PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — The Panama City Fire Department helps to serve our community each day, and now, they have two trucks and new team members joining their squad.
The two new trucks are Rosenbauer Commander Pumpers and cost about $435,000 each.
“It’s very important that we have these trucks, we have trucks that are reliable, that run and that don’t break down on us on a very frequent basis,” said Panama City Fire Department Chief Alex Baird.
After waiting nearly a year for these trucks to be built, they were officially able to put one truck in service on Friday and the other in service Monday morning.
“The pumps are updated and all of the electronics are updated,” Baird said. “The ceiling lighting is upgraded to where you can’t miss it now.”
The department is also making progress in hiring new staff members. In the past few weeks, the station hired five new firefighters.
But, Baird says they still have many positions to fill.
“We are still down seven positions and it is a challenge hiring people right now, especially with the COVID-19 issue going on,” Baird said.
The coronavirus has put a pause on their agility testing for potential candidates because of social distancing guidelines and traveling restriction.
“We’re hoping by the summer when things start easing up and we start getting back to normal we will be able to do another agility test and get those seven positions filled,” Baird said.
Baird says when groups are allowed to gather again, the station will hold a push-in ceremony for the trucks and a pinning ceremony for new firefighters.