Orange County Firefighter Union calling for safety improvements after Apopka Firefighter’s death

·1 min read

The Orange County Firefighters Association is pushing to make safety a priority and calling for change after an Apopka firefighter died on the job.

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They’ll address the issues of safety and higher pay at a budget meeting being held by the Apopka City Council Monday evening.

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Union representatives plan to ask city leaders to reconfigure their budget to include funding for a dedicated Health and and Safety Officer.

The department currently has a Health and Safety Officer, but that person also has several other roles and the union worries they may be stretched too thin.

According to the union, more than half the firefighters in the department have five years experience or less on the job. 75-percent of the Special Operations team has even less, and most haven’t been in the role before this.

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Union President Alex Keppler hopes that adding a dedicated Health and Safety Officer, as well as a training officer, will prevent something like what happened to Austin Duran from ever happening again.

“We owe him change,” Keppler said. “We owe him to make sure there’s not another one, and we’ll do whatever it takes.”

Apopka City Council officials have declined to comment on the union’s requests, saying they want to hear directly from the firefighters themselves first.

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The budget meeting began at 5 p.m. Click here to watch live.

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