A Brief Historical Timeline
Originating as a group of concerned, civic-minded, citizens and military personnel, living on St. Simons Island and Sea Island drawn together with a common goal. This goal, the protection of life and property was the originating force that was to become the underlying mission for the St. Simons Island Volunteer Fire Department.
ISLAND VOLUNTEER FIREMEN SOUGHT
Following is the original ad for St. Simons Island volunteers appearing in The Brunswick News, January 19,1952.
The St. Simons Island Volunteer Fire Department is now being organized, Don McCaskill, committee chairman, announced today. Applications are being taken from men who reside on St. Simons. Membership in the organization will be limited to 25 members. Applications will be considered in the order received and those desirous of being appointed to membership should make application immediately, Mr. McCaskill said. Forms may be obtained from Mr. McCaskill at the Malcolm McKinnon Airport Fire Station or Ronald Bankston, J. M. Kent, Billie Strother and Bob West, who compose the organizing committee.
Established February 2, 1952, the St. Simons Island Volunteer Fire Department was created to protect the life and property of the residences of the St. Simons Island water district, Sea Island, and the surrounding areas.
Volunteers were the backbone of the fire department. At the first meeting, there were 75 fire volunteers who signed up. This number was carefully screened down to 50 regulars, which was divided as follows: 25 regulars first class, five fire-policemen, three housemen, and 17 apprentices.
The St. Simons Island Fire Departments' first fire station, located at 1211 Demere Road, was constructed and dedicated in 1952. This station served what was then the St. Simons Island water district and provided additional aid to the engine located on Sea Island.
Some of the department's first fire engines operated out of the fire station on Demere Road. One of the first fire engines, Engine 32, is still in service today as a parade truck and can be seen at many local functions.
The first 2-way radio communication for The St. Simons Island Fire Department and Glynn County was licensed and put into use in the 1950s.
The 1960s brought the need for additional expansion and fire protection Construction of new fire station on the mainland. With the completion of the new Ballard fire station on the mainland in 1964, the St. Simons Island Fire Department became The Glynn County Fire Department. The Ballard fire station then became, and to this day remains, the headquarters for the Glynn County Fire Department.
With the creation of the Glynn County Fire Department, the St. Simons Island Volunteer Fire Department along with the creation of the Ballard Volunteers became divisions of the Glynn County Fire Department.
The 1970s saw the construction of Station 4, located on Frederica Road, and the commissioning of new apparatus, many of which are still in service today. Additionally, the 1970s saw the beginning of the St. Simons Island Volunteer Fire Departments' fundraiser, the fire department calendar.
The 1980s brought the construction and completion of the new four-lane F. J. Torras Causeway connecting St. Simons Island, to the mainland. The 1980s saw the commissioning of several new pieces of apparatus, many of which are still in service today.
In 1983 the department responded to one of the communities largest fires on record, the Brunswick Mall. Personnel from the Glynn County Fire department assisted Brunswick Firefighters in the extinguishment of a fire that took nearly 24 hours to extinguish.
With the completion of the new four-lane F. J. Torras Causeway in the 1980s, the 1990s have brought additional development and increased property values to St. Simons Island and Sea Island.
Additional staffing allows for the department to man all on-line apparatus with career personnel. One such piece of apparatus, a 1987 Ladder Truck, located at Station 4, was manned and operated exclusively by St. Simons Island Volunteers until 1997. During this, 10 year time period the Volunteers responded with this apparatus to all structure fires on St. Simons Island, Sea Island, and around Glynn County.
2000's to Present
The county's answer to this growth can be seen in the construction and operation of several new fire stations. One on St. Simons Island, Station 7, located on Lawrence Road near the northern end of St. Simons Island was dedicated March 24, 2000. And one on the mainland, Station 8, located at the northern end of Spur 25 and dedicated September 19, 2002
In 2004, Glynn County was the host county for the G-8 Summit. Department personnel, both career, and volunteer stepped up to the plate with increased training in preparation for this event. fortunately for all involved, the event went off without incident and was considered a success by all involved.
In 2006, the department stepped up our ability to respond to incidents involving hazardous materials. During its' first year, the Haz-Mat unit responded to two separate incidents and successfully secured the incident until the materials could be disposed of properly.
Currently, the Glynn County Fire Department provides personnel and equipment to aid the Glynn County fire department in providing its service to the citizens of Glynn County, St. Simons Island, Sea Island, and our neighboring counties as needed.
It is with your continued support we will continue to provide our community with the unfailing dedication and level of fire protection that you deserve. We are always looking for new members who may have something to offer their community. We are always seeking out safer and better means to provide the life safety and fire protection services that are needed as safely and rapidly as possible.