First Ones In, Last Ones Out

By Madison Nualart, Hannah Jones and Alexandra Margelu
DEC 20, 2017

The Plantation Fire Department is the largest volunteer department in the State of Florida. Sixty years ago, this volunteer department was started by residents who needed to protect their property. The Suppression Division is responsible for fighting fires, saving lives, protecting property, and serving the residents of, and visitors to, the City of Plantation. This division is still run strictly by volunteers from the Plantation community. The department currently runs an average of 1,600 calls per year.

Ladder truck.
Photo credits: Madison Nualart

Volunteer Firefighter, Cary Blanchard, who is also the Fire Service Manager for the city, explained that , “The department provides all the training,” for volunteers and, at a minimum, an applicant must have at least “…. a driver’s license and be a high school graduate.” Being a Plantation Volunteer Firefighter is typically a flexible part-time occupation. The Suppression Division is comprised of a diverse group of volunteers, some of whom are full time employees in various fields, and others are college students. Firefighter Jennifer Canal RT, CNMT, is currently a nuclear medicine technologist at Broward Health General. Ms. Canal is a perfect example of someone who has a full-time job but still prioritizes helping her community.

Cary Blanchard and Tery Echevarria walking the 4th of July parade.
Photo: Steve Blanchard

Mrs. Blanchard informed Raider Review that in order to maintain their skills “[The firefighters] train for about 10 to 12 hours a month with the station.” This highlights the volunteers’ commitment to providing top-notch service to their community. The St. Thomas Aquinas community appreciates all of the volunteers who contribute so much to organizations like the Plantation Fire Department.