SWFD assists with Hurricane Ian relief

CREWS DEPLOY to help Hurricane Ian victims. (Photo courtesy of SWFD)

From RUBY KEARCE 

South Walton Fire District’s (SWFD) Board of Commissioners met for their regular meeting Monday, Oct. 10, at SWFD headquarters. Rene Youell, attorney at law, informed the commissioners of a lawsuit brought to SWFD regarding an accident caused by an oil spill, claiming SWFD did not properly clean the area. Youell assured the commissioners of the insurance coverage for this particular issue and stated that the matter is in the insurance company’s hands. If details of the lawsuit need to be discussed further, there will be an executive meeting scheduled to do so. Youell went on to present her invoice for services during the month of September, which totaled $1,295.00, and a motion was passed to approve the invoice. 

Carole Martin, Fiscal Officer, approached the board to explain that in previous years Warren Averett Accounting has presented the annual audit report at the SWFD Board of Commissioners’ January meeting. However, this year’s presentation has been postponed until March and the date has not yet been set. 

Daniel LaTour, District Chief, then approached the board, starting with a resolution for surplus property. Among the equipment identified as obsolete and/or no longer useful were ATV’s, off road trucks, drones, lifeguard towers, and a typewriter. A motion was passed to declare the property as surplus and to dispose of, recycle, sell, or donate the items while reserving the right to turn down any and all bids. 

LaTour then moved on to the anticipation of future service demands. With the sixth fire station being built west of Watersound comes a need for an additional fire engine to service the area. In order to keep the fleet consistent, a request was made that the engine be a Pierce Saber, the same make and model as the two front-line engines currently in service. Capital funding of $700,000 has been secured, which is enough to cover the quote received from Ten-8 Fire and Life Safety, LLC. who will supply the additional engine. A motion was passed to move forward with Ten-8’s quote. 

Chief Ryan Crawford’s report began with explaining the recent deployment of SWFD personnel to assist with Hurricane Ian relief efforts, along with multiple other fire departments in northwest Florida. Recently a new crew was ferried to Sanibel Island to relieve the initial crew. The new crew will stay until Nov. 1. Crawford himself was deployed to the State Fire Marshal’s Office for six days in response to the storm.  

The report then moved to the third floor build-out in the Logistics building behind SWFD Headquarters, SWFD plans to move forward with the proposed contractual agreement with Empire Builders, who are currently seeking a building permit for the project. 

Six new firefighters have been hired and will begin employment next week, with three of the positions filling vacancies and three being positions created with the new 2022/23 fiscal year budget. 

Crawford ended his report by reminding the public that when changing clocks at the end of daylight savings time, on Sunday, Nov. 6, also change the batteries in smoke and carbon dioxide detectors.