Lawton assistant fire marshal goes through three first responder academies

Published: Jun. 16, 2021 at 6:04 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 6:23 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - An assistant fire marshal with the Lawton Fire Department has gone through three first responder academies.

In 2010, when Anthony Garibay graduated high school, he said he was unsure of what he wanted to do, so he ended becoming a dispatcher the following year.

“When I was at dispatch, the extensive amount of geography you have to learn, the amount of ten-codes, policies, procedures for the fire department, the police department, you have to learn all of them,” Garibay said. “Learning how to take 911-calls and talk to people, and helping with their emergencies over the phone was very, very difficult.”

Eventually, Garibay decided he wanted to be the one responding to calls, and not answering them anymore.

He joined the Lawton Fire Department in 2014 to become a firefighter.

Some of the toughest times came during mayday training.

“Ultimately what it is, it’s almost a simulation like you have a building that collapsed on top of you, and you have to get that luner out before you’re done with your exercise,” Garibay said. “You have to conserve your energy, and hold in your oxygen. It’s very difficult. It’s a good training, though.”

He was recently hired to become an Assistant Fire Marshal.

In order to do that, he had to go through the Lawton Police Department Training Academy for five months to get CLEET certified and become a peace officer.

“You have to get maced, you have to get tased,” Garibay said. “Becoming a peace officer, you have to do the job as a peace officer. The defense of tactics alone, that entire two weeks was very challenging. I woke up most mornings wondering if I could make it but you know it was one of those goals that I had, that I really wanted to become an assistant fire marshal.”

Fire Marshal Michael Wright believes Garibay is the first person to go through all three academies.

He’s pleased to have him on the team and believes he’ll play a vital role.

“For him to have the knowledge base of the police academy and he’s experienced in dispatch is going to, I think, pay a great dividend as he moves through our office and able to do the work that he’s going to be assigned here,” Wright said.

Garibay feels as if each academy he’s been through has made him the person he is today.

“It’s created confidence,” Garibay said. “It’s created just me as a whole. I feel very well trained, and very ready to be able to do anything.”

He says he didn’t plan any of this... it just happened this way.

Garibay says his ultimate goal is to become the fire marshal one day.

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