Cheryl Edwards has been a valued member of the Lakeland Fire Department since June 1994, when she joined the organization as its Public Education and Information Officer. Cheryl was promoted to Fire Safety Inspector in March of 2008 prior to her promotion to Fire Marshal in 2016.
Cheryl earned an associate’s degree in Fire Science from Hillsborough Community College, graduating with honors. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Special Education from Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas graduating Magna Cum Laude. She was named Kappa Delta Pi Outstanding Senior in Elementary Education and the Council for Exceptional Children’s Outstanding Senior in Special Education and applied these skills as an educator with Polk County Schools prior to joining the Lakeland Fire Department. Cheryl later earned a Master’s Degree in Safety Management from the University of South Florida. She is a graduate of the Kenneth C. Thompson Institute of Public Safety Basic Law Enforcement Academy at Polk State College, earning the honor of Top Academic Recruit. Cheryl has completed Public Education, Management, and Technical Fire Prevention Curriculum courses and Management Science Curriculum courses at the National Fire Academy. Cheryl is a Certified Supervisory Manager and Certified Public Manager through Florida State University's prestigious public management program. Cheryl also holds Fire Marshal certification from the National Board of Fire Service Professional Qualifications. She continually furthers her own education and dedicates time to teaching others. Cheryl has taught and developed courses for Ridge Vocational Technical School, St. Petersburg College, Kaplan University, Florida State Fire College, and the National Fire Academy.
In addition to her achievements within traditional academia, Cheryl holds Fire Safety Inspector I and II, Investigator I, Fire Code Administrator, Instructor III, Fire and Life Safety Educator, and Firefighter II certifications from the Florida Division of State Fire Marshal, Bureau of Fire Standards and Training. Cheryl’s professional awards and achievements also include the Walt Disney World Community Service Award awarded in 1996, the 1998 City of Lakeland Woman of the Year award, and the 2004 Florida Fire and Life Safety Educator.
Cheryl has also been a longtime member of the Florida Fire Marshals and Inspectors Association, since 1994. She was the driving force behind the formation of the Florida Association of Fire and Life Safety Educators, and then served on the newly-formed association’s Executive Board for four years. Cheryl was a member of the Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association Public Information Officer Section, serving on the State Deployment Team as well as several Task Force groups. Cheryl was active with the Suncoast Safe Kids Coalition – Polk County Bureau, Coalition on Injury Prevention, Emergency Safety Educators Association of Tampa Bay, and Children’s Burn Camp of Florida. More recently, Cheryl serves on the Florida State Fire Marshal’s Office/FFMIA Fire Code Interpretations Committee and the Fire Technical Advisory Committee for the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Florida Building Code Commission.
Matt Brown became a firefighter in 1998, first serving with Polk County Fire Rescue before joining the Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) in 1999. He served as a firefighter until 2005, when he became a Lieutenant at the department. He served as a Lieutenant until 2016, when he became the department’s first Training Captain until he was promoted in 2022 to his current position of Training Chief.
Chief Brown serves as the department’s Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) and SWAT Paramedic teams coordinator. He holds certifications as a: Fire Officer II; Fire Inspector II; Fire Instructor III, Live Fire Instructor I, State Pump Operator; and Paramedic. He graduated from the National Fire Academy’s Managing Fire Officer (MFO) Program and from the Florida Fire Chief’s Association Emergency Services Leadership Institution (ESLI). In addition to these professional certifications, he also serves as a principal committee member for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1006 and NFPA 1021 committees that provide recommendations for national standards on Technical Rescue and Professional Qualifications for Fire Officers, respectively. He also serves as the Work Group Leader for the State Technical Rescue Teams and the Region 4 State Representative for Urban Search and Rescue.
In addition to his work at the Lakeland Fire Department, Matt stays extremely busy serving his community. He is an involved member of the Lakeland Rotary Club and a graduate and member of Lakeland Leadership Class XXXIII.
Chief Brown was the recipient of several Firefighter of the Year awards on the local and state level for two heroic actions while off duty in addition to his community service. He received The American Legion National Firefighter of the Year award in 2016 for related incidents.
Shane Reynolds has served as Rescue Chief since January of 2013. Rescue Chief Reynolds began his career with the department in 1995 as a firefighter. He served a Lieutenant prior to his promotion to Rescue Chief.
Shane holds multiple certifications including Fire Instructor II, Safety Officer, Life Safety Inspector, Fire Officer II, and as an American Heart Association Instructor in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support. He is also a certified paramedic. Shane is a member of the Florida Fire Chiefs' Association. Shane is actively involved in training and developing the department's firefighters. He is a member of the department's peer support team and is a passionate member of the Florida Firefighters Safety and Health Collaborative. He also chairs the department’s physical health committee.
Shane’s primary responsibilities are directing and coordinating the activities of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) for Lakeland Fire Rescue. This includes coordinating operations with the Polk County Office of the Medical Director and serving as the EMS liaison with local hospitals and clinics. Shane is actively involved in Quality Assurance (QA) and works directly with local emergency department medical and trauma staff, and the Polk County Medical Director, to improve patient treatment and outcomes in the Lakeland community. Shane is also responsible for planning and directing the emergency medical training of all Lakeland Fire Department EMTs and paramedics. He has been successful at building a highly trained instructor cadre that provides annual training to satisfy State of Florida mandates and develop innovative programs to teach advanced Clinical Care Guidelines (CCG).
Shane earned his associate degree in Emergency Medical Services and Fire Science and has a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration, both from Polk State College. He is also a graduate of Florida State University’s Certified Public Manager program and the Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association’s prestigious Emergency Services Leadership Institute.
Matthew Jay Warner has been with the Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) since February 2002, when he joined the department as a Fire Equipment Mechanic. However, Matt has worked with the City of Lakeland even longer, having previously worked as a mechanic with Fleet Services prior to finding his way to LFD.
Matt is very experienced and equally as educated in his field, holding several technical certifications that include: Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Master Technician, Emergency Vehicle Technician (EVT) Master Technician, and MSA Care Technician certifications. Matt is also a certified Firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). In addition to his many certifications, Matt has attended the University of Florida, Hillsborough Community College, and Polk State College.