SWFD wants more full-time employees all year round

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SOUTH WALTON Fla. (WMBB) — After months of beach safety meetings, some decisions have been made regarding the best ways to keep visitors and beach-goers even safer.

Those ideas were presented to the Walton commissioners Tuesday, South Walton Fire Rescue made additional suggestions, which the board reviewed well and they want to move forward.

The fire department has struggled this year filing 65 to 70 part-time seasonal lifeguards to fill the 26 miles of beach. 

Fire Chief Ryan Crawford voiced this concern, as well as the need for pay, raises, he said the goal is to have a hybrid model.

“Currently we have seven full-time supervisory personnel in our program, and we have board approval from my board of fire commissioners to expand that to 14 under the current scope of the contract,” said Crawford. “And what we are hoping to do is expand that to 26 to give us a full-time employee and supervisor for each tower location, and then the supervisory personnel commentary with that.”

Crawford wants to see this addition as soon as possible, the end goal for sure being before the next busy season which starts at the beginning of March. He also discussed an increase in raise which will be made ironed out along with assistance from the tourist development council soon as well.

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