Help Needed: Bay County Fire Departments Recruit More First Responders


BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) – The Bay County Fire Departments need your help.

There is a national shortage of first responders, and it has reached our region. However, county departments are trying to help each other find additional help.

While the Springfield Fire Department has a full team, Fire Chief Brian Eddins is determined to help other departments in the area find great new people.

“It’s just a fellowship, it’s what we do… It’s siblings helping siblings,” Chief Eddins said. “They need help, so we are all helping.”

Some of the departments seeking help include ECP Airport, Panama City, City of Callaway, and the Bay County Fire Department.

The airport fire department has the opportunity to work with machines that some dream of.

“We perform the same tasks typical of any other fire department, we specialize only in airplanes,” said Fire Chief Jerry Swearingen. “Because the airport is all about aviation, someone who is passionate about aviation would really love to work there.”

The Panama City Fire Department has an internationally renowned dive crew and pump boat operations team.

“We just want to let it be known that if you are interested, want to get your hands dirty and want to have a little fun, we encourage you to come and see our departments or talk to the college to potentially join the fire academy.” said Fire Chief David Collier.

The Callaway Fire Department is small, but tight-knit.

“We are very family oriented… family comes first,” said Lt. Samantha McDaniel. “We’re like family here every shift, and as a department we look out for each other and do a lot with what we have. “

The Bay County Fire Rescue even ventured out to have a Hazardous Materials Response Team and a Surf Rescue.

“We cover everything from a very urban and beach-like setting to very rural areas,” Lt. Ben Collier said. “It’s a great department, it’s very family-friendly… The commissaires take care of us very well.

Executives said there was a place for anyone in any department.

“Any department would be a good department to work for,” said Chief Eddins. “It’s a good thing about Bay County is that we all work well together and there are no bad departments in the county.”

Chief Eddins said Gulf Coast State College has a firefighting academy to help train those who wish to help the community.

The deadline to register for the next training is December 17th and classes start January 6th, 2022. Learn more about the GCSC Fire Academy.

Learn about the earliest response opportunities available at the ECP Airport Fire Department, Panama City Fire Department, Callaway Fire Department, and Bay County Fire Department.


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