Photographing the firefighters of the St. Augustine Fire Department
Firefighters Abby Taylor and Ryan Costeira suit up on January 25 at the St. Augustine Fire Department before heading out to a mock call.
A typical firefighter’s shift lasts 24 hours. The firefighters all eat, sleep and live together at the St. Augustine Fire Department (SAFD).
In 2016, the SAFD received an average of 12 calls per shift. “On a typical day, we might receive anywhere between eight and 20 calls though,” said firefighter Abby Taylor.
Every firefighter’s shift begins and ends at 7 a.m. All before breakfast together, the team gets into uniform and attends a morning meeting.
“We’ll have a bunch of different kinds of training throughout the day during our shift, but it’s usually split up by other tasks we gotta do around the station,” said Taylor. Checking off the truck and its equipment is one of the first things the team will do in the beginning of their shift.
The St. Augustine Fire Department will do pre-fire walkthroughs around the city during the day. These walkthroughs include touring different buildings so the firefighters know what they’re headed in to if a call comes in overnight.
Once a call is received, the firefighters will assess which kind of equipment is needed for the emergency. Firefighter Ryan Costeira starts up a power saw during a mock call.
During an emergency call, firefighters must move quickly in order to get to the scene. “Sometimes we’re required to extract the victim of a vehicle accident from their car with the chainsaws,” said Taylor.
“My favorite part of the job is the camaraderie,” said Taylor. “The team spends all day and night together, so we get really close.”
“It stinks when someone’s house catches fire, but it’s exciting when we actually get one,” said Taylor. “It’s what we’re trained for.”