Deadline nears for applications to manage Capri fire district

Ann Hall

The time has come to close the window for applications to take over the management and operations of the Isles of Capri Fire-Rescue District. No more applications will be accepted after Thursday, April 16.

"To date, I think the county has received applications from both Greater Naples and Ochopee Fire Districts," Wayne Martin, operations manager, told members of the Fire Advisory Committee on April 9. "There may be others."

The timeline for receiving, reviewing and approving management agreements willbe closely monitored in the budgetary process. Workshops will held in May, with the Collier County Commission beginning negotiations in June to conclude with a final decision. A contract will then be awarded by July 14 in concert with the final date for the new fiscal year's tax-rate adoption.

Ochopee Chief Alan McLaughlin presented the advisory panel proposed budgets for fiscal year 2016-2017 -- one that was based on $2 per $1,000 taxable value and a second based on $2.50 per $1,000.

The latter budget included money to hire a full-time fire chief, maintaining the current level of personnel. A motion was made by Matt Crowder and seconded by Dan Herrington to table the recommendations for the 2016-2017 budget and continue building a budget at $2.50 per $1,000 valuation.

Loss of rescue boat

In addition to the management and funding for the ICFD, the topic of losing the ICFD Fire/Rescue Boat 90 is still an issue at the forefront.

"Boat 90 has been declared salvage and will be sold at auction, hopefully intact – boat, motors, and trailer, to give us the most money in return that can go back into our operational funds," said Martin.

Marine services are now being temporarily provided with an EMS boat housed at Capri Fire Station 90.

"The Bureau of Emergency Services is currently working on a Marine Fleet Management Plan," said Martin. "A boat on Capri is definitely needed as we get one or two marine calls every week.

"The management plan calls for a new level of transporting patients, not a retrofitted boat, but a new one with an under-cover area for transport during inclement conditions," said Martin.

Ambulance service

Walter Kopka, Collier County emergency management services chief, was invited to address an even more popular discussion item -- how ambulance service is scheduled.

At the Advisory Committee meeting on April 9, Kopka went into great detail to help the committee members as well as the residents present to understand where and how ambulances are assigned and housed.

Advisory Committee member Donna Dolan was particularly concerned about district being left without support when both the ambulance and the ALS fire truck were out on a call.

"An ambulance is not meant to be the first to respond on the scene," said Kopka. "The goal is to get help to a person as quickly as possible so the order of response is usually this: first law enforcement and Advanced Life Support or Basic Life Support-equipped fire trucks (ALS or BLS), and then Transport, or ambulance.

"The closest ambulance is dispatched no matter where it is stationed," said Kopka.

A new computer program available soon will be used to create a "move-up for us here," said Martin.

"Greater Naples and Marco Island have been working on this," said Martin.

"Move-up" means that when an emergency vehicle has been dispatched, another from another station is moved in or at least closer to the station left short of emergency support.

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