must be conducted on pumper trucks, hoses, and hydrants
- A minimum number of firefighters must be present at emergency scenes
- Firefighter training must greatly exceed minimum standards
- The department and community must have a definitive, reliable, and pressurized water supply
- Must perform annual fire code building inspections
Fire Department Officers
Deputy Chief James Lundh
James Lundh is currently the Deputy Chief for the City of Gulfport Fire Rescue along with being the Fire Marshal. Deputy Chief Lundh offers a history of successful leadership in the fire service. His strong business acumen, system acuity and leadership talents are one of his many strong points. Deputy Chief Lundh is also very enthusiastic at work creating operational ideas and strategies. Deputy Chief Lundh started as a Part Time Fire Inspector for the City of Gulfport in 2014 and was promoted to the position of Fire Captain EMT on October 21st of 2019. Deputy Chief Lundh officially assumed the position of Deputy Chief on January 24th of 2023. Deputy Chief Lundh has previous experience with neighboring departments, including a 20 year career with the City of Seminole, where he retired as a Fire Lieutenant. Deputy Chief Lundh was originally born in Miami Florida and moved to the area at a young age. He is a graduate of Boca Ciega High School and holds a Degree in Mechanical Engineering. Additional certifications include State Hazmat Tech, Fire Officer, Fire Investigator, Fire Instructor, Public information Officer, Crime Scene Technician, Pump Operator, Fire Inspector, Plans review, Emergency Medical Tech and many NFPA/NFA classes.
Lieutenant Erick Fuchs
Lieutenant Erick Fuchs is currently assigned as the C- Shift Lieutenant and the Departments Logistics Officer. Lt. Fuchs began his career with the City of Gulfport in 1999 as a Volunteer Firefighter/EMT. He was hired full time in February 2002 and promoted to Lieutenant in March 2010. Lt. Fuchs is a certified EMT and serves as the Department’s Logistics Officer is in charge of overseeing the Station Supplies and Facility Maintenance. He also holds certificates as a Pump Operator, Fire Instructor 1, Fire Officer 1 and CPR Instructor with the American Heart Association, and an EMT Preceptor for St. Petersburg College.
Lieutenant Gerard Grady
Lieutenant Gerard Grady is currently assigned as the B-Shift Lieutenant of Engine 17. Lt. Grady began his career with Gulfport Fire Rescue in 2003 as a Firefighter/Paramedic. He is a state certified fire officer and was promoted to Lieutenant in February 2016. Lt. Grady is a certified Firefighter/Paramedic, and retains his EMT certification as well. He is also a paramedic and EMT preceptor for with St. Petersburg College EMS program. Lt. Grady also works a critical care flight paramedic for Express Air Medical on his days off. Lt. Grady career as paramedic began in 2002 with Manatee County EMS. Lt. Grady received fire training in 2003, then soon after was hired by Gulfport Fire Rescue.
Lieutenant Timothy Burton
Lieutenant Timothy Burton is currently assigned as the A-shift Lieutenant for the City of Gulfport Fire Department. Lt. Burton began his career as a Paramedic for Sunstar in 2008, where he simultaneously completed the Fire Academy at Hillsborough Community College. In 2010, Lt. Burton accepted a position with Gulfport Fire Rescue as a Firefighter/Paramedic and was promoted to Lieutenant in January 2020. Lt. Burton holds certifications as Pump Operator, Fire Instructor I and Fire Officer I, and is also ACLS and PHTLS certified. Lt. Burton currently oversees EMS inventory and is on track to earn an Associate’s of Arts degree from St. Petersburg College in May 2020.
Currently, Gulfport Fire Rescue runs an Advanced Life Support (ALS) Engine, an ALS Rescue, an ALS Special Rescue for special events, as well as a Basic Life Support (BLS) Marine unit. The fire Chief of the of the department is responsible for the overall operation of the department, which includes a Deputy Chief, two Captains, three Lieutenants and a combination of thirteen FF/Paramedics or FF/EMT’s. Gulfport Fire Rescue has three shifts (A, B, C) that maintain at least five personnel on duty at all times, with one being a Lieutenant and at minimum two Paramedics. Each shift works a 24 hour on duty schedule, followed by 48 hours off. The job duty of the Deputy Chief is to oversee the department operations under the direction of the Fire Chief, as well as enforcing fire safety in the City of Gulfport.
Gulfport Fire Rescue operates out of a single fire station and is responsible for the protection of 12,500 residents living within the Cities 3 square miles. Additionally, the department participates in a County-wide Automatic Aid agreement in which we frequently respond to fire and medical calls throughout out Pinellas County and assist neighboring departments. The fire station houses the living quarters and the administrative area. Originally occupied in 1976, it was renovated and modernized during 2003 with the living quarters expanded and separated from the administrative area.
Gulfport Fire rescue provides: Advanced Life Support Emergency Medical Services, marine rescue, fire suppression, fire inspections based on the NFPA Life Safety Code, public education on Fire safety, hurricane preparedness, CPR training and Free Smoke Detectors for Gulfport Residents.
Gulfport CERT Team
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. CERT members will also be trained in CPR/AED and basic first aid. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community. Gulfport CERT meetings are held every third Monday of the month at 7 p.m. CERT meeting locations will vary due to the type of scheduled training for the month. For more information, please contact (727) 893-1022 or (727) 893-1062.