Oakland Park Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Monica Maldonado was honored by the Florida Department of Health with its EMS Educator of the Year.
The award was presented to her in Orlando on Sept. 29, where she was applauded by her fellow fire rescue colleagues.
“It’s been an honor to be able to represent Oakland Park not only with our diversity, but also to help and improve our community,” Maldonado told the Oakland Park City Commission during its Wednesday meeting. “So being able to represent [us] for the state of Florida was amazing and to put OP on the map, it was absolutely a humbling experience.”
The award was given to her and five other Resuscitation Academy team members who were hand selected to travel throughout Florida to teach the “pit crew technique” when conducting CPR on a patient. Not unlike a pit crew at a race track, each person has a specific role; with this technique, resuscitations have increased.
Maldonado and the team trained more than 500 pre-hospital and hospital professionals and more than 100 instructors in this technique. During the awards ceremony in Orlando, it was noticed that “it has been noticed that no other previous award of a team has accomplished so much.”
“I can’t even think of a better person to have recommended for this than Chief Maldonado, and we stand here in support of her and her award,” Fire Rescue Chief Stephen Krivjanik told the commission. “With special folks like this, I am blessed to have them working in my command.”
Maldonado, who has Haitian, Lebanese and Puerto Rican ancestry, became the city’s first female battalion chief in October 2020. According to the nonprofit Women in Fire, that makes her one of just about 150 women in the state who have the rank of district chief, battalion chief, division chief or assistant chief. There are about 6,200 women working in fire rescue in Florida.