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The City of Panama City Fire Department serves a beautiful coastal community with a population of approximately 35,000.  Panama City is located in the central panhandle of northwest Florida along St. Andrews Bay.  This area is immediately adjacent to Florida’s Inter-Coastal Waterway and the blue-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

 

Department Dynamics:  In serving our community, the Panama City Fire Department is composed of the Administrative Division, Operations Division, Fire Training Division, Fire Prevention and Public Education Division, Logistics.  Including the Firefighters in the Operations Division the department’s total staffing 83 personnel working together in order to accomplish the single goal of protecting our community from the perils of fires and other emergencies.

The Operations Division is lead by the Assistant Fire Chief and staffed as follows:

Three Battalion Chiefs, five Captains, thirteen Lieutenants, sixteen Engineers, and thirty-four Firefighters;

Division of Training, Fire Prevention and Public Education consisting of a Division Chief, Lieutenant Fire Inspector/Investigator, Civilian Fire Inspector/Investigator, and Fire Prevention Support Specialist.

 *For details on the specific Divisions and their functions, see the additional page links on the navigation menu to the left..

 

Comprehensive Emergency Planning: The climate in Panama City is usually mild and very pleasant.  However, since the City is located on Florida’s Gulf Coast, our Community is also subject to landfall from hurricanes.  While the Atlantic Hurricane Season spans from June 1st through November 30th of each year, Hurricane preparedness has become essentially a year-round activity.

The Fire Department is responsible for the Panama City “Comprehensive Emergency Operations Plan (CEOP)”.  This plan is utilized to prepare, respond to and recovery from various disasters that can impact Panama City.  The CEOP is reviewed annually for needed revisions.  Once revised City Staff tests the plan though annual exercises.  Through planning and training, the City of Panama City is always prepared for a disaster.

 

Special Operations Teams

Joint Agency In-Water Strike Team (JAWS):   As the City is essentially surrounded by water on three sides, the Panama City Fire Department must be prepared the unique challenges created by this type of local geography.  Panama City sits along approximately 75 miles of shoreline, has two City-owned Marinas, several private marinas, a deep water port, and numerous other docking facilities, many with limited or restricted access potential for a maritime and aquatic incidents requires our firefighters to be well trained in personal water safety and water rescue.

In an effort to be prepared for water related incident response, the Fire Department continually trains its personnel in Water Rescue, Dive Rescue and Water Survival.  As a part of these programs, Firefighters learn the proper techniques to rescue struggling swimmers and even how to remain afloat and personally survive if they find themselves in the water while wearing full Firefighter Protective Clothing.  Obviously this type of training requires a considerable amount of time and effort on the part of numerous firefighters.  Based upon his dedication of time, professional effort, and selfless contributions to the training of Department personnel in water rescue, personal survival and Underwater Search and Rescue, Firefighter Jerome Fleeman was recognized as the 2009 Firefighter of the Year by the Panama City Jaycees. 

Urban Search and Rescue (USAR): The Panama City Fire Department is also home to one of Florida’s Type II Light Technical Rescue or Urban Search and Rescue Teams.  Team #101 trains on a regular basis in order to be able to respond to rescue events both in and around the Panama City area.  Lead by Team Leaders Battalion Chief Scott Flitcraft, Captain Shawn Boyett, and Lieutenant Chris Burger, Team #101 stands ready to answer the call for Confined Space Rescue, Structural Collapse Rescue, Trench Rescue, High Angle Rope Rescue and Vehicle or Machinery Entrapment Rescue.