Wednesday, April 25th @ 1:00pm - Palm Island Resort Clubhouse WHAT WOULD YOU DO IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY? Medical Emergency? Someone's fallen down? Not breathing? Chest pain? Stop the Bleeding? CPR-Compression? Nearest AED? Patients Medical History? Fire Emergency? Do you live Alone? Gaining Access to your Home? TOT Finders? Are there Pets? Smoke alarms? Fire Suppression Systems? Hurricane Evacuation Information? Secure our homes? Where are Shelters? When to leave? How to assist others? Emergency Apps? Alert Charlotte? 211? Web site? 911 Calls? Should you just go to Station 10? What is your exact address on Island? Does Your family know what to say on a 911 call?
WE HAVE THE ANSWERS! "Ask the Experts" as recommended by our Fire Chief Bill Van Helden. Dee Hawkins - Fire and EMS Public Information Officer for Charlotte County Ellen Pinder - CERT leader (Community Emergency Response Teams) Coordinator and Mitigation Planner for Charlotte County Emergency Management. 911 Coordinator - Do 911 calls pinpoint your location? Cell phones? How to best inform 911 of your on-Island Emergency Location.
Recap of Meeting Regarding Fire Service on the Island February 14, 2018 Reported by Sally Johnson Info Central Guest Speaker: Bill Van Helden, Fire Chief FACTS: New Fire Station
Location: Facility Management Director Dave Milligan has not yet defined where the new location may be. Chief stated they prefer it be north of the bridge and have water access. They cannot use the current building and location because not enough property to accommodate the requirements of the new station and not cost effective (nearly impossible) to retrofit the building to meet current codes, including ADA, wind, space etc.
Design/Size: Ideally will be two story (tilt wall construction); will be able to accommodate up to six firemen/paramedics when emergency situations demand, have a meeting room that can be used as triage facility (Casualty Collection Area) in case of emergency; accessible to water and have capabilities of docking new fire boat. Residents may be able to use community room (will have to wait for approval after building is complete). Designed to be used during Tropical Storms; not hurricanes.
Estimated Time Frame: Expect to take 2-1/2 yrs. However, depends on approvals from all the governmental agencies including FEMA, Corp of Engineers, etc. With no undue delays should be ready in 2019.
Cost: 3.6 Million to be funded thru the Charlotte County Capital Improvement Fund – no additional cost to the island residents. Purchase of land is included in the cost estimates.
Current Location: Too early to determine what will be done with current location/building.
New Fire Boat has been purchased just waiting for Coast Guard approval. It has twin inboard diesels with jet drive and can pump 1250 gallons per minute.
Fire Chief stated in his opinion there is nothing that the residents can do to lower the ISO rating even if the number of full time personnel was increased to 4 and increased the water pressure – the rating is determined by the insurance companies and because this is an island, insurance industry relies very heavily on time it would take to get personnel and equipment to the emergency. Stated that even if barge ran 24/7 it would not affect the rating because of time to load equipment on and off barge.
Staffing: Current budget for 2019 is approximately $600,000 for two personnel, four personnel would increase the cost to $1,200,000 which would be paid for by the residents. Current salaries are based on the average pay for fire fighters throughout the entire county, not actual costs of current employees. Also, we are not charged for administrative fees. Current federal law states in order to fight a fire there must be a minimum of four personnel on site (some fires could require 18 or more), two inside the structure and two outside; however in case of personal safety – they can enter the structure with only two available, and can also begin fighting the fire from the exterior. Fire Chief stated that as soon as a call comes in it not only goes to the Island Station it goes to the nearest fire station and their equipment/personnel are dispatched immediately.
Water Pressure – representative from Bocilla Utilities (Eileen Montanez) was at the meeting and agreed that they would work with the Fire Department to test the flow rate on our hydrants – meeting to be set up to arrange a time.
Dry Hydrants – stated they are very difficult to work with and would not affect rating.