Local Firefighter Named EMT of the Year After Heroic Actions
by TERESA SCHIFFER
Superheroes don’t get days off! In August of 2017, Haines City firefighter Brenn Hines had an experience that his training had prepared him for. While visiting Ana Maria Island with his girlfriend and soaking in the sun and the sea, Hines heard a voice crying, “Help! Help!” At first, he thought it was just kids horsing around. It didn’t take long for him to realize it was a far more serious situation.
Hines saw two figures in deep water, bobbing about, arms flailing. He immediately sprang into action, swimming towards the woman and her child, who was being pulled out to sea by a rip current. When he reached them, the water was over his head and the two were near exhaustion. Hines grabbed the seven-year-old boy and put him on his back while he helped the mother swim towards shore. Within minutes, all three were out of the water and safely on the shore.
Lieutenant Hines has been a firefighter with the Haines City Fire Department for almost four years. He hadn’t even considered becoming one until after high school. When he heard about the fire academy, Hines thought it sounded like a challenge he would enjoy. He entered and found his calling.
In his spare time, Lieutenant Hines enjoys outdoor activities, such as fishing or a nice day at the beach. Ana Maria Island is one of his favorite places to go, along a stretch of beach that doesn’t get many visitors. It was very fortunate that Hines and his girlfriend were there on that day, when Khara Green and her son were visiting Ana Maria Island from Texas.
“On that particular day, there weren’t that many people there on the island,” Hines recalls, “so it was definitely a right time, right place situation.” Hines had been scheduled to work that day, and only was off because his supervisor had given him the day off at the last minute. Green is extremely grateful that Hines was present on the beach that day, and the two have remained in contact since the incident.
In January, Lieutenant Hines was recognized for his selfless act of bravery by being awarded EMT of the Year by the Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association. He was nominated by Captain Ryan Russell of the Haines City Fire Department. This prestigious award, presented by Fire Chief Tim Mossgrove, is a testament to the value placed on hardworking heroes like Hines who carry that sense of duty into their everyday lives.
The training Hines received as a firefighter played a large role in his ability to recognize a threatening situation and quickly respond. As a first responder, he’s been trained in situational awareness day in and day out, so much so that it has bled into the way he perceives his environment on a daily basis. The instinct to stay alert and ready doesn’t just fade because he’s off duty. Lieutenant Hines describes it, “I have to be able to go from eating dinner to a structure fire, things like that. I have to be able to go from sitting and relaxing to something strenuous like a structure fire.”
We are all grateful for heroes such as Lieutenant Brenn Hines, especially Khara Green and her son. People like Lieutenant Hines make the world a safer place for all of us to live, work, and play. Florida should be a place for visitors’ dreams to come true, and Hines helped make that happen in one very special way on that almost-tragic summer day.