The annual observance of the Fallen Firefighters' Memorial will occur on Tuesday, 5 October, beginning at 10:30 AM at the official memorial site located at Fire Station # 1, 611 Liberty Street.
Saturday, October 9, is 'Public Safety Awareness Day' in the westside parking lot of Regency Square Mall, the culmination of the Jacksonville Fire/Rescue Department's observance of this year's annual National Fire Protection Week. Saturday's 10 AM until 4 PM event is free to the public and will feature a variety of public safety activities and displays. Fire safety educational materials along with literature covering health and other safety topics will be made available, and kids can even expect to meet Smokey Bear! A multitude of fire and rescue apparatus, including engines and ladder trucks, along with vehicles from the Department of Forestry and many other resources from other public safety agencies, will also be prominently on display.
On Friday, October 15th, the Department was confronted by a possible emergency scenario that has become, oddly enough, quite commonplace in recent months: the response to a 'suspicious envelope/package.' This time, the run began as an investigation following the JSO report of a suspicious envelope in the mailroom of the Chase Building located at 8880 Freedom Crossing Trail. Building occupants were already milling about in the building's parking lot following an evacuation initiated by the building's security manager when the crews from Station 44 first arrived on scene. The emergency responders promptly learned from the mail handler that he had 'felt' some sort of 'substance' when handling the envelope, an envelope addressed to a federal judge's office located on the fourth floor and containing no return address. The mailroom employee further noted that he had placed the envelope in a five gallon bucket with a sealable lid, an activity preceding the evacuation of the building and 9-1-1 call for assistance. Following all applicable protocol objectives, units from multiple agencies were notified with designated components actively responding and arriving on scene. With entry teams from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and JFRD assembled, the JSO Bomb Technician went into action and quickly cleared the envelope of any radioactive or explosive hazards. This action subsequently resulted in the combined approach of both JSO and JFRD to conduct further tests to determine whether the item posed any chemical or biological threat. It was during this phase that the specialized teams discovered the true content of the envelope in question: a 'thank you' card accompanied by confetti. With the threat assessment now officially 'less than low,' the incident was wrapped up with the decision that the envelope did not require any further testing through the State's lab system.