The City of Panama City Fire Department serves a beautiful coastal community 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. Panama City is also known as a popular year-round tourist destination offering a comfortable climate and friendly atmosphere which provides a highly attractive living environment compatible with a variety of personal tastes and lifestyles. Some of the City’s most attractive attributes are a pleasant climate, attractive housing opportunities, fishing, and other water sports activities along with cultural arts, entertainment, and a pleasing small town environment.
In serving our community, the Panama City Fire Department encompasses more than just Firefighters. Our staffing consists of several different divisions totaling 83 personnel working together in order to accomplish the single goal of protecting our community from the perils of fires and other emergencies.
Among these divisions are:
Administration, which consists of the Fire Chief, Supply & Maintenance Lieutenant, Administrative Aide to the Fire Chief, Office Assistant II, and a Maintenance Worker I.
Operations, which consists of the Assistant Fire Chief, 3 Battalion Chiefs, Five Captains, 13 Lieutenants, 16 Engineers, and 34 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 pages on this website.
Although the climate here in Panama City is usually mild and very pleasant, since we are 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. Some of these preparations, along with incident response, include planning and providing logistical support in the form of food and lodging for Fire Department and other personnel from the City who are considered to be essential to the response and recovery efforts associated with events of this type. The same type of operations established for response and recovery to weather related incidents can also be utilized to support operations in any other incident of extended duration.
Located in an area where the City is essentially surrounded by water on three sides, the Panama City Fire Department must be prepared for the normal activities of a Fire Department in addition to some rather unique challenges created by the local geography. Encompassing a shoreline of approximately 75 miles, the Department is also faced with the challenges of mitigating fires and other emergencies at two City-owned Marinas, several private marinas, a deep water port, and numerous other docking facilities, many with limited or restricted access. With over 1,300 boat slips and more than 19,000 recreational boats registered in the Panama City, Bay County area, its easy to see the potential for a maritime incident and that dealing with the potential of this aquatic environment requires firefighters to be well trained in personal water safety and water rescue as well as other firefighting and rescue operations. As a result of this coastal environment, members of the Panama City Fire Department are frequently called upon to perform their duties and have participated in numerous successful water related rescue operations over the years.
In an effort to always be prepared for water related incident response, the 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.
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 Capt. Shawn Boyett, Capt. Scott Flitcraft and Lt. 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.