Tue, Jun 25, 2024
St. Johns County needs more firefighters

St. Johns County needs more firefighters

  • PublishedMay 30, 2024

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla — St. Johns County needs more firefighters.

You need to look no further than the number of calls firefighters responded to this past holiday weekend.

Combine a growing population with a holiday weekend, and you have more emergency response calls.

Lifeguard rescues at the beach, a yacht that sank, and house fires. Those were just some of the calls that St. Johns County Fire Rescue responded to this past Memorial Day Weekend.

During a non-holiday weekend, St. Johns County Fire Rescue averages 180-190 calls a day.

Over the last Memorial Day weekend, the average was 272. That’s about 100 more calls per day each of the three days.

Marine rescue calls at the beach were also higher over the weekend.  They include cases such as lifeguard rescues, assisting citizens, reuniting lost children with their parents, and minor medical calls.

“So anybody wants to be a firefighter? Come on, we’re going to be hiring,” St. Johns County Fire Chief Sean McGee said. He says the county’s population growth means more calls, and that means more firefighters and rescue personnel are needed.

“So we’re looking at probably 35 to 40 hires a year with new firefighter positions to meet that demand,” McGee said. 

Four fire stations are also planned for the next five years.

“This is really an unprecedented move for our department in the history of our department to do this many stations and that fast amount of time. So it’s going to be a challenge. But it’s exciting. You know, it’s aggressive.”

Hiring will begin in the next fiscal year, starting in October.

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