Islands Fire Division

Protecting the area of Wilmington, Whitemarsh, Talahi, and Oatland Islands

The Islands Fire Division is dedicated to providing professional service in the areas of fire suppression, rescue, fire prevention, and fire safety education. It is our number one priority to respond in safe and efficient manner in order to protect lives and property of citizens and visitors of the Islands from the ravages of fire and other disasters, natural or man-made. We shall enhance the quality of life of this and future generations by our continued endeavors, leadership, and professional development training.

We are looking for Volunteers

The Islands Division is looking for individuals that would like to help the community by becoming a volunteer firefighter. Come join a an an exciting and rewarding community based program. Certification courses will start in February 2022.


In 1957, Mr. Lamas, Ed Sikes, Mr. Westgate, and Harold Davis sat down and discussed the need for a fire department. Those four men formed the Wilmington Island Volunteer Fire Department. The first station was located on the south end of Wilmington Island, JC Park/Canon Field. The first fire truck was an oil truck donated by Mr. Sikes. This oil truck carried 500 gal of water, exterior front mounted pump, and two 1 ½ hose lines. The process for when a fire was reported was one volunteer would run to the station and sound a large siren to let the rest of the volunteers know there was a call. Most of the time the truck would have to be pushed so they could pop the clutch to get it started.

During the next few years the department was slowly growing gaining more volunteers.  This would soon not be adequate for the growing islands area. In 1973 the Sheraton Hotel insurance company did not recognize Wilmington Island Fire Department as a certified fire department. So WIFD went out to the community and received 100 subscriptions at $50.00 a piece. This subscription was the joining together of WIFD and Southside Fire Department. The subscription would dedicate a fire truck and a paid firefighter to the islands area at all times. Part of that agreement was that the station would be moved to a cottage at the Sheraton Hotel, currently Wilmington Plantation. At this time WIFD had about 30 volunteer firefighters.

Later in 1973, a fire station (current spot of Station 4) was built on Wilmington Island Rd. This location at the time of being built was located in the center of WIFD coverage area. Out of this station 90% of the Islands area could be covered. This station layout was based on a layout of a Jacksonville Fire Station. Original design had arches above the bay doors but with fire trucks getting taller the arches were removed. In 1983, due to the growth of the Island area Station 8 was added on Highway 80. Lastly Station 14 was added in 2008 with the adding of Elba Island, Causton Bluff and Emerald Point to our coverage area.

Islands Fire Department Past Chiefs

John Carson 1970-1971

C.B. Lamar 1972-1974

Charley Lamas 1974-1975

Bob Bryant 1975-1976

Russ West 1976-1984, 1986-1989

Bob cary 1984-1986, 1989-1991

terry west 1991-1994

John ware 1994-2000

jason waterfield 2000-2014

keith hardin 2015-2020

jeff mills 2020-present

Our division by the numbers

Islands Fire Division is a division of Chatham Emergency Services made up of volunteer firefighters that are dedicated to protecting the communities they live in.

Fire Stations

Volunteer Personnel

Pension Eligible Calls (2022)

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We conduct weekly training drills to keep our Firefighters ready for any incident that may arise. Among our training techniques are structure fires, vehicle fires, brush fires, vehicle extrication and many more.



Project Lifesaver is an innovative and rapidly growing program in the United States that provides aid to victims and families suffering with Alzheimer’s Disease and related disorders such as Down’s Syndrome and Autism.

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Our department participates in a number of community events throughout the year. Some of our big events our the annual bringing Santa to town and every two years Open House. Come out and support your local fire department.

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Our department wants to make our community a safer place. We are always in our schools teaching children and parents fire safety. Programs include Stop, Drop, and Roll, Calling 911, and Don’t Play with matches.

Have you ever thought about being a volunteer with the fire department?

Do you have a desire to support and help others, serve at departmental events, public service events or other non-emergency related functions or in emergency operations? THEN WE WANT YOU TO JOIN. Everyone has a talent and a unique perspective which can be applied to the betterment of Chatham County

Our Events For the Community

Days Until Santa's Visit








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Santa is coming to town December 16th and 17th. Come out and enjoy Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the Islands Division elves as they bring gifts to the community.

 Santa is Coming to Town

Each year the Islands Fire Division helps Santa and Mrs. Claus make there way around our community. This is a busy time for Santa, so we can not make it to all neighborhoods. We have teamed up with Publix (Whitemarsh Island) to provide a time at the end of the route on Dec 17th that all kids can come see Santa and send their list to the North Pole.