People aren't the only things Bay County emergency officials must protect during a storm. Officials evacuate millions of dollars worth of equipment, so after the storm emergency operations are still functional.
Bay County has three hurricane resistant stations, one in the Sandhills community, one in the Bear Creek community, and one on the beach.
The state of the art stations can house eight full size engines, sleep 18 firefighters in bunks and even more on the floor, and feed hundreds from their kitchen, not to mention the other amenities.
The Sheriff's Office bunks up their valuable assets in the sturdy fire house. In the last storm the sheriff’s office moved the choppers to the bear creek station.
Thomas Drive firefighters say they feel safe in the station. In fact, a tornado from Hurricane Ivan already gave the firehouse a good test run.
Firefighters were able to quickly respond to their neighbors. The fire houses also serve as a station where mass care agencies can come in and utilize kitchens to prepare hundreds if not thousands of meals a day to be distributed within impact areas.
All of Bay County's future fire stations will be constructed to sustain hurricane forces.
Until then, firefighters and the equipment assigned to older stations will take refuge in one of the three hurricane resistant structures.