Portable fire stations coming to Southport and Hiland Park

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - To an average person, they may look like tents, but two new structures coming to Bay County will house fire trucks and other emergency services vehicles.

Two portable fire stations are coming to Bay County communities in need of emergency services. (WJHG/WECP)

Both Southport and Hiland Park lost their fire stations to Hurricane Michael. As a solution, the county has approved the construction of two portable fire stations to meet the needs of both towns.

Structures like these are already in use by Tyndall Air Force Base. They include living quarters like a kitchen that you'd find in a normal fire station and can withstand almost 190 miles per hour winds.

But most importantly, they're mobile.

Bay County's Chief of Emergency Services, Mark Bowen, said, "We wanted something we can move because we know where these are going--that is not the long term best placement of fire stations and so we want to build those stations in the best place for the community and then we can use these for other areas of the county, rural areas that really don't yet have career fire protection."

Currently, neither Southport nor Hiland Park has permanent firefighters in those areas so other county fire stations have been assisting in emergency responses.

"These mobile fire station units are just going to be huge in terms of response times. So response time is the most important thing when we talk about fires or emergencies of any type," said Bay County Commissioner Keith Baker.

Bowen says they expect the fire stations to be completed by Christmas.

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