LAKEWOOD RANCH — As a firefighter with East Manatee Fire Rescue, safety is always at the forefront of Joe Griffith’s mind.
“I see the acts of things not being safe, things that could have been prevented,” he said.
And now Griffith is taking a more proactive approach to solving the problem.
This month, Griffith, a member of Bayside Community Church, opened his new safety and health training and consulting business on Lakewood Ranch Main Street. The storefront, located near Little Bookworms, provides a meeting space for classes on CPR, blood pathogens, OSHA compliance, lockout/tagout, loss prevention and more.
The company also visits businesses for OSHA audits and to conduct CPR and other training.
“I like teaching, being my own boss and building relationships,” Griffith said. “And I think it’s something I’m good at.”
Griffith, who grew up in Manatee County, joined the U.S. Air Force after graduating from Manatee High School when he was 18 years old.
After taking a military aptitude test, Griffith was enrolled in combat arms training and maintenance program so that he could instruct and repair firearms. His natural proficiency with the weapon even earned him a spot on the base’s SWAT team, where he also served as a sniper.
“They gave us 10,000 rounds in every weapon,” Griffith said. “That was all I did for five years. We went to the range, had class and shot guns.
“I actually wanted to be a fireman,” he said. “That was my first pick.”
After finishing his time with the military in 1994, including time spent serving in the Persian Gulf War, Griffith worked as a manager for a bio-waste operations company before venturing into other types of work.
In 2000, however, he decided to pursue his dream of becoming a firefighter, starting first as a volunteer firefighter at West Manatee Fire Rescue before being hired by the Myakka City Fire Department one-and-one-half years later. But in just a few months, Griffith would take an opportunity to join what is now East Manatee Fire Rescue.
“There’s nothing else I’d rather do,” said Griffith, who officially earned his lieutenant title at a ceremony Feb. 15. “It’s cool. It’s always different. I like helping people.”
Griffith’s idea to start a safety and health training business emerged from his own experiences in the field about two years ago. In his efforts to promote up within the fire department, he was required to take state certified training and other courses. Griffith met and exceeded those requirements and began to see an opportunity to share what he had already learned with others.
“In the fire service, we all have different steps we take to promote up,” Griffith said.
Manatee County alone has 11 different fire districts, and many businesses, such as daycares, need employees certified in CPR.
While operating Griffith Safety and Health from his home last year, Griffith began his new venture, teaching more than 500 people CPR at offices around the area.
The new Lakewood Ranch facility, Griffith said, will provide more opportunities for training, particularly for fire rescue workers, and will allow Griffith to continue visiting workplaces to conduct OSHA audits and conduct in-house training.
Griffith said he hopes to expand his operation to include a second classroom by the end of the year, he said.
Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].
Griffith Safety and Health Training and Consulting
OWNER: Joe Griffith
DETAILS: Griffith Safety & Health is a safety and health consulting and training organization focusing on safety, health, OSHA compliance, CPR/AED/first aid, fire safety, program development and regulatory training.
ADDRESS: 8111 Lakewood Main Street, Suite 102
E-MAIL: [email protected]