Emergency response enjoys the moment


First responders from north Okaloosa County and their family members enjoy off-duty time during a get-together at the North Okaloosa Fire District station Oct. 7.

CRESTVIEW, Fla., Oct. 7, 2019–Nothing brings people together like pulled pork, hotdogs and a table full of desserts.

That’s what North Okaloosa Fire District Fire Chief Brian Howe had in mind as his team kicked off the inaugural quarterly first responder family get-together at the north Crestview station Monday evening.


Pork is “pulled” in preparation for the evening’s get-together Monday. (Shelly Chestnut)

The off-duty evening was designed to be a morale boost for his team and a way for members of north Okaloosa County fire, emergency medical and law enforcement to come together for an event other than an emergency.

“We used to do family things like this at one time,” he said. “We’re trying to get this started again.”

All north Okaloosa County fire units–Holt, Baker, Dorcas, Almarante, Laurel Hill and Crestview–were invited to participate and bring their families, as well Okaloosa County EMS and the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.

For some though, duty called.

Baker Fire District and units from Crestview were delayed while they responded to emergency calls.

A mutual support agreement among the north county firefighting units mean everyone backs each other up when needed. Case in point, July’s lightning strike fire┬áthat destroyed the First Baptist Church of Milligan’s building had firefighting units from Baker, Holt, North Okaloosa, Crestview and Eglin Air Force Base battling the blaze.

“We train together but we never get to relax together,” said Holt Fire Chief Scott Chestnut who is also a member of the North Okaloosa Fire District.


Holt and North Okaloosa fire districts back each other up when needed during emergency calls.

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