Log in
The Gannon Report: Part Three

Show and Tell: Gannon includes 27 photos of the Apopka Fire Department that illustrate a grim story


On January 16th, Gannon Emergency Solutions (GES) delivered its draft report on the state of the Apopka Fire Department to Chief Sean Wylam. A couple of weeks later, it was made public, but only after 145 edit marks were added by the "City and AFD Staff" to the report.

It was a comprehensive 45-page draft that described the AFD in critical terms such as:

  • Neglecting safety or health programs or attention towards safety and health.
  • Lacking a dedicated and experienced safety professional to ensure compliance with basic safety requirements citywide.

  • According to the information provided, a young, inexperienced department with an average staff tenure of three years.

  • An incomplete and overloaded organizational structure.

  • A lack of Strategic Planning.

  • A lack of accountability

In this three-part series, The Apopka Voice analyzes the GES response to the City and AFD. What does it say about this department and the administration? What can the AFD learn from the report?


They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

Yes, in these days of handheld audio, video, and visual proof, it's becoming easier to make your point without saying or writing a word. In the case of Gannon Emergency Solutions' report on the Apopka Fire Department, some of the most damning evidence came in the form of 27 photos on pages 14-26 of the response that they took on-site while performing a city-sponsored critique of the AFD.

Among the issues they illustrated in the photos were:

  • Health and Safety hazards
  • Unsecured or inadequately secured tools and equipment
  • Inadequate and filthy respiratory equipment
  • Outdated inspection stickers
  • Broken EMS equipment
  • Unsecured hose lines
  • Equipment on the exterior of emergency vehicles

Health and Safety Hazards

The first set of photos extends beyond the AFD to other City buildings. In the report, GES asks:

"Should GES have ignored the safety and health hazards we observed that were not directly part of an AFD facility? Why was there a glade air freshener in the emergency eye wash station at the maintenance shop? Why are first aid kits in city buildings not maintained properly? Where are the missing safety glasses that are supposed to be in the safety glasses bin? Why is there no hearing protection such as ear plugs readily available? Why was there no spill kit at the fueling station? If GES conducted a safety review of the rest of the city facilities, we are confident there would be more questions like this."

Securing Tools and Equipment

"GES observed unsecured or inadequately secured tools and equipment in the cabs of vehicles and patient compartments of ambulances."

Respiratory Protection Program

"The program in place is inadequate. We observed filthy respiratory protection equipment in most of the stations, unsealed dirty SCBA masks in the same compartment as haz-mat boots, dirty air-purifying respirator attachments in the brush trucks, and other unsanitary practices. Cleaning supplies, provisions, and equipment for respiratory protection equipment were also lacking or severely inadequate at the stations."

EMS Equipment

GES was not provided with records of those inspections, even after they were asked for. The Fire Staff comment is completely false; those decals are not from the year the equipment was manufactured, as the fire staff commented. The decal specifically indicated “DATE PM COMPLETED”. It was obvious that one of the cots/stretchers GES observed was well beyond its annual preventive maintenance date, putting firefighters and patients at risk.

"Broken EMS equipment was observed in several locations. This is another indicator that EMS has not been properly maintained. It was also unknown if any of the stair chairs were inspected or maintained on a regular basis. These should also be included in the preventive maintenance program."

Anchor Points:

"GES asked for a copy of the 3rd party facility inspection documents several times and was never provided them. The corrosion on the anchor points is concerning and should be evaluated."

Securing Hose Lines and Portable Equipment:

"GES observed numerous unsecured hose lines and equipment on the exterior of emergency vehicles. We have photos to support this. There have been numerous insurance claims and news stories in the US about hoses and items falling off emergency vehicles and causing damage, injuries, and death. It is unacceptable to have unsecured equipment on the exterior (and interior) of emergency vehicles. Although some newer apparatus were purchased with hose securement devices, the current hose loads used by the AFD do not permit those securement devices to secure the hose loads properly.

In conclusion: The Apopka Voice offers an opinion on the Apopka Fire Department and an approach to accepting the Gannon report and moving forward.

Apopka Fire Department, Apopka, Gannon Emergency Solutions, Gannon Report


10 comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here

  • JimNisbet

    Where might one obtain a copy of this report?

    Monday, February 20, 2023 Report this

  • MamaMia

    Mr. Nisbet, You should be able to go get the report as a public record request from the city clerk's office. It is not the final report, it is the draft version of the report. I would suggest calling the city first, as there may be some charges for the report, and offhand, I don't know how many pages in total there are.

    Monday, February 20, 2023 Report this

  • MamaMia

    It does say 45 pages in the draft report, but how much per page, I am unaware.

    Monday, February 20, 2023 Report this

  • MamaMia

    A picture might be worth a thousand words, but looking at those photos, I could not determine anything. I couldn't, I swear. Remember, I'm on a cell phone, not a computer. If there is broken EMS equipment....fix it, or replace it. Dirty equipment ....clean, clean, clean, seriously! I don't know the rules, but really, if a can of Glade air freshener sitting in an eye wash area, is that such a biggie??? I've got multiple Glade air freshener cans sitting around, in my kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom. Should I be concerned based on this report??? I don't know how some of these things got neglected, but these things can be taken care of. They are not unfixable! Sometimes, I think maybe the firefighters are run to death on all of the traffic calls. I hear sirens all day from early morning to late into the night at my house. Sometimes I wonder why we are answering all the county calls, doing their work, and believe me, it is a lot of calls yearly. Yes, Apopka gets paid for it, but the county should take care of their own fire department calls! This is my opinion. Apopka First! In a huge fire, I could see it, or some huge catastrophy, yes, but daily? Why? It looks like to me, the city does not need to hire any more firefighters, until these issues get taken care of immediately. The mayor will be addressing these issues, in the upcoming Gannon report meeting, that was rescheduled. I am going to end my opinions here, or Hottie Toddie will get me.. lol

    Monday, February 20, 2023 Report this

  • MamaMia

    Why do people have a problem with car washes in this city? When we take our vehicle through, we have to wait in lines. Looks like they have a steady business, and are doing great! We take my dogs along and they love it. It is like a Disney theme park ride to them. Yes, a high- end dollar store would be great. I keep waiting for a Dollar Tree Plus, that people seem to really like, but I can't locate one.

    Monday, February 20, 2023 Report this

  • Richard

    A glade air freshener in a eye wash station is a “ biggie “ Mama Mia if you have a hazardous substance in your eyes. Your flippant observations and comments of basic safety concerns are not a funny matter. I stood on 441 and watched as the funeral procession for Austin Duran passed through Apopka to his final resting place. Your comments are disgusting.

    Monday, February 20, 2023 Report this

  • MamaMia

    Richard, Well, if a can of air freshener is just sitting there on the shelf, and is not being sprayed around, while a firefighter is washing his eyes with a hazardous substance in them, I don't get it. I am not saying it is not against the rules. I don't know the fire station rules. If you think that is flippant, or my attempt at humor, you are very wrong. I am very sorry about Austin's death. I am. He had his whole life ahead of him. That said, I am seeing some people using Austin's death, as a political weapon to promote their hidden agendas. It is true, whether you acknowledge it, or not. Those people don't want the safety equipment replaced, updated, and everything top-notch with every possible extensive training.....No, they want constant chaos, no matter what is done to improve things. It is true. Just keep on, keeping on, and those are the people who thinks things are funny, not me. So if my comments are disgusting to you, I read comments daily that disgust me. Too much finger pointing, and not wanting to move forward, to make the fire department better, they want to use Austin's death for their own political agenda.

    Tuesday, February 21, 2023 Report this

  • MamaMia

    These "so-called" report cards for those who work within the City of Apopka, are so stupid, and just plain dumb. Look at the sources though, and that explains it. Oh, like little kiddies back in elementary school. Mommy, I got a D, oh, Mommy, I got an A+, Mommy, someone actually gave me an incomplete??? Yes, sit there, and drink your booze, get wasted, and rate others doing their jobs. AC wants to run the city so much, maybe he will annex and run for mayor. The city limits are closing in on that area, you know, but you sit there encouraging South Apopka to be forcefully annexed, but not your own, but yet you want to run the city.

    Tuesday, February 21, 2023 Report this

  • MamaMia

    Mr. Potato Head sure doesn't deserve any "A"s, unless it stands being an a$$ at the council meetings.

    Tuesday, February 21, 2023 Report this

  • MamaMia

    I want to express my satisfaction with the Apopka Planning Commission, and how those members conduct the meetings. They are courteous to each other, and to the people attending who speak, and they run those meetings right! Apopka Proud! I'm not certain, but I think they don't even get paid! I think some on the Apopka City Council need to learn from those members, because the city council is getting to be a total circus and ridiculous. Constant fighting and belittling.

    Wednesday, February 22, 2023 Report this