“We have a serious job but we also, behind closed doors, we like to have fun and this is just our personality now out in the open,” says firefighter Rich Gatanis.
It is out in the open thanks to a dance video the firefighters shot, produced and starred in to participate in Good Morning America's 5 Alarm Firefighter Challenge.
“My sister in Georgia tagged me on Facebook saying the contest was going on so I decided to look into it,” said Firefighter Christi Hollins.
To participate in the contest, firefighters had to make a two-minute video using the song “Safe and Sound.” Hollins ask for and got permission from their chief to make the video. She then rallied her fellow firefighters who gladly participated in the contest.
“We submitted on the morning of July 4th and about an hour or so later they called us,” she says.
Southern Manatee Fire is one of nine fire department finalists from around the country in the competition. Their video will air Friday morning and go head to head with another fire department. The department with the most on line votes between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. will move on to the finals.
“We are the only team from Florida so the state of Florida needs to be voting for us,” said Chief Brian Gorski.
“If we win that head to head, they are going to send three of us to New York to compete live on Good Morning America,” explained firefighter Rich Gatanis who shot and edited the video.
The winning department will also receive $10,000.
“What the firefighters want to do with that is use it toward training. We do a lot of training but it would give them opportunity for specialized training,” said Gorski.
With the national spotlight shining on their dance skills you may think they would be tempted to give up firefighting for a more flashy career.
“No, I am going to stick with firefighting,” said Hollins with a laugh.
“We've had so much fun with this, so much publicity, win or lose it has been a great run.”
Voting will be open Friday from 8 am until 3pm at https://gma.yahoo.com/