As both a new full-time resident of Marco Island and a member of the “Fire Rescue Foundation”, please accept my letter as rebuttal to the “Letters to the Editor” published on February 12, 2018 (Marco Eagle) and February 14, 2018 (Naples Daily News) questioning the need for Marco Island to have its own EMS/Ambulance Service(s).
Having personally attended recent City Council meetings, it should be clear that the Marco Island Council has voted unanimously to apply for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (COPCN) with both Collier County and State authorities. This should initiate the application process for eventually providing our City with its own EMS and Ambulance Services, in which I am in favor. The fact that the Council continues to do its “due diligence” should not be misconstrued by some that the majority of the Council is negative toward this concept. On the contrary, it is important for our City Council, and indeed all Marco Island residents, to fully question and understand the costs, funding required, infrastructure, manpower, etc. to properly justify the benefits for this important service on a local basis.
My basic understanding of the benefits for adding such a locally controlled EMS/Ambulance Service (compared to the current service that is totally controlled by Collier County) has been made clear by information provided from both an Independent Consultant’s (Fitch and Associates) data driven “Summary Report” for the Marco Island City Council plus discussions with our local Fire Rescue Services. (The “Summary Report” is available on the City of Marco Island Web-site):
- For the 911 calls (about 3,900) on Marco Island in 2017, Collier County provided one full time ambulance and a second ambulance only for 12 hours per day during the season (5-months). Although about 90% of response time was excellent (under 8 minutes), in January 2018 there were 19 calls recorded between 10-19 minutes. Of equal importance, over 50% of the time transport to the hospital took approximately 60 minutes or longer.
- The proposed addition of three Ambulances strategically located around Marco Island, and under the control of Local EMS First Responders, will no doubt improve the current response time. This is most significant for our community which continues to grow significantly in population on an “all-year-round” basis, while still maintaining popularity among snow-birds and tourists during season.
- The cost for these proposed Marco Island EMS facilities is estimated at about $3-million annually. This is reported to equate to an increase in approximately $50 for each $500,000 of “assessed” (not market) value of your home or condominium unit.
- These Marco Island ambulance facilities will not act as “independent” entities, but will coordinate with the entire EMS network through-out our County. This should provide a synergistic effect for all of Collier County by freeing-up EMS resources as population growth continues to move into the unincorporated regions of our County.
Finally, I am encouraging all eligible Voters of Marco Island to do their homework regarding this topic prior to the ballot on August 28, 2018. I’m confident that the City Council will make it clear that a “yes” vote will be in favor of our own EMS/Ambulance facilities. If you are leaving Marco Island prior to August 28, my suggestion is that you pick-up a “mail in” ballot before leaving. Thank you.