About The Owners: Tukz and Carrie Taaca

Q&A With The Owners at Safety First Jacksonville

Q: What made you decide to get started in the field of safety training? Was there a specific event in your life that created an interest?

A: Actually, my safety training started by a question by a former high school buddy. I was working at Subway at the time and we were talking about work and he said, “Hey, I work as a lifeguard. Are you interested?” The rest is history. I started as a lifeguard and that led to a 20 year career in Aquatics Safety, which led to me teaching Lifeguard Certification Courses, CPR and Basic First Aid. – Tukz

Q: What do you find most rewarding about the training you do?

A: The most rewarding part of training is when the students in the class “get it”. They understand the material, apply it, and are successful. That’s the litmus test. The smiles on their faces says it all. – Tukz

A: We have had a few occasions when past students have informed us that they ended up using what they learned to save a life.  THAT is the most rewarding for me, as I am mostly behind the scenes and not in the classroom with the students as often as Tukz and the other instructors. – Carrie

Q: How did you get started with the self-defense training for women and girls?

A: It was something I really wanted to be able to offer since I know how important it is in today’s crazy world, but it wasn’t our specialty to teach.  So I asked a JSO officer at our church if he would be interested in partnering with us for this or knew someone who would.  He referred me to Joel, Tony and Gabe of Paradigm Tactical Training Group (who are also law enforcement SWAT Team officers full-time) and they have been working with us for over 5 years now so that we can offer periodic self-defense courses for women and teen girls and also now youth, as well. – Carrie

Q: How old do you recommend children should be when they have their first swimming lesson?

A: As early as possible. But, around 2-3 years of age is appropriate. They are introduced to water safety. For our lessons, we work with ages 3 and older. – Tukz  photo of kids learning to swim

Q: How did you learn to swim?

A: Honestly, I don’t remember. I do remember the fun I had with my Dad while swimming at around age 5. – Tukz

Q: Why did you add the Job 101 Course? Who is the class for?

A: We added JOB 101 to our list of courses because as a former manager I used to hire people, especially teenagers/young adults. About one-third actually know how to write resume, go through an interview, and learn to follow-up. There may be no time in school to acutally learn these life skills. This is where I step in. While working for the one of the best customer/guest service companies in the world – Walt Disney World, I learned what it was to be a cast member or what we know of as an employee. One powerful example of knowing how to conduct yourself in an interview is being interviewed by nineteen managers all at once! Talk about pressure. Because of that experience, I know I can help young adults be successful in getting a job. – Tukz

Q: What future plans do you have for Safety First Jax?

A: Be great at what we do. We have a variety of classes because there is a need and Safety First is one of the few local safety companies that can provide all that we do. Also, we want to expand and be the premiere safety comapny in Northeast Florida. – Tukz

Areas of expertise:
American Safety & Health Institute Training Center (CPR, Basic First Aid, Babysitting Safety, BLS, Bloodborne Pathogens), Women & Teen Girls Self Defense and Youth Safety courses(partnership w/ Paradigm Tactical Training), Aquatic Consulting and Red Cross Lifeguard Instructor / Water Safety Instructor.

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