It is often said that those who do the most for others in their lives speak little of their accomplishments, shying away from the limelight rather than seeking public adoration or fame.
This easily describes Michael Murphy. Murphy was hired as Marco Island’s Fire Rescue Chief in 2001, following retirement from a distinguished, thirty-year career with the Fire Rescue Department in Miramar, Florida. Years later, Murphy still works in the profession he loves.
Murphy recently received recognition from his fellow Florida fire chiefs at the Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association’s Fire Rescue East in Daytona Beach. He was named the Florida Hazmat Responder of the Year 2017; an award that recognizes Murphy’s significant and valuable contributions to the profession of hazardous materials response, and his commitment to the fire service, to the committee he sits on, and to his department.
Mike has served on SERC, Florida’s State Emergency Response Commission for Hazardous Materials, along with the training task force since the early 1990s. This team of individuals has worked to make Florida a model in the nation for hazardous material programs.
The public may not know much about hazardous materials response, but it was on everyone’s mind in 2010 when the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster affected Southwest Florida.
Other tasks encompassed in that area of expertise deal with the transportation of hazardous cargo across the state on interstate, urban and rural area highways; possible nuclear power plant discharges of radioactive materials; and large oil spills or natural gas leakages on pipelines throughout the state.
Offshore or onshore spillage of hazardous contaminates affecting our waterways are other occurrences that this group of dedicated professionals may be called upon to address. This includes leakages from barges, oil tankers and fires on vessels, as well as any discharges that may be associated with the incident.
Responders also must be prepared for incidents involving weapons of mass destruction (WMD), should that unfortunate scenario become a reality in Florida.
Hazardous material incidents are just one of the numerous challenges today’s fire rescue professionals face. Murphy’s work, along with that of his colleagues, insures that the men and women in those big red trucks are prepared to meet such complex challenges, many of which the general public may never become aware.
The Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association had previously recognized Murphy, naming him Florida Fire Chief of the Year in 2005.