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APD welcomes 29 new officers; AFF honors first-responders

The Atlanta Fire Foundation honored valiant men and women at a "Breakfast with our Bravest" earlier this month. The annual event recognizes sacrifices and efforts of local first-responders and fire-rescue initiatives

The Atlanta Police Department (APD) welcomed 29 new officers to the force during a Tuesday evening graduation ceremony at City Hall.

The ceremony concluded 22 weeks of rigorous training at the Atlanta Police Academy, along with field training with veteran officers. The training consisted of classroom courses in constitutional law, local and state laws, APD policy and procedure, hands-on defensive tactics, arrest techniques and daily physical fitness. The class consisted of 26 men and 3 women.

Fourteen new members of the Citizens Police Academy also graduated. The Citizens Police Academy provides a hands-on opportunity to educate the citizens of Atlanta on the operations of the Department while obtaining valuable feedback from citizens to enhance police and community relations.

Graduates completed over 30 hours of instruction taught in three-hour sessions over several weeks. The training included classroom courses in crime scenes, a department overview and a zone ride-a-long.
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This summer, the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department (AFRD) hit a major milestone in achieving the Mayor Kasim Reed administration's goal of full staffing of four firefighters per engine and zero vacant firefighter positions for the first time in more than a decade.

The department also reached a new level of responsiveness on fire emergencies, meeting the accreditation requirements of the Center for Public Safety Excellence for a fully staffed fire apparatus arriving at a location within five minutes 82 percent of the time, up from 65 percent in 2010. This equates to increases in rescues of entrapped victims before irreversible harm occurs and reduction in property loss by reducing fire spread.

Since January 2010, AFRD has opened four new fire stations: Fire Station 11 opened in Atlantic Station; Fire Station 13 opened in East Atlanta; Fire Station 15 opened in Midtown and Fire Station 18 opened in Kirkwood.

Earlier this month, the Atlanta Fire Foundation brought together community leaders, key influencers and committed loved ones to honor the city’s fearless first-responders during the third annual 'Breakfast with Our Bravest' awards ceremony. 

This year’s event was hosted by Fire Chief Kelvin Cohran, recently named Fire Chief of the Year by Fire Chief magazine.

The ceremony doled out dozens of awards, and some of the most notable involved recognizing AFRD personnel who have made great sacrifices. Three significant honors presented were the Medal of Valor, the Award of Merit and the Firefighter of the Year.

The Medal of Valor is awarded for an act of bravery or heroism that clearly places the recipient in a life-threatening situation.

On March 24, Lieutenant Ronald Slatton responded with Engine 16 to a report of a person trapped in a manhole near Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway. On-scene investigators discovered the victim had fallen 40 feet down an embankment and into a silt pit at a construction site. The patient was partially submerged, covered in mud and barely visible.

After learning the arrival of technical-rescue aid was delayed, Lieutenant Slatton became increasingly concerned about the victim’s deteriorating condition and compromised airway. At great personal risk, he was able to reach the semi-conscious patient and prevent him from sinking further into the mud, becoming thoroughly trapped himself in the process. Eventually, both he and the victim were removed when additional resources arrived.

The Award of Merit was presented to two members of the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department for act(s) heroism or bravery involving great personal risk.

On September 23, Sergeant Varlon Anderson responded with Engine 12 to a two-car accident on Ponce de Leon Avenue. On arrival, a driver claimed to have a gun and threatened harm to those on the scene. Sergeant Anderson immediately came to the aid of the other driver, pulling her into the backseat of her car and out of the line of fire, where he stayed with her and administered medical care until the police were able to take the threatening driver into custody

On September 6, Firefighter David Warren responded with Engine 25 to a house fire on Highview Road. Upon receiving information that a person was trapped inside, Warren entered the heavily smoke-charged environment without aid of a hose-line and located the unconscious victim. Through his quick and determined actions, he bravely saved a life.

The Firefighter of the Year Award recognizes that firefighter whose overall work, performance, service, spirit and accomplishment warrant special attention.

For upholding the highest traditions of dedication to service at the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department, the Firefighter of the Year is Sergeant Bobby Stewart. Fully engaged in the department’s mission, Sergeant Stewart’s professionalism and dedication is second to none. In addition to his assignment as a battalion aide, he performs collateral duties on the tactical medic team and the bike team, while also serving as a backup public information officer.

Additionally, he serves as a fire cadet program coordinator and assists in planning and assessment. A dedicated father of two, Sergeant Stewart is also as an assessor on the hiring panel and a live-fire instructor at the fire academy.

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