(239) 390-8000 ~ 21500 Three Oaks Parkway, Estero, Florida 33928

Estero Fire Rescue is pleased to announce that Battalion Chief Jeannine Blalock Horton recently participated in the 22nd Executive Fire Officer Program Graduate Symposium on April 9 – 11, 2010, held at the U. S. Fire Administration’s (USFA) National Fire Academy (NFA) in Emmitsburg, Maryland.  The NFA serves as the national focal point for advancing the professional development of fire service and rescue personnel through education and training programs.

Battalion Chief Horton graduated from the NFA’s Executive Fire Officer Program.  This prestigious academic program requires senior fire officials to meet stringent professional criteria for selection.  The four-segment, advanced level program provides participants with a broad perspective on major aspects of fire administration.  Participants must also complete Applied Research Project in their local organization.

Battalion Chief Horton began her career in 1981 as a volunteer in Pinellas County and was hired as a paid firefighter in 1984.  She continued her career, becoming a paramedic, Engineer and, in 1990, a company officer  She was hired by Estero Fire Rescue in 2003 where she served as a company officer before being promoted to Battalion Chief in 2008.  She holds an Associate’s Degree in Fire Administration and is currently working on her Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration.

Battalion Chief Horton has been a leader in the fire service community for many years and has been a pioneer for women entering the fire service.  She has actively recruited women and minorities into a career in the fire service and emergency response and received the National Business Women’s Association Firefighter of the Year award in 1990 for her efforts, which she continues to this day.

She was also a top female competitor in the Firefighter Combat Challenge for ten years, attaining Tums Grand National Champion in 2005.  The Firefighter Combat Challenge is a competition based on the fitness and professional duties of the firefighter.  Competitors must wear full bunker gear, including an air pack and face mask, which completing the course ~ about 50 lbs of gear.  The competitors must complete a series of obstacles based on the duties that firefighters perform in fire and rescue operations.  These include climbing a 5-story tower, hoisting a reel, dragging hoses and rescuing a life-sized, 175 lb ‘victim’ as they race against themselves, their opponent and the clock.

Battalion Chief Horton feels that the completion of the EFO program has given her valuable insight.  “The EFO program has been significant in growing my leadership ability. The program has been instrumental in motivating me to reflect and look-within self; to seize the many opportunities that face us daily to improve our own selves, so that we can be of greater value and service to others. It has given me the tools to be a stronger leader, develop other leaders, to assess, analyze and resolve community needs, to handle large scale incidents,  and to drive change in a positive manner; enabling the fire service to not only meet the tough challenges ahead but maneuver through successfully.”