Our Mission

"Prompt, Competent, Caring Response in Time of Need"

Our Vision

"Continually Improve the Safety and Wellbeing of Our Community"

Core Values


We value progressive leadership behavior that demonstrates an ongoing commitment to personal and professional development of all of our members, encourages participation in decision-making, setting goals and objectives; and leads and motivates others by example. Our leadership model will continue to build trust, loyalty and credibility through professional actions and a positive and caring attitude.


We recognize our members as the cornerstone of our success and will strive to provide a supportive and respectful environment that provides meaningful and challenging work and opportunities to acquire valuable knowledge, skills, and abilities. We know well-functioning teams of people are more effective than individuals working separately; our lives depend on it. We believe individuals have the capacity to lead, and our organization values teamwork at all levels. Teamwork and shared leadership are integral to our organization, and we will seek out and value the opinions of our members.


We understand the trust placed in us by the public and our colleagues is integral to the performance of our duties. We are committed to honest and ethical behavior, and will hold ourselves accountable to these values.

Community Service and Involvement

We believe we have a duty to demonstrate our loyalty and respect to those we serve by involving ourselves in the communities where we work. Our responsibility is to protect life, property, and the environment. We are committed to fulfilling our responsibility and to deepening our involvement in the community we serve. No request or inquiry will go unanswered.

The History of SWFD

The South Walton Fire District was created by the Walton County Board of Commissioners on August 9, 1983 through Walton County Ordinance 1983-06. This Ordinance was first updated on January 23, 1997 with Walton County Ordinance 1997-03 and then ammended on March 25, 1997 with Walton County Ordinance 1997-08. These ordinances were codified by the South Walton Fire District's enacting Charter in House Bill No. 1919 Chapter 2000-491 and signed by the Governor of Florida on June 14, 2000. Chapter 2000-491 was amended on April 25, 2007 with House Bill 1607 Chapter 2007-316

SWFD By-Laws

  • SWFD By-Laws

  • SWFD Annual Reports

  • 2016 Annual Report

  • 2015 Annual Report

  • 2014 Annual Report

  • SWFD Budget Information

    SWFDs fiscal year period is from October 1st - September 30th.
  • 2016-2017 Adopted Budget
  • 2016-2017 Tentative Budget
  • 2015-2016 Adopted Budget

  • SWFD Audit Information

  • SWFD Audit Report 2016

  • SWFD Retirement Information

  • Florida's Defined Benefit Pension Plans
  • Historical Returns and Asset Allocations
  • Compliance Report

  • Response Area

    South Walton Fire District is responsible for fire protection, Emergency Medical Services, public fire education, and prevention duties for an area of 84 square miles within Walton County, Florida.

    This area runs from the Okaloosa/Walton County Line on the west, to the Walton/ Bay County Line on the east, and from the Choctawhatchee Bay (Intracoastal Waterway) north, to the Gulf of Mexico on the south.

    Included in this area are 26 miles of beaches and 26 miles of inland waterways. The population of South Walton ranges from 20,000 to over 100,000 during the tourist season.

    SWFD Administrative Staff

    The Fire District Administrative staff provides leadership, long-range planning, budget development, financial management, personnel and payroll administration, interdepartmental coordination, grants/project management, information technology coordination and general customer service, in order to ensure the efficient daily operations of the Fire District.


    Richard G. Talbert joined the SWFD in April 2007 with over 30 years of experience in the fire service. Chief Talbert provides progressive leadership to our District, and a commitment to the community and the personal and professional development of our members. In 2009, Chief Talbert received the Florida Fire Chief of the Year award, the most important honor the Florida fire service can bestow upon one of its chief executives.


    Assistant Chief Marc Anderson began his fire service career in 1988 as a volunteer firefighter. Chief Anderson joined SWFD in 1998 and promoted through the ranks as Lieutenant, District Chief and currently, Assistant Chief. Chief Anderson is responsible for support services which includes, Fleet and Facility Management, Communications and Information/Technology divisions. Assistant Chief Anderson received the 2009 Fire Chief's Award for his dedication to our District, our members and the community we serve.


    Ryan Crawford joined SWFD in 2001 as a Firefighter/Paramedic. He was promoted to EMS Division Chief in 2006, and Operations Chief in 2011, where he is responsible for fire suppression, emergency medical services, special operations, and emergency management activities of our Fire District. Chief Crawford serves as the District's Infectious Control Officer and Safety Officer, and is a graduate of the Emergency Services Leadership Institute (ESLI).


    Sammy Sanchez, Fire Marshal joined SWFD in 1998. Fire Marshal Sanchez is responsible for all phases of inspections, fire investigations, site and plan reviews, and fire/life safety education. Fire Marshal Sanchez brings 18 years of fire service experience to our District.


    Dr. Pablo joined SWFD as our Medical Director in 2001, when the Fire District began EMS service. A graduate of University of Miami School of Medicine, Dr. Pablo is Board Certified in Emergency Medicine and Pediatric Emergency Medicine. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine and the American College of Emergency Physicians. He is also a member of the National Association of EMS Medical Directors.


    Corey Harned joined SWFD in February 1998 as a Firefighter/ EMT. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1999 and moved up to the District Chief position in 2000. District Chief Harned brings over 20 years experience to his position and is currently working on obtaining his Fire Officer II certification.


    With over 20 years experience in the fire service, District Chief Herb Patterson brings career excellence to our department in both fire and EMS. He has been a committed member of SWFD since May 1999, when he joined our department as a Firefighter/EMT. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 2001, and received his promotion to District Chief in January 2008.


    Mike Thomas joined SWFD as a Firefighter/Paramedic in June 2001. He was promoted to EMS Chief in May 2005 and made a lateral move to District Chief, C-Shift in November 2006. Chief Thomas has over 18 years experience in the fire service, holds an Associate's Degree in Paramedic Science and is currently working on his Bachelor's Degree.


    Robbie joined the SWFD team in May 2008. Robbie, serving as Administrative Assistant, directly supports the Assistant Chief. Robbie is responsible for personnel recordkeeping, recording and transcribing meeting minutes and serves as the Records Management Liaison Officer for SWFD. Robbie received the SWFD Extra Mile Award in 2009 and in 2015 for her dedication and commitment to SWFD core values.


    Carole accepted the position of Fiscal Officer in February of 2012 bringing an extensive amount of experience in a wide variety of disciplines. Carole's responsibilities include paying vendors, preparing District payroll and maintaining the District's financial statements. Carole was the recipient of the Fire Chief's Award in 2015.


    Sterling Strickland joined SWFD in 2016 as the Communications Director. He oversees the daily operations of the districts Emergency Communications Center. He previously worked for 24 years as a Firefighter/ Paramedic in northeast GA, and 19 years as part time as a 911 operator and Quality Assurance Officer. Sterling graduated Lanier Technical College in 1995 with a degree in Paramedic Technology, and also serves as a regional Emergency Medical Dispatch instructor for the International Academy of Emergency Dispatch.


    Beach Safety Director David Vaughan has worked Surf Rescue on the Gulf Coast beaches since 2004. Vaughan joined SWFD in 2011, was tasked as a lead guard in 2013, awarded Lifeguard of the Year for 2014, and promoted from within to Beach Safety Director in 2015. Vaughan coordinates the management of the Beach Safety Program's Public Education and Emergency Medical Service operations. Vaughan holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Miami School of Law.


    Jason Cotton joined SWFD in 2008 as a Firefighter/Paramedic, and was promoted to EMS Captain in November of 2016. Jason has been a paramedic since 1998, and is a former flight paramedic. As EMS Captain, Jason is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the District's emergency medical services including training, QA/QI of reports, ordering supplies, and working with the District's medical director to implement the District's treatment protocols. Jason was awarded the 2015 SWFD firefighter of the year award, and he holds a bachelor's degree in business administration.