In 1908, The City Fathers of Headland saw a need for the organization of a volunteer fire brigade to protect the young town’s new businesses and citizens. This Department was all volunteer and truly the proverbial bucket brigade. The Fire department progressed through the twentieth century as did the town. With advances in technology there also came advances in fire equipment and the department evolved from a bucket brigade to firefighters in trucks and some of the familiar equipment, that with some upgrades, we still use today. With all these technological changes, the structure of the department remained unchanged, strictly volunteer. In 1998 Mayor Donnie Smith and the City Council saw the need for a change in this structure. This was the beginning of the current Headland Fire Rescue.
In February 1998, the volunteer fire department and contracted private ambulance service, no longer served the needs of the citizens and business owners of Headland and the two were merged. Slowly the current system began to take shape. New equipment was purchased, new training methods were incorporated, and plans for a new station were submitted. The Headland Fire Department went through a series of growing pains starting with the station and extending to apparatus. In 2001, the current station was opened on East Main Street greatly improving the creature comforts for on duty personnel and increasing proficiency by having training space and offices, along with the new living quarters. In 2006, a new engine was added replacing the last of the antiquated apparatus the department had operated for so long. As equipment was replaced and personnel were put in place, today’s fire department came into being.
Today, Fire Chief Tony Wilkerson is directing the Headland Fire Department into the twenty-first century. Since 2000, the station has been manned twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. The department operates three advanced life support ambulances, and two class A fire engines, with at least two National Registered Paramedics always on duty. There are five fulltime employees consisting of an EMS Supervisor/Captain and two other Captains who act as Shift Supervisors, rounded out by two Firefighter/Paramedics. Thirty one part-time employees, all of whom are cross trained in firefighting and EMS, assist these five in running all Emergency Medical and Fire Calls. The Headland Fire Department is also home to Homeland Security’s Region Seven Light Rescue Team, which responds to numerous types of recue situations, with a focus on rope rescue. In addition the department operates two complete sets of extrication equipment, commonly referred to as the “Jaws of Life”! The department also operates a brush truck, for outdoor fires, which rounds out the fleet, to make Headland Fire mission capable to respond to any emergency.