SWFD Board discusses trademark process and hears Chief’s Report

By RUBY KEARCE 

The South Walton Fire District (SWFD) Board of Commissioners held its regular monthly meeting on Nov. 13. Attorney Rene Youell gave an update on the ongoing trademark application process stating that she has been in contact with the lawyers in charge of the process and was informed last month it should be another 40 days. Youell is hoping that as of the meeting it is the final 10 days. Once Youell receives more information about the next steps she will email the commissioners that information. Youell also has a monitoring report that no pertinent results were found within the internet search results, which means there are no ongoing conflicts with the trademarking application process. 

Fire Chief Ryan Crawford then presented the Chief’s Report. Crawford informed the commissioners that there were 804 total responses for October compared with last year’s 653, with 1,642 communication center calls received. As for the Beach Safety division, Crawford stated that there were a total of 142,092 visitors for the month of October compared with last years 125,993, with 10 rescues. 

SWFD had a busy month with fire prevention activities during Fire Prevention Week, visiting many of south Walton’s schools and daycare canters and giving public education presentations on fire prevention. During the month of October, SWFD recorded public contacts with 675 adults and about 1,600 children. SWFD also hosted a poster coloring contest in honor of Fire Prevention Month, and this year it included third, fourth, and fifth grade students from various schools who were asked to provide a poster with art promoting fire prevention messages. The first place winners of this contest will be provided a ride to school by one of SWFD’s firefighters on one of their fire trucks, and the winning students receive a pizza party for their entire class. 

Crawford informed the commissioners of a rather odd, but effective, form of a smoke detector advisory program that has been done in other states. SWFD teamed up with Domino’s Pizza to provide much needed smoke detector information by setting up in front of the Miramar Beach Domino’s Pizza restaurant and providing fire prevention messaging and literature. A few Domino’s Pizza delivery customers were surprised with a visit from both Domino’s and SWFD prevention and suppression personnel. With permission from the residents, SWFD’s personnel determined if the residents had working smoke detectors in the home. And after verification, the pizza that the residents ordered was complimentary from Domino’s. However if the residents did not own or had non working detectors the residents would then pay for their pizza, and SWFD would install working smoke detectors for free. 

SWFD also hosted its contractor vendor during the month of October for SWFD’s employees’ annual physicals. Over the span of a few weeks  the crew completed blood works, pulmonary function testing, EKGs, hearing and vision testing, fitness evaluations and advanced cancer screening. Crawford thanked the board of commissioners for the ongoing support for providing these physicals to SWFD employees. 

Crawford announced that On Monday, Oct. 23, SWFD held a pinning and promotional ceremony for several SWFD members. Three firefighters were promoted to the position of Sergeant: Josh Pitts, Kailan Friend, and Dennis Langer. And Decatur Smith, August Lang, Nathan Stowe, James Morgan, DeMarcus Cabanas were all pinned and sworn in after successfully completing the one year probationary process. 

Crawford also reported SWFD’s participation in an active assailant tabletop exercise on Wednesday, Oct. 18, along with a full scale active shooter exercise at South Walton High School. This exercise included participation from the school district, Walton County Sheriff’s office, other state and federal law enforcement agencies, Walton County Emergency Management and SWFD’s EMS and Fire partners from both Walton and Bay counties. This exercise tested communications, both technological and interagency, unified command, and taught agencies valuable  lessons.