About Fire Rescue

Mission Statement

Dedicated to the highest standards of professionalism in public safety and life-saving services with the commitment to serve, ability to perform and courage to act.

Core Values

Professional Excellence

We are public safety professionals. We believe in the pursuit of professional excellence and the highest professional standards for our department, demonstrating positive character, attitude, competency, and conduct. We are full service in our scope and responses to calls for help—fire, emergency medical, special operations, and prevention. Ensuring a state of constant readiness, we believe that continuous training in all aspects of our career supports professional excellence.

Integrity

We serve with integrity. We are held to high standards of trust placed in us by the public and our profession. We value this trust and know that self-discipline is a foundation for our behaviors. As an integral component of our core values, we will employ the highest ethical standards, demonstrating honesty, truth, and ethical behavior.

Communication

We believe in open and cohesive communication. We believe in effective communication to support the performance of our organization. We share a common interest and commitment, but may see things from a variety of perspectives. Effective communications within our organization builds trust and respect, encourages learning, and helps to accomplish shared goals.

Diversity and Respect

We believe in diversity and respect our fellow members and those in our communities. St. Johns County is diverse, and we will treat everyone with the highest degree of dignity, equality, and trust. We respect all individuals and value their contributions. We will respect the diversity of our community by providing compassionate and superior service to all.

Health and Safety

Our very lives depend on our health and safety. Our health and our safety are intertwined to fulfilling our fire rescue missions. We understand as public safety professionals that we may become called upon to place ourselves between harm and those endangered. We accept risk to rescue a life that can be saved; we will not engage in patently unsafe actions when no life is endangered. We will support one another in developing a healthy attitude for the department and its’ personnel as a commitment to overall well-being and operational readiness.

Teamwork and Leadership

Teamwork is our building block towards success. We believe in the collective value of supporting our team. We seek out the input of all team members at all levels of our organization. Working together will meet our common goals. Knowledge, skills, and abilities are cultivated through our team by our collective leadership. We all have a responsibility to mentor one another.

Community

Service by our profession and through civic responsibility. We have the ability to both save and change lives. Calls for help can take many forms. We are committed to active participation in our county by fulfilling our job responsibilities and strengthening our community involvement. Our courage, resources, knowledge, and commitment can be used for good both on and off our calls.

Innovation

Tradition enhanced and improved through innovation. Innovation can modernize and improve our service to our citizens and impact positively the safety of our members. We are committed to advancing change through innovative and progressive thinking that will benefit those that we serve.

History

Fire Rescue Department History

Prior to 1974, limited fire protection was provided to St. Johns County residents through an interlocal agreement with the City of St. Augustine. The St. Augustine Fire Department responded to structure fires that occurred in the unincorporated areas within ten miles of the city limits. Fire protection was provided to the remainder of the county by ten volunteer fire departments, all of which operated as independent agencies. None of these departments received financial assistance from the county, instead relying strictly on donations. In 1974 a taxing ordinance was adopted for the purpose of funding capital purchase and operating costs for the counties volunteer fire departments.

This system remained in place until 1995 when population growth and increased demand for service initiated several studies of the fire departments and their ability to provide emergency services. The final report included numerous recommendations regarding the administration and delivery of emergency services within the County. The major components of the plan included creating a formal relationship between the County and the volunteer organizations and the consolidation of the County’s Emergency Medical Services with the fire service. The plan was implemented in October of 1997 when forty-eight (48) EMS paramedics cross-trained as firefighters and joined seven (7) career firefighters, thereby creating the County’s first career staff of fifty-five (55) firefighter/paramedics.

The volunteer fire departments continued to face the challenges of greater demands for service, increasing population, a changing risk environment, and stringent training mandates. As the numbers of emergency responses continued to increase, there were decreasing numbers of volunteers available to respond to calls. Recognizing that the County had outgrown its ability to depend on a volunteer force, the Department began staffing engines and stations throughout the county with career firefighters.

The Department continued to be faced with the challenges of enhancing the existing services, while addressing the growth and development throughout the county on a budget that was originally intended to fund a volunteer service. The Department began developing a Master Plan in 2002 to address enhancement of existing services and plan for the impact of expected growth on its future ability to provide fire protection and emergency medical services.

This plan, which addressed staffing, facilities, equipment, and 911 emergency communications, was presented to the Board of County Commissioner’s in 2003. The Board approved this plan in an effort to fund St. Johns County Fire Rescue and provide for the mission of public safety. As of this date, St. Johns County Fire Rescue currently employs over 300 professional firefighters staffing 17 Fire Stations across St. Johns County.

Fire Chiefs
Acting Chief McGee

Acting Fire Rescue Chief McGee

McGee has been with St. Johns County Fire Rescue for 25 years, starting as a firefighter, and was promoted to various ranks in the department. He has served as Battalion Chief for the past 11 years.

Chief Prevat

2019-2022 Fire Rescue Chief Jeffrey A. Prevatt

Chief Prevatt began working part-time for St. Johns County Emergency Medical Services in the fall of 1980, completing training as an Emergency Medical Technician in 1981. He officially started his career full-time for St. Johns County on February 1, 1982, becoming certified as a Paramedic in 1983 and a Firefighter in 1985. 

Chief Prevatt advanced through the St. Johns County Fire Rescue ranks, serving as a Lieutenant, Captain, Battalion Chief, Deputy Chief, and Assistant Chief. He also worked part-time for several years for the emergency helicopter service at Baptist Medical Center in Jacksonville.  During his tenure, Chief Prevatt has been the manager of multiple major projects and progressive improvements. Also, he was the project manager and department representative on the $25 million 800 MHz county-wide interoperable radio system. He coordinated the research, development, and implementation of this highly prioritized public safety project, finalized in 2013. 

In 2019, Chief Prevatt was appointed Fire Rescue Chief, managing, and overseeing all aspects of Fire Rescue Services.

Chief Shank

2011-2018 Fire Rescue Chief Carl A. Shank

Chief Carl A. Shank was directly involved in delivering emergency services in St. Johns County for over 25 years. Chief Shank began as a volunteer in the Palm Valley area then transitioned to a full-time St. Johns County employee in January 1987. 

Appointed Operations Chief in 2001, Chief Shank helped plan and build the re-organization of Fire Rescue services countywide. In 2008, he was appointed to the position of Assistant Chief, which he held until he assumed the roles and responsibilities as the St. Johns County Fire Rescue Fire Chief in December 2011. Chief Shank was involved in the professional development of the countywide emergency response capabilities, the statewide emergency response system, and his personal career development throughout his career. 

Chief Shank was instrumental in developing and implementing the Department’s progressive Marine Rescue program and established an exceptional emergency service in fire suppression, EMS, hazardous materials response, urban search and rescue, and water rescue.

Chief Hall

2001-2011 Fire Rescue Chief Robert Hall Jr.

Chief Robert Hall Jr. was at the forefront of public safety leadership for the majority of his career. His career began over 30 years ago as one of the 1st Paramedics in the State of Florida. Chief Hall rose through the ranks serving in many different roles and becoming St. Johns County Fire Rescue Chief in 2001. Chief Hall supervised one of the fastest-growing departments in Florida. Since 2001, Chief Hall had overseen the expansion of Fire Rescue from a small career Fire Rescue system supported primarily by volunteers into the full-service career department that operates today.

During his time as Chief, Fire Rescue opened multiple new fire stations in the fastest growing sections of the county in addition to fully staffing an additional 14 pre-existing volunteer stations with career personnel. Fire Rescue hired over 150 operations personnel and associated fire truck, ambulance, and equipment purchases with this expansion.

His leadership and public safety planning have allowed SJC Fire Rescue to successfully expand and grow into one of the best public safety systems in Northeast Florida.

Honor GuArd
St. Johns County Fire Rescue Honor Guard

The St. Johns County Fire Rescue Honor Guard was established in 2014 following the line of duty death of Captain Kenny Krulish in 2013. The Honor Guard consists of twenty dedicated department personnel from the rank of Firefighter to Battalion Chief. Perspective members serve a one year probation prior to becoming full members of the Honor Guard.

St. Johns County Fire Rescue Honor Guard members provide ceremonial honors at funerals of active and retired members of St. Johns County Fire Rescue as well as other fire departments and agencies throughout the area.

Additionally, the Honor Guard provide ceremonial duties at recruit graduations, annual award ceremonies, station openings, parades, and memorials. St. Johns County Fire Rescue Honor Guard contingents have been privileged to participate at the IAFF Fallen Firefighter Memorials in Colorado Springs, CO, the National Fallen Firefighter Memorial in Emmetsburg, PA and the Florida State Fallen Firefighter Memorial in Ocala, FL.