By Coastal Breeze News Staff
Collier County Bureau of Emergency Services staff has announced that construction of the long-awaited Public Safety Center fire station facility on Alligator Alley is nearing completion. Located at Mile Marker 63, the county anticipates beginning services by the fourth quarter of this year.
First approved in 2011 by the Florida Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott, the fire state will be operated by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). The Board of County Commissioners (BCC) and the Bureau had pursued a fire station and Public Safety Center for many years in an effort to decrease response times to vehicle mishaps and other emergencies on desolate sections of I-75 in Collier County.
Legislation passed in 2014 (HB 7175) provided that the FDOT will build the facility as originally legislated, and fund operations from July 1 of this year through no later than June 30, 2018. Collier County will identify a funding source for operations beginning July 1, 2018, per most recent law and the county’s Interlocal Agreement with FDOT.
Funding for the equipment and personnel was just recently made available to Collier County, but Bureau of Emergency Services Director Dan Summers has been planning for staffing, equipment and commissioning of the station throughout the last year. Apparatus and equipment orders will be placed in the next several weeks.
Preliminary equipment for the station will include a quick-response “wildland” fire vehicle, a high capacity multi-purpose tanker and a heavy-duty rescue truck for extrications. The vehicle delivery schedule ranges from four to 11 months after the orders are placed.
Fire rescue vehicles will be staffed with firefighter-emergency medical technicians and a paramedic to provide Advanced Life Support (ALS) using advanced medical supplies and a heart monitor defibrillator. The fire rescue station has a “helispot” for medical and fire service helicopter operations, as well as a standby generator. Additional equipment may be needed to provide emergency services to hikers and campers along the nearby Old Florida Trail.
To assure the fire facility is prepared to provide emergency services soon, Collier County has arranged a fire truck rental while other fire and rescue resources are being acquired and manufactured according to order specifications.
Collier County expects to begin services in the October/November timeframe, or earlier if the equipment arrives and the building reaches final completion.