PCB to start construction on new fire station soon
The Panama City Beach City Council has approved a bid for the construction of the City’s new 15,000-square-foot fire station. It will be the City’s third station.
The new station will be located at 160 North Nautilus Street, which is a central location between the Municipal Complex and Hutchison Boulevard stations. Its location on the north side of Panama City Beach Parkway also allows firefighters to bypass the Pier Park traffic when answering calls near large residential and commercial developments.
Five firms submitted bids and the Council accepted the lowest cost qualified bid, submitted by Reliant South Construction Group of Panama City. Construction will begin during the first quarter of 2019.
Fire Chief Larry Couch said this station is needed due to the City’s growth and growing call volume.
“Panama City Beach is growing as far as population, visitors and daytime commuters,” Couch said. “Sometimes due to the traffic, firefighters may be delayed 10 minutes or more. In some cases, those are life-saving minutes.”
The department received 4,867 calls for service in 2018, a 250 percent increase since 2000 when the department had less than 1,400 calls all year. During that time frame the City’s population has grown from 8,131 to 13,100 people. Another 17 million people visit PCB each year.
Calls range from motor vehicle accidents and fires to EMS calls and water rescues.
The department has 36 firefighters and is adding 18 new firefighter positions.
The station is being constructed to withstand 150 mph winds and will be large enough to house equipment from all three fire stations during a hurricane. The station will also be home to an advanced communications system that will tie in directly to the Bay County Emergency Operations Center.
As part of the project, a driveway is being constructed connecting the station to the Wastewater Treatment Plant on Gulf Boulevard. This will allow treatment plant and storm water service vehicles an easier in and out to work, utilizing the traffic signal at Nautilus and Panama City Beach Parkway.
The PCB Fire Department is unique in the county in that it is the only station where all firefighters are also EMTs or paramedics. Also, Panama City Beach has one of the lowest (best) ISO ratings in the area and is among the lowest two percent in the nation. The City’s Class 2 rating represents peace of mind for residents and visitors, as it means the City has the proper communications, equipment, staff and water supply to better handle emergency calls. The Insurance Service Office (ISO) Public Protection Classification (PPC) rates departments on a scale of 1 through 10, where 1 is the best rating.
Public Information Officer Debbie Ward can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (850) 233-5100, Ext. 2261.