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Fire district preps for “meat” of season

February 1, 2012
By BOB PETCHER, , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

A third ambulance has been recently added on a full time basis until May to the armor of the Fort Myers Beach Fire Control District.

The additional emergency medical service vehicle will be used to compensate an increase in call volume witnessed by Beach fire fighters during tourism season from January to May.

Chief Mike Becker stated that calls have been coming in at all times of the day.

"There was no consistency or rhyme to those increase of demands. They are constant across the board and growing," he said.

Becker said calls have increased by nearly 200 in each of the past two years. Fire district documents show a total of 2011 calls (846 during season months) were made in 2010, while 2190 calls came in 2011 (963 during season).

"Collectively, we are seeing a service demand increase of almost 400 calls since 2009," he said. "The best use of resource was to maintain our ladder staffing with just two people on it and use that third person to help staff our ambulances. It does put EMS resources out there more readily because 90 percent of our demand is EMS related."

Of the 201 total calls the Beach fire district received in December 2011, 165 of them were listed under emergency medical services and 131 were patients who needed to be transported.

Becker said the ambulance addition did not require FMB Fire Board action. It is regarded as an administrative direct action due to the increase service demand that comes with the increased population on Estero Island.

"The peak season is upon us and delays are likely," Becker told his fire board Tuesday (Jan. 24) evening at the taxing authority's regular monthly meeting. "The District has no clear predictability to service demands, but approximately 43 percent of service demands occur over the next three months."

Fire board tables request for new inspector software

A contract to acquire new fire inspector software will have to wait until the FMB Board of Fire Commissioners hold a work session on the subject. A decision to table the request was approved by a narrow 3-2 decision by the commissioners.

The Florida Fire Chiefs' Association has given directives to the six southern districts to look into greater emphasis in collaboration of service, according to Lt. Ronald Martin. The MobileEyes Project has been a personal project to the district's lone fire inspector for 1 years.

"One of the collaborative efforts was inspection and reporting technology. If we purchase this software on our own, it would cost $8,392. Collaboratively, with an agreement with Estero, Iona-McGregor and possibly San Carlos Park, that priced is reduced down to $6,222," said Martin.

MobileEyes, noted as "the best software out there" by Martin, allows the fire inspector to have real time feedback.

"I'll be able to perform the inspection as I'm going. When there is a violation noted under the Florida Prevention Fire Code, I get to check that violation along with a citation of the violation, collect any invoicing or fees associated with the inspection service I'm providing and provide that feedback to the client at point of service," he said. "So, I can email it to the client, print it in the field along with the specific citation under the Florida Prevention Fire Code into that report that they receive."

Although the new software saves the inspector time in putting data into the presently used Fire House system, fire union negotiations and budget restrictions were the reasons for tabling the request.

"I just cannot justify spending anymore money at this time," said Commissioner Ted Schindler.



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