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Longboat Key Fire Rescue holds first post-pandemic open house

Residents spent the afternoon learning about the department and watching medical response demonstrations.

Firefighter Paramedic Tirso Guerrero shows guests the new Hurst Jaws of Life.
Firefighter Paramedic Tirso Guerrero shows guests the new Hurst Jaws of Life.
Photo by Carter Weinhofer
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Hot dogs, free T-shirts and medical demonstrations: a unique way to spend Valentine’s Day.  

On Feb. 14, some Longboat Key residents spent the afternoon at Longboat Key Fire Rescue Station 91, where the department opened its doors for the first open house since before the pandemic. 

Fire Rescue Fire Administration Manager and PIO Tina Adams said that it used to be an annual event for the department, but it fell off due to the pandemic. Now, she said they’re trying to revive the annual tradition, along with continuing to participate in town hall’s open house. 

At the entrance of the department, Adams and Logistics Officer Tara Pavgouzas greeted people with goodie bags packed with resident safety information and a T-shirt. Guests were able to walk through the front office and learn about the various programs the department has to offer, like free CPR classes.

Piper Dawson shows off her new firefighter helmet.
Photo by Carter Weinhofer

Guests were also given a tour of the fire station. 

Around noon, Lieutenant Daniel Heath gathered people to watch the crew’s demonstrations. 

The demonstrations drew a crowd of about a dozen, including Town Manager Howard Tipton. 

First was a “patient” who called the department for chest pains, and ultimately fell unconscious when paramedics arrived on scene. The patient was in cardiac arrest. 

The crew went to work quickly, demonstrating the urgency they would respond with in a real-life scenario. Firefighter Paramedic William Lewis began chest compressions while others started an IV and defibrillator. 

Firefighter Paramedic William Lewis performs chest compressions during a CPR demonstration.
Photo by Carter Weinhofer

After a couple minutes of work while Heath narrated the demonstration, the patient was revived on scene to be transported to the hospital. 

The firefighter paramedics immediately went into their next demonstration: an injured roofer who fell and suffered a compound leg fracture. 

In this scenario, it was important to carefully get the patient on the stretcher, by rolling him on his uninjured side and putting the board underneath him. 

Also important was making sure the hospital staff knew that a tourniquet was applied. The tourniquet stops blood flow to the area and is used in extreme situations. One of the crew members would have to write on the patient's forehead with a time to indicate when the tourniquet was applied. 

After the demonstrations, families checked out the fire trucks, and the crew showed off some new equipment, like the Hurst Jaws of Life that were recently purchased with a Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation grant.



Carter Weinhofer

Carter Weinhofer is the Longboat Key news reporter for the Observer. Originally from a small town in Pennsylvania, he moved to St. Petersburg to attend Eckerd College until graduating in 2023. During his entire undergraduate career, he worked at the student newspaper, The Current, holding positions from science reporter to editor-in-chief.

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