Feature Story and Photos By Larry H. Oskin
David Ezell was sworn in this past week as the new Clermont Fire Chief at a special city hall installation ceremony. Ezell replaces retiring Fire Chief Carle Bishop, after his stellar 49 years serving our community. Chief Bishop received plenty of well-deserved praise, honors, new awards and standing ovations at this ceremony for his dedicated service to our city.
Transformational Energy: Ezell noted, “This really will be my dream job! I have worked hard for years looking for an opportunity like this one here in Clermont. I know that I have been warmly welcomed by all of the departments here in the City of Clermont and that our firefighting team is a tremendous family.” He noted that he is looking forward to this transformational process, to keep and maintain the Clermont Fire Department as one of the best in the country. He believes in creating a seamless integration here through his transformational leadership style.
Positive Growth Plans: While Ezell has no plans for any immediate changes, he knows that Clermont has grown from 5,000 residents to over 40,000. He knows that we must plan ahead and be prepared for the smart growth opportunities that will be needed over the next decade. He plans to implement some new planning tools to help the city determine additional staff, equipment, training, stations, and resources to handle the planned future growth for our Clermont communities.
David Ezell has spent the last 25 years serving with his hometown fire department in Bradenton, Florida. Since 1994, he rose through the ranks being promoted to Charge Emergency Medical Technician in 1997, Lieutenant in 2001, Deputy Fire Chief in 2005 and Assistant Fire Chie in 2011. He helped to guide and reshape the entire fire departments’ computer systems, negotiated union contracts and volunteered as a board member for a national organization that trains leaders in the public safety community. He became a respected peer assessor for accreditations across the country. His career goal has always to become a fire chief. His successful leadership style is one that mentors and empowers others to do their jobs well.
Clermont Fire Department Services: Our local fire team provides an array of services including Fire Suppression, Rescue, Fire Prevention, Fire Inspections, Public Fire Education, ALS — Advanced Life Support Emergency Medical Services, Vehicle and Machinery Rescue & Extrication, Hazardous Material Incident Response, Confined Space Rescue, Technical Rope Rescue, Trench and Excavation Rescue, Structural Building Collapse Response, Water Rescue and Search & Rescue Operations. Their Special Operations Team has been designated by the state as an Urban Search and Rescue Type IV Technical Rescue Team. Our Clermont Fire Department has an active honor guard. We also have an active Fire Explorer program for the youth of the community.
Clermont Fire Department Honors! In 2018, the Clermont Fire Department became Lake County’s first department to earn the International Commission on Fire Accreditation honors from the Center for Public Safety Excellence. This coveted achievement is the gold standard among fire departments around the world. Clermont Fire department is one of only 179 civilian non-DOD departments worldwide that hold this designation. The Clermont Fire Department now has about 90 full-time employees and operates four stations, including one joint station with Lake County. The Clermont Fire Department proudly has a very high ISO Public Protection Class rating. This nationally recognized standard is based on extensive criteria that evaluate a department’s ability to protect people and property. The rating is only achieved by about 2% of the departments evaluated in America.
Ezell noted, “I am thrilled with the warm welcome I have received in Clermont. We see each other as family and not co-workers in the fire department. I know that we do not have jobs here in Clermont; we have a cause!”
The Clermont Fire Administration is located at 439 West Highway 50 in Clermont Station #1 is located at 439 West Highway 50, Station #2 is located at 2200 Hartwood Marsh Road, Station #3 is at 2155 Legends Way and Station #4 is located at 13341 Hartle Road.
EDITORIAL NOTE: Larry Oskin is a writer and photographer for the South Lake Tablet. He is the owner of Marketing Solutions / Art Beautique, offering creative marketing, media relations and professional fine art photography services. He is a Board Member of the Clermont Downtown Partnership, the Florida Lakes Symphony Orchestra and the Clermont Historic Society. For more information, contact Oskin at 703-508-6800 or at LOskin@MktgSols.com.