TAVARES —Lake County Fire Rescue is proud to name three firefighters as the 2019 Fire Officers of the Year. Lt. Jason Rivera, Lt. Bobby Ford and Lt. Jeff Sacco were recognized by Eustis Elks Lodge 1578 at their annual First Responders Banquet for their community outreach and education with LCFR’s new Venom 2 Unit.
This year’s honorees were chosen by their peers for going above and beyond the call of duty. As members of the Venom Response Program, each lieutenant responds to hospitals to deliver lifesaving anti-venom when someone is bitten by a venomous snake. Since its inception in July of 2018, Venom 2 has responded to nearly a dozen snake bites, providing treatment for victims with the appropriate anti-venom. The team has traveled to Tampa, Gainesville, and various hospitals throughout the state to assist with the administration of anti-venom, in addition to identifying and removing nuisance reptiles.
“When the team receives a phone call from a concerned citizen about a snake, they will first calm the caller down and then immediately try to identify the type of snake, which is often determined by a picture from the caller,” said Fire Chief Jim Dickerson. “Providing this unique public service has elevated Lake County Fire Rescue’s service delivery model.”
Venom 2 also actively provides education to hospitals, schools and the public on proper identification and knowledge of snakes and reptiles.
Lt. Jason Rivera, Lt. Bobby Ford and Lt. Jeff Stacco will also be honored at the 5th Annual Awards and Recognition Ceremony at Lake-Sumter State College in March.
“Lake County Fire Rescue is incredibly proud of these Lieutenants and the work they’re doing throughout Lake County and beyond,” said Chief Dickerson.
The career firefighters of Lake County Fire Rescue protect county residents and visitors in an area covering approximately 1,200 square miles, with nearly 70,000 residences and up to 2,000 commercial properties. For up-to-date news on Lake County Fire Rescue, visit, www.facebook.com/LakeCountyFireRescue, or www.twitter.com/lakefirePIO.