Special Operations Teams
Joint Agency In-Water Strike Team (JAWS)
As the city is essentially surrounded by water on three sides, the Panama City Fire Department must be prepared for the unique challenges created by this type of local geography. Panama City sits along approximately 75 miles of shoreline, has two city-owned Marinas, several private marinas, a deep water port, and numerous other docking facilities, many with limited or restricted access. The potential for maritime and aquatic incidents requires our firefighters to be well trained in personal water safety and water rescue.
In an effort to be prepared for water related incident response, the Fire Department continually trains its personnel in Water Rescue, Dive Rescue and Water Survival. As a part of these programs, firefighters learn the proper techniques to rescue struggling swimmers and even how to remain afloat and personally survive if they find themselves in the water while wearing full Firefighter Protective Clothing. This type of training requires a considerable amount of time and effort on the part of numerous firefighters. Based upon his dedication of time, professional effort, and selfless contributions to the training of department personnel in water rescue, personal survival and Underwater Search and Rescue, Firefighter Jerome Fleeman was recognized as the 2009 Firefighter of the Year by the Panama City Jaycees.
Urban Search and Rescue (USAR)
The Panama City Fire Department is also home to one of Florida's Type II Light Technical Rescue or Urban Search and Rescue Teams. Team Number 101 trains on a regular basis in order to be able to respond to rescue events both in and around the Panama City area. Team Number 101 stands ready to answer the call for Confined Space Rescue, Structural Collapse Rescue, Trench Rescue, High Angle Rope Rescue and Vehicle or Machinery Entrapment Rescue. The team has conducted multiple successful operations and has deployed to other areas of the state in support of Statewide Hurricane Response.
Fire Boat Operations
Our 28 foot Pacifica Fire Boat has a 500 gallons per minute pump for firefighting operations on the water and has a water line rescue hatch for quickly removing victims from the water. It can conduct all emergency operations in less than two feet of water. It has been used in many water side firefighting operations and rescue events with stranded and distressed boaters. It also is the primary means of transportation for Emergency Medical Service to Shell Island through an agreement between Bay County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and PCFD. The team members train for all types of water related emergencies.