Marco Island approves hiring three more firefighters

Lance Shearer/Eagle Correspondent
Fire-Rescue Chief Mike Murphy presents the rationale for the new boat. Marco's new city council held a special meeting Wednesday afternoon, considering and ultimately leaving untouched the previous council's approval of a new fire-rescue vessel for the island.

Photo by LANCE SHEARER // Buy this photo

Lance Shearer/Eagle Correspondent Fire-Rescue Chief Mike Murphy presents the rationale for the new boat. Marco's new city council held a special meeting Wednesday afternoon, considering and ultimately leaving untouched the previous council's approval of a new fire-rescue vessel for the island.

Marco Island City Council unanimously voted Monday to hire three more firefighter-emergency service technicians after seeing a 26 percent increase in emergency calls over the past two years as the island continues to grow.

The addition of one firefighter per shift, a yearly cost of $224,784, means Marco Island Fire Rescue Department will improve its response time and reduce reliance on outside agencies responding.

After voting Sept. 30 with the rest of council to remove the positions Chief Mike Murphy sought, Councilman Bob Brown admitted he’d held up the vote last fall and felt responsible.

"We’re under an obligation to take care of everyone on Marco Island and everyone who visits Marco Island," Brown said just before the 6-0 vote. "… I want to be the guy that gets things moving forward."

Councilman Joe Batte also had urged his fellow council members to support the plan after some expressed concern over the cost.

"We can save money in other areas, but you can’t save money on the protection and service of your people," Batte said.

The addition of three firefighters comes just after Collier County commissioners agreed to provide a seasonal ambulance on the island. Service began Saturday, four days after commissioners approved a temporary plan to improve response times countywide. That vote also approved an Isles of Capri ambulance responding to Marco calls if a Marco ambulance is busy with another call.

Murphy told council the seasonal ambulance wasn’t enough.

"We’ve seen a dramatic increase in our calls," he said.

Murphy’s presentation showed that for 528 times last year, there was an overlap of two calls, and there were three calls simultaneously 122 times. Last month, two calls came simultaneously 56 times, and three incidents occurred concurrently 17 times.

Murphy also said fire trucks are tied up on emergency medical scenes while waiting for an off-island ambulance. Of 464 medical emergencies, 117 — or one out of four — involved response by an off-island ambulance, which can take nine to 29 minutes, his presentation showed.

"We’re a high-rise community," Murphy said, noting 25,000-30,000 cars cross the bridge onto the island daily. "We have an elderly population base on this island and we’re seeing more strokes. … Our population base is growing."

Records show there has been a 10 percent increase in calls in fiscal 2014, and a 10 percent jump in mutual aid requests by other agencies needing additional units. Murphy also noted the city needs to keep up with operating standards.

Residents also urged council to approve hiring the three firefighters.

"Your obligation is to provide for the safety of the community," local gadfly Bill McMullan told council.

Under the approved plan, a quick response vehicle will be used to respond to emergency calls, reducing wear and tear on aerial and other engines.

The new employees would enable the department to staff the quick response vehicle 24/7, improve staffing deficiencies, reduce the response of the Tower 50 extension ladder truck to medical emergencies, improve that truck’s longevity, lower the aerial maintenance costs by $31,000 this fiscal year, and enable Marco to reduce dependency on other agencies.

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Comments » 11

Tom_Massie writes:

We are going to need a larger ambulance corp. if the Marriott gets its way.

How many more passing out from getting drunk or auto accidents will the new convention center provide us with?

CopWatch writes:

Chief Murphy is adding staff to protect the islands citizens. On the other hand over at the Pig Pen, staff are leaving in droves. Leadership???????????

GorgonZola writes:

"Your obligation is to provide for the safety of the community," local gadfly Bill McMullan told council.
Isn't anyone else sick to death of this know-it-all drone, AKA Mr. Faye Biles? All he does is repeat what has been said and stand around like a pompous self-important pigeon. Personal speaker and mouthpiece for Councilor Sacher, does anyone really need him to show the way? I hope someone googles his history.

CopWatch writes:

in response to CopWatch:

Chief Murphy is adding staff to protect the islands citizens. On the other hand over at the Pig Pen, staff are leaving in droves. Leadership???????????

Proper Pig Etiquette

CHINA, Maine – Police responding to reports of screaming coming from a home in the town of China didn't find a victim of domestic violence as they feared, but they did find one amorous pig.

State police say a woman called last week after hearing what she believed to be a fight coming from a neighbor's home. The caller said she heard screaming and thought she was hearing a domestic assault.

The Morning Sentinel reports that four state troopers responded and talked to the neighbor.

The neighbor explained that she raises pigs and the screaming was coming from an overjoyed male pig that had been placed in a pen with five sows in heat.

Police said there was no assault and no disturbance "other than the screaming male pig."

YouAreWrong writes:

GorgonZola, right on the money about Bill McMullen but an insult to call him Mr. Fay Biles, she has class and a storied history of service. Here's his: http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/1...

Bob Brown, rotund mental midget and unelected Batte shill, will provide votes Mr. Biles needs. YouAreWrong that Councilor Sacher is a part of this group. Sachmo has some integrity. Some, mind you, not a lot. Remember, Sachmo voted with Hoenig and Kiester to examine the very smelly Brian Milk firing and "Who me?" Joe Irving change of mind.

happyhorowitz34145 writes:

I finally have to say....I like how Double Dip Murphy gets whatever he wants !!!
A $400K fire boat when no one is paying attention !
Three more added to his overweight staff !
Multi million dollar renovation to the Fire station on a bogus mold inspection !
The new boat is unwarranted, he was able to add staff when he was originally denied extra staff when he was justifying a "WATER TANK TRUCK", and the removal of the "MOLD" from the fire station will really only cost about $4K, but watch what Double Dip does with the rest of the money!!!

happyhorowitz34145 writes:

And here comes $200K for a "NEW" first response truck !!!

CopWatch writes:

Federal judge rules drivers allowed to flash headlights to warn of speed traps. Upon learning this Hunter soiled his Depends.
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/...

CopWatch writes:

Florida Governor To Investigate Panel That Polices The Police

leoaffairs.com

harrisbill239#279036 writes:

Pretty slick. The Council asked Murphy during budget meetings which did he want, the QRV vehicle or to hire 3 FF/EMT personnel. He chose the QRV, now he comes back asking again for the 3 FF/EMT's, and they approve the hiring. As Honecker said in the Council meeting, the next step will be for Murphy to say, well now that I have 3 more people, I don't have any place to bunk them, so you MUST approve the fire station expansion so that I have someplace for them to sleep. Murphy knows how to manipulate them - maybe he should run for City Council. But wait, he wouldn't make as much money and wouldn't be in the driver's seat then. But then, I figure that the money to pay the 3 new salaries can come from the 3 police officers that just resigned, and the one policeman that just retired, and from the one that is trying his dead level best to get placed on disability, retroactive back to October the 1st, 2013. Why the heck would we make a disability ruling back dated 4 months? If the man is truly disabled, make it effective at the end of the month in which the ruling is approved (this month).

tikihut2206 writes:

in response to Tom_Massie:

We are going to need a larger ambulance corp. if the Marriott gets its way.

How many more passing out from getting drunk or auto accidents will the new convention center provide us with?

You really think that the Marriot getting larger is going to cause people drinking more, passing out, and getting into car accidents...really I live by the Marriot and I have never seen people falling down drunk or getting into car accidents...maybe other bars..but seriously if u don't want expansion of Marriot don't use that as an excuse....

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