South Gulf County volunteer fire department offers more than protection

Published: Thursday, August 29, 2013 at 09:33 AM.

Auxiliary members also work the event each year to help make it a success.

In firefighting, any day without fires is a good day, and the department uses any free time to escort turtles and gators across the road, watch for rip tides, answer visitor’s questions and will soon launch a flag system on the Cape’s beaches to alert guests to current water conditions.

Volunteers are regularly invited to visit area schools to discuss fire prevention and show students the ever-popular fire trucks.

“We go from one extreme to the other,” said Vacco. “We’re part of the community, and the community is our number one priority.”

The chiefs keep an open-door policy at the stations and invite tourists and residents to visit if they need directions, emergency assistance or have simply lost a pet in the area, as dogs tend to make the station a temporary home while their owners are located.

Even though all members of the fire department are volunteers, it’s not uncommon for Larsen and Vacco to spend 50-60 hours a week at the station.

Trucks must be maintained and washed regularly to prevent sand and salt from corroding their fleet and firefighting gear are checked regularly to ensure everything is in working order at a moment’s notice.

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