South Gulf County volunteer fire department offers more than protection

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

Larsen handles all administrative duties as well which include the daunting task of ordering proper supplies.

The department shares a budget with the rest of the stations in the county, all of which are volunteer-driven, and because of limited funds, smart shopping becomes necessity.

It takes Larsen time to find the best price on needed supplies, but in the end, she’s able to save hundreds of dollars on their gear.

Vacco said that to train a new firefighter, they’re looking at roughly $3,000 and once the crewmember is trained across all response disciplines they will have spent nearly $10,000 on training classes and equipment for each firefighter.

The South Gulf Coast Fire Department relies on equipment donations from other departments along with donations from the private sector.

“If a paid fire department came in and looked at our equipment and saw what we had, they’d say ‘Wow!’” said Vacco. “And we’re operating on roughly the cost of a new car.”

Spending 60 hours per week fighting fires, organizing and operating fundraisers and handling all of the paperwork is no easy feat, though Larsen revealed the department’s secret to success.

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