Saturday, January 16, 2021

Redefining Fire Department Services

Highly trained crews are always on duty like this one: Dave Battiato, Ed Cabal, Tony Gordon, Leo Rodriguez, Scott Scholtz, KenAlford, Paul, MacMillan and kneeling, Ken Stenback. PHOTOS BY VAL SIMON/COASTAL BREEZE NEWS

Highly trained crews are always on duty like this one: Dave Battiato, Ed Cabal, Tony Gordon, Leo Rodriguez, Scott Scholtz, KenAlford, Paul, MacMillan and kneeling, Ken Stenback. PHOTOS BY VAL SIMON/COASTAL BREEZE NEWS

By Jane A. Marlowe 

janem@coastalbreezenews.com 

The Marco Island Fire Department is actively working on two significant proposals which could consolidate and streamline emergency medical services in the next several months. The Isles of Capri Fire District approached Marco Island FD, and asked for assistance in developing a new paradigm to deliver fire and emergency services in its district. Chief Murphy’s response was that Marco Island FD will help in any way to support and assist Isles of Capri.

The Isles of Capri Fire Board appointed a committee after notifying the Collier County Board of Commissioners of their desire to discuss the options available to the Isles of Capri Fire Department, particularly to consider an association with Marco Island FD. The Board approved the committee’s request to investigate a possible association with Marco Island. There have been three meetings among officials of both departments along with Councilman Larry Magel, City Council liaison, now Council Chairman.

Chief Murphy explained, “The fire rescue department is a business and Marco Island operates very cost effectively. Marco Island and Isles of Capri are looking into the needs of both communities and what makes the most effective business sense. The committee is reviewing all aspects of their fire service delivery, including operational, financial and administrative issues. They have expressed an interest in making a proposal before the next Marco budget hearing in October.”

A second issue which will be taken up in a workshop organized by Collier County involves transporting patients to area hospitals. A Blue Ribbon Panel appointed by the Collier County Board of Commissioners proposed

Ready to Roll.

Ready to Roll.

changes to the emergency medical care response more than a year ago. Some of the proposed changes are being implemented.

“The City of Naples, North Naples and Marco Island believe there can be value in sharing administration costs, medications, purchases, training personnel and operational costs. The county budget for EMS is about $20,000,000. The monies come from taxes and patient payment for transportation services. The county provides Marco Island with one ambulance and two county firefighter/ paramedics daily. We do about 1,300- 1,600 transports yearly.”

Chief Murphy is confident that the three entities, the City of Naples, North Naples and Marco Island can administer their fair share of the emergency medical services budget efficiently and provide a high quality of service in their respective communities. “I believe we can improve the overall response of EMS throughout the county, make better utilization of existing resources and improve patient care from the 911 call through the hospital experience benefiting patient outcome.

A great example of this is the North Naples Public Safety Authority that meets with field paramedics, administrators, physicians and the Lee County Trauma Unit on a regular basis. This group has made substantial improvements in its short life.

I have extreme faith in the fire rescue personnel of my department and the county firefighter/paramedics who work out of this fire station. Firefighters are exemplary in resource management. They have all the capabilities to do their job with excellence if they are given the tools, the necessary training AND are allowed to use their skills. When you dial 911 you deserve the best.”

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