“This event means a lot to us,” said Michael Murphy, Chief of the Marco Island Fire Rescue Department (MIFRD). “It’s a recognition not of us, but of our community and a representation of Marco Island.”
The two-hour luncheon included a year in review presentation led by Chief Murphy. According to him, in 2017 the station’s call volume went up 8.5 percent with 3,872 911 calls ran. During Hurricane Irma there were 218 storm-related calls and 1,732 hours worked by station personnel.
“The best part—no fire department injuries and no deaths in this community,” Chief Murphy said.
The fire chief went on to discuss the ongoing topic of COPCN or the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, a license allowing Marco Island to have its own ambulance service independent of Collier County.
Currently the county directs all ambulance activity on the island, controlling when and how EMS services are delivered. As it stands now, Marco Island Fire Rescue Department personnel are not permitted to transport patients to the hospital. Instead, they must rely on a county ambulance to arrive on the scene.
Chief Murphy expressed his, and the Marco Island city council’s, desire for a city-controlled ambulance system.
“We can render care, but its only limited care,” he said. “We can only do what the [Collier County] medical director allows us to do.”
Following Chief Murphy’s presentation, MIFRF President Dianna Dohm pre- sented a special version of the foundation’s annual Firefighter of the Year award. Instead of choosing just one firefighter to receive the honor, Dohm and Chief Murphy felt that in the face of all that’s happened recently, the award should be given to every firefighter at the station.
“We could not find one firefighter that we could honor with this award because everybody did such an unbelievable job,” Dohm said.
Firefighter of the Year was presented to all the men and women of the Marco Island Fire Department for their service and dedication during Hurricane Irma. They received a special trophy, inscribed with the names of the 42 firefighters who make up the MIFRD.