The Alligator Point – St. Teresa Volunteer Fire Department is all suited up for a big celebratory open house this Saturday for its new fire station.
The open house, to be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the new fire station at 101 Tom Roberts Road, will give kids and adults alike to check out the department’s two trucks at the Alligator Point fire house – the main fire engine, a 1994 midship pumper, and a 2005 crash rescue / brush truck.
A third truck, a tanker from the late 1990s, is housed at the satellite station in St. Teresa.
Families will be able to try on firefighter gear, and there’ll be tours of the new 40-foot by 60-foot fire station, which features a training room, and has a knockout wall that could be converted to a third truck bay.
Members of the department’s team of emergency medical technicians and responders will provide blood pressure checks.
There’ll be raffles and gifts, complimentary ice cream and sodas and even a live music performance by Dickie Hosford, front man for Tallahassee’s Tom and the Cats, and an Alligator Point resident who serves with the department as a firefighter and emergency medical responder.
Fire Chief Hugh Hartsfield said the open house will allow the department to boast of two great leaps forward.
Through the power of local support, the $750,000 project is now fully paid for, he said. And the department has an impressive roster of 37 volunteers, including nine firefighters who are certified as either a Firefighter 1 and 2, a number far in excess of many larger volunteer departments across the state.
“That is unbelievable,” Hartsfield said. “The fact that we have nine is amazing. I’m very proud of that; that’s one of the things that speaks to this community.”
In addition, the department has more than 20 members who are either emergency medical technicians, which means they have completed a level of training similar to those who work on ambulances, or emergency medical responders, which means they are trained in CPR and other basic life support techniques.
Hartsfield said he too is pleased that the fundraising goal for completing the roughly $750,000 project, built by Tallahassee-based Riley-Palmer Construction Company, has been met.
“We’ve met our goal and paid it outright, raising about $250,000 in about four months. We own it free and clear,” said the chief. “The community really stood up, they came together and they donated. They’ve seen the level of efforts we’ve done, and all the work we’ve done to grow this department in the last couple years.”
On Saturday, Aug. 5 at the Jay Abbott firehouse on St. George Island, several members of the Alligator Point St Teresa Volunteer Fire Department completed an afternoon of vehicle extrication training hosted by the island’s volunteer fire department and Wakulla County Fire Rescue. The training focused on using cutters, spreaders and ram equipment often combined into the category of “Jaws of Life” to free victims trapped due to a vehicle accident.
Hartsfield said despite temperatures were in the high 90s, and the heat index over 105, dedicated members of the community turned out, many in bunker gear, to increase their skills and knowledge in using these life-saving measures.