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Florida's 2018 Fire Chief Of The Year Comes From Davie

Davie Fire Rescue
Courtesy of Chief Julie Downey
Davie Fire Chief Julie Downey at the July ceremony where she was named Florida's Fire Chief of the Year.

Davie's fire chief, Julie Downey, has been named Florida's best by the Florida Fire Chiefs' Association. 

She was given the 2018 state fire chief of the year award earlier this week at a ceremony in Ponte Vedra.

The recognition comes after Downey expanded a national campaign called Stop The Bleed, which teaches civilians how to control severe bleeding in emergencies and how to help before emergency responders make it to a scene.

"Who's on scene first ... are the regular bystanders - the true first responders,” Downey said. “So they need to be taught how to act in an emergency."

Stop the Bleed was started by Davie Fire Rescue in 2014, and has expanded to businesses, and other fire rescue departments ever since. Downey said she plans to continue to expand Stop the Bleed over the course of the next year, by incorporating it into her department's CPR training. 

Read More: Meet Fort Lauderdale's Next Fire Chief: Rhoda Mae Kerr 

Davie’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) was also recently named the state’s top EMS provider of the year by the Florida Department of Health, in part for the resuscitation training academy that the department hosted over the past year.  

Assistant Fire Chief Jorge Gonzalez, who oversees EMS and training services, said he keeps his department focuses on trying to increase survival rates for cardiac arrest patients. 

“I think just maintaining what we’re doing, continuing and increasing the training and the Stop the Bleed in our CPR programs to the community,” he said.

The Florida Fire Chief’s Association recognizes the state’s best fire rescue departments each year based on leadership qualities and innovation in program initiatives. 

Caitie Muñoz, formerly Switalski, produces WLRN's midday public affairs program, Sundial weekdays at 1 and 8 p.m. Prior to transitioning to production, Caitie covered news and stories concerning quality of life in Broward County and its municipalities for WLRN News for four years.