Current Instructors and Bio's
Dan Zinge is a retired District Chief with Palm Harbor Fire Rescue (FL) and a 34 year veteran of the fire service. In 2008, Chief Zinge founded the North American Vehicle Rescue Association and through his work with NAVRA he is asked to lecture and teach at sites all over North America and Europe. In addition to his work with NAVRA Chief Zinge is the current Chair of the World Rescue Organization. As a long time advocate of the rescue challenge concept functioned as the Incident Commander & training coordinator of PHFR’s National and International Championship extrication team. Through his experience & efforts Chief Zinge is considered an expert in the field of vehicle rescue management.
Rick LePervost has over 34 years of fire service experience with 15 years of technical rescue experience and is the current NAVRA Director of Operations. Rick is a World Rescue Organization Assessor and one of NAVRA's lead Medical Instructor/Assessors. Rick is also dual certified as a Registered Nurse and has over twenty years experience as a Trauma Nurse. As a member of NAVRA's highly successful extrication team, Rick was the medic.
Jayson Lynn Lynn is a Driver Engineer with 19 years in the fire service, 10 years of Trauma Flight Nurse experience and 20 years of paramedic critical care experience. Jayson is also the current NAVRA Assessor Cordinator. He has instructed vehicle extrication nationally and internationally as well as International Trauma Life Support, ACLS and Advanced Airway Management. Jayson was selected as Medical Assessor for the 2014, 2015 and 2016 World Rescue Challenge in the Complex Extrication Pit as well as the Rescue Organisation Ireland’s 2016 National Challenge. He is a Fire Instructor III and has a degree in Public Safety Administration. Jayson has interest in promoting safety, advanced practice medical/trauma care, firefighter survival and vehicle extrication/technical rescue in the fire service.
Carlos Eguiluz is a Driver Engineer/Paramedic with 29 years of service for the City of Coral Gables Fire Rescue Department. Carlos has served as the Assessor Coordinator for NAVRA from 2013- 2016. Carlos is an original 1991 member of the CGFR Special Response Team and served as Training Coordinator for 25 years. As a World Rescue Organization competitor and WRO Assessor (since 2000), Carlos has competed, assessed and taught in rescue events all over the world. He has served on the Executive Board of both the WRO and TERC USA organizations. Carlos has been the lead Extrication Instructor for the Miami Dade College Medical Campus's EMT and Paramedic Programs since 1995 with Associate of Science Degrees in Fire Science and Emergency Medical Services.
Neal de Jesus, Fire Chief
Chief de Jesus has served the Fire Rescue and Emergency Medical Services for 31 years. He began his career as a Firefighter in Sarasota County, FL at the age of 18 before moving on to Coral Gables where he became a State certified Paramedic, Fire Inspector and Fire Service Instructor. Throughout the years Neal continued his training and education attending Miami Dade College, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Maryland Staff and Command and the National Fire Academy where he graduated from the Executive Fire Officer Program (EFO) in 1999. Neal served as a Firefighter Paramedic, Driver Engineer, Lieutenant, Captain, Battalion Commander, Division Chief, Assistant Chief and Deputy Fire Chief before retiring as Fire Chief. He also served as a SWAT Paramedic, member of the Department’s Special Response Team, member of the Office of Federal Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and USAR. After retiring Neal spent the next several years serving as a City Commissioner and as President and Managing Partner of the Diversified Group Consulting providing Fire Service Organizational Development, Fire Officer Development training, Corporate Facility Threat Assessments as well as general government related consulting before returning to the Fire Service as Fire Chief and Executive Director of the Broward Sheriff’s Office Fire Rescue and Emergency Services until January 2014. In March of 2016, he assumed command of the City of Delray Beach Fire Rescue as their Fire Chief.
Neal has served as a member (Chair) of the State Emergency Response Team (SERT), The Florida State Fire College Technical Rescue Curriculum Review Committee, and the International Association of Fire Chief’s Transportation Emergency Rescue Committee (TERC) and the World Rescue Organization (WRO). He has also served as a member (chair) of the Broward County Ethic’s Commission, Broward League of Cities Public Safety Committee, Broward County Consolidated Communications Committee, Broward County Management and Efficiency Study Committee, Broward League of Cities Legislative Action Committee and the Broward League of Cities Training and Education Committee. Neal currently serves on the Broward County Planning Council and the Florida Bar Grievance Committee. He is a member of the Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association, The International Association of Fire Chiefs, The Metro Fire Chiefs Association, Southeastern Association of Fire Chiefs and the National Society of Executive Fire Officers.
Neal is an International certified assessor and as served as an assessor at all levels of competition and has competed in numerous local, State, International and World Competitions. Additionally he has presented an instructed countless seminars, workshops and classes in the field of vehicle extrications.
Mike Harvey has over twenty-two years of fire service experience and sixteen years of technical rescue experience. Mike is one of NAVRA's lead Instructors and is a Regional
Assessor. As an original member of Palm Harbor Fire Rescues highly successful extrication team, Mike worked as the IC and most recently as a tool specialist.
Mike Ross has over ten years of fire service experience and six years of technical rescue experience. Mike is a World Rescue Organization Assessor and one of NAVRA's lead Instructor/Assessors. As a member of Palm Harbor Fire Rescues highly successful extrication team, Mike worked as a medic and most recently as a tool specialist.
RICHARD FERNANDEZ EMT-P, AS/EMS, IS A 24 YEAR VETERAN OF THE FIRE SERVICE. EMPLOYED BY CORAL GABLES FIRE DEPARTMENT, FL. USA, RICHARD HAS BEEN A MEMBER OF THE CGFD SPECIAL RESPONSE TEAM SINCE 1994. HE HAS COMPETED AS A MEDIC, TECHNICAL RESCUER AND INCIDENT COMMNADER. RICHARD RETIRED FROM COMPETITION IN 2004 AND HAS BEEN AN ASSESSOR SINCE 1997, STARTING AS A REGIONAL AND NATIONAL ASSESSOR FOR TERC USA AND CURRENTLY AN INTERNATIONAL ASSESSOR FOR NAVRA AS WELL AS THE WRO WHERE HE HAS ASSESSED MANY WRC CHALLENGES OVER THE YEARS. RICHARD WAS THE REGION 3 CHAIR PERSON FOR TERC USA AS WELL AS A MEMBER OF THE THEIR EDUCATIONAL COMMITTEE BEFORE RETIRING HIS POSITIONS TO FOCUS ON TRAINING ABROAD. HE HAS 19 YEARS OF TECHNICAL RESCUE EXPERIENCE AND IS AN INSTRUCTOR FOR MIAMI DADE COLLEGE WHERE HE DELIVERS BOTH EMS AND FIRE RELATED COURSES. RICHARD IS ALSO THE DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS FOR INTERAMERICAN FIREFIGHTERS INC, WHICH IS A TRAINING COMPANY REGISTERED IN THE USA AND COLOMBIA WHOSE MISSION IS TO PROVIDE QUALITY FIRE/RESCUE AND EMS TRAINING/CONSULTING AS WELL AS EQUIPMENT DONATIONS TO BROTHER/SISTER FIRE PERSONNEL FROM ALL OVER LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARRIBEAN. TO THAT END, RICHARD IS THE PROJECT MANAGER OF THE INTERNATIONAL CHALLENGE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM ON BEHALF OF NAVRA, WHO WILL PARTNER WITH INTERAMERICAN FIREFIGHTERS INC, TO ACCOMPLISH THIS VERY WORTHWHILE AND NECESSARY MISSION. RICHARD IS CURRENTLY COORDINATING THE NAVRA SHADOW ASSESSOR PROGRAM AND HOPES TO BUILD AND STRENGTHEN THE LEVEL OF ASSESSORS WITHIN THE ORGANIZATION. HE MAY BE REACHED AT R.P.FERNANDEZ@ATT.NET, CELL# 305-345-1309
Mike Huffman is a 26 year veteran of the fire service, currently serving as a Captain at Harlem- Roscoe Fire Department (HRFD). Mike previously served as a Firefighter/ EMT for nine years with the North Park Fire Protection District prior to joining HRFD where he received a Certificate of Honor from the Office of Illinois State Fire Marshal for his heroism in helping save a young girl from her burning home. Mike has competed, taught, and assessed in rescue symposiums throughout the USA, Canada, and Europe. Mike is currently the HRFD Extrication Team Instructor and a Transportation Emergency Rescue Committee (TERC) International Judge. He is also a Lead Instructor for the Monroe Fire School (WI) in vehicle extrication, an adjunct Field Instructor for vehicle extrication for Safe and Fast Extrication (SAFE) in Milwaukee, WI, and North American Vehicle Rescue Association (NAVRA), and was an Instructor for FDIC HOT Class with PXT this year. Mike is the co-founder of Auto X, a mobile training unit/company that travels throughout the Midwest teaching vehicle extrication.
Jeremiah McAuliffe has over 25 years of fire service experience and 10 years of technical rescue experience. Jeremiah is one of NAVRA's lead Technical Instructors and a retired District Chief with Largo Fire Rescue. In addition, Jeremiah is also certified as a Trauma Flight Paramedic with over 14 years of experience. As a member of Largo Fire Rescues extrication team, Jeremiah worked as the IC and tool specialist.
DAVID SWEET has been in the Fire Rescue Service since 1984 and is currently the Deputy Fire Chief for the North Lauderdale (FL) Fire Rescue Department. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Professional Administration and is the author of the book published by Jones and Bartlett; Vehicle Extrication Levels I and II: Principles and Practice which is endorsed by the NFPA and the IAFC.
Chief Sweet has also written several training articles for Fire Engineering Magazine and Carolina Fire Rescue Journal and is a state of Florida Level 3 instructor offering programs on basic to advanced skills in vehicle extrication as well as FL-USAR vehicle rescue programs. Chief Sweet has also taught the H.O.T. (hands on training) in vehicle extrication as the lead instructor at the 2006 Firehouse Expo in Las Vegas.
In addition, Chief Sweet has been an assessor and coordinator for numerous extrication competitions from local and National events to the 2005 International held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Chief Sweet remains active in training through various teaching engagements, seminars, vehicle extrication competitions, and writing commitments in which he is currently working on the second edition to the Vehicle Extrication Levels I and II: Principles and Practice textbook due out in the fall of 2017.
Tom Winkler Division Chief (retired) City of Seminole, Pinellas County Florida has been a part of the City’s Extrication Team for many years serving as tool technician, incident commander and training officer. His team has successfully competed in the TERC and NAVRA circuits since the late 1980’s winning many local, state and national challenges. Tom was part of the original NAVRA organization and competition team and a co-founder of the Suncoast Extrication Coalition. Tom currently works as a Hurst Jaws of Life Rescue Tool Specialist with MES and instructs throughout the Southeastern United States at many regional VMR educational events.