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Our History

History Timeline


1972-The first ambulance in Suwannee County was purchased by the City of Branford. It was located at the old bath house behind the library and was operated by volunteers.


1973- Live Oak Fire Department bought a 2nd ambulance, which was the first paid staff ambulance in Suwannee County.


1974- The ambulance service became part of the county hospital. It was operated as a Basic Life Support (BLS) unit with 6 paid staff members. Volunteers continued to run the ambulance in Branford.


1985- Suwannee County received its first Advanced Life Support  (ALS) Ambulance, independently run by the county and moved into a portable building behind the hospital.


1994- On October 1st  the Suwannee County Fire Dept was established.  Fire suppression services were performed by 3 paid firefighters (one per shift) and one Fire Apparatus, which was stationed at the forestry house on Hwy 90.


1995- Suwannee County received a grant to build a new station.  Plans were developed to design a station to house the Ambulance Service, Emergency Management, and a fire truck for the Airport.


1998- The County Fire Dept, Rescue, and Emergency Management moved to the new station at the Airport.

 1998- The county added 3 more paid Fire Fighters, establishing 2 staff members per shift.

 2003- In November the County added a third rescue unit.

 2004- In April the County voted to add a fire station in McAlpin. It housed 2 staff members with a rescue unit and a fire engine. The stations were renamed as Station 1 - Live Oak, Station 2 - McAlpin, and Station 3 - Branford.

 2005- In September an engine was added to the Branford station.

 2006- The County began the process of combining Fire Service with Ambulance Services into Suwannee County Fire Rescue. The Board of County Commissioners declared that EMS and Fire had merged and would be under the direction of Scott Racow. The volunteers were also under his chain of command.

 2006- The County bought 5 squads and 2 tankers to put in service. The new equipment was distributed to both volunteer and paid stations.

 2010- In October as a result of a joint effort with the Advent Christian Village, Station 4 was added in Dowling Park with 2 staff members, a  rescue unit, and a fire engine.

2012- In October Fire Rescue hired 6 rookie firefighters/paramedics to staff Station 5 which is going to be located in Wellborn. The Wellborn Community Association was instrumental in securing the land for the new station. Crews operated out of station 51 all so known as Wellborn Volunteer Fire Department while Station 5 was being built.

2013- In May of 2013 work completes on Station 5 and Crews moved into their new station. An open house was held during the Blueberry Festival in June. 

2014- SCFR begins providing interfacility transfers. These services haven't been provided since 1995 and were brought back to help the Board of County Commissioners fund our current budget and help provide for capital outlay. This was part of Chief James Sommers efforts to move the department to become self-sufficient. The BOCC approved a separate budget for the fiscal 2015 year for transfers. An additional rescue unit was added to the fleet and staffed with part-time employees to provide the additional services. The additional rescue unit became available after receiving a grant to replace one of our primary rescue units.    


Today - Currently we have 5 Professional Stations staffed and operated with 43 staff members with 11 Reserve Stations and 65 Reserve Members providing the following services: Fire Suppression, Emergency Medical Services, Non-Emergency Medical Transportation, Community Outreach Programs, New Construction Inspections, Annual Inspections, Public Education, Investigations, Tactical Response Team and a Regional Hazmat Team.


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