Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Chief Named Southeast Region Fire Chief of the Year
Fire Chief Frank Babinec was named Fire Chief of the Year for 2018 by the Southeast Association of Fire Chiefs (SEAFC) during their 90th Annual Leadership Conference held in Montgomery, Alabama on June 28, 2018.
Chief Babinec, who serves as the Fire Chief for the Cities of Coral Springs and Parkland, is a 25-year veteran of the fire service. While his extensive career history is commendable, it is his leadership, integrity and commitment to safety, health and well-being of the men and women of the fire service that sets him apart from others in his field. Chief Babinec is known to lead by example, something that earned him such distinguished recognition.
Most notably, in 2015 under Chief Babinec’s leadership, the Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Department set out to establish a safety and health committee to address overall safety, including cancer prevention, physical fitness and mental health of fire rescue personnel. This important health and wellness initiative led to the department working with others in the fire service to establish the Florida Firefighters Safety and Health Collaborative (FFSHC). The state-wide collaborative that the department is still an active member of, is led by fact-based research, that has assisted in enhancing health and wellness programs provided to members of the fire service throughout Florida - and is spreading to other areas of the country. Recommended changes include on-scene decontamination, a secondary set of personal protective equipment (PPE), moving ice machines to safer locations to keep areas free of exhaust fumes, and ensuring protective gear is stored in a separate area from apparatus exhaust. With the purchase of new fire rescue apparatus, Chief Babinec, upon the recommendation of the Apparatus Committee, implemented the clean cab concept to the Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Department. This concept is something major manufacturers of fire apparatus are starting to implement for other agencies improving the health and wellness of those in the fire service nationwide.
Mental health is equally important to Chief Babinec. In 2016 the FFSHC began a process to screen and train licensed mental health clinicians in the field of emergency services. The goal was to assist clinicians to better understand what first responders experience in the field. This benefits fire service members tremendously and proved to be of great importance after the events at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018. Of health and wellness protocols, Chief Babinec believes it is important to not wait for an incident, but rather implement policies and protocols ahead of time - ensuring the well-being of employees should be a priority.
Of the recognition, Coral Springs City Manager Mike Goodrum remarked, “I have such tremendous respect for those who are committed to serving our community so selflessly. Chief Babinec inspires others to train harder, find solutions and most importantly, care for others. We are so fortunate to have him serving as the Fire Chief.”
In addition to health and wellness initiatives, safety in the field continues to be one of Chief Babinec’s greatest priorities. From training to equipment, he has worked on numerous committees for the research and development of frontline apparatus.
Chief Babinec serves as the President of the Fire Chief’s Association of Broward County, as well as the Safety & Health Committee Chairman for the Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association.
The SEAFC region represents Fire Chiefs from the states of: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Mississippi, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands.
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