Response Time is Critical
Response time is a crucial predictor of the eventual success of a responding agency to mitigate loss of life, serious injury, fire losses, and damage to the environment that is caused during emergencies. The sooner highly trained, well-equipped first responders can arrive on scene, the easier it is to control emergencies which, by their very nature, are fast moving, rapidly developing incidents.
Two key emergencies to which fire rescue agencies routinely respond are cardiac arrests (heart attacks) and fires in their beginning (incipient) stage. It is of utmost importance to ensure the arrival of a properly equipped first responder unit to these emergencies within six (6) minutes. This is the critical time frame at which brain damage begins to occur during cardiac arrest, and incipient stage fires spread beyond the room in which they originate. This is an important benchmark by which we can judge the effectiveness of a fire rescue agency- How much of the area to which an agency responds can the first due unit arrive within six (6) minutes?
By employing this six-minute standard, we can objectively determine how many and where fire stations should be located within our district. One of our main goals should be to locate fire stations to reach the maximum amount of our population within a six (6) minute response time. As our population grows, new stations should be brought on line to achieve this objective.
Training is the Key to a Successful Fire Agency
The operations of a fire rescue agency are highly complex. Structure fires, motor vehicle and boating accidents, drownings, medical emergencies, HAZMAT incidents, aircraft crashes, entrapments, confined space and trench rescue, high angle rescue, wildfires, industrial accidents, active shooters, mass casualty incidents, the list is nearly endless. Preparing firefighters, emergency medical technicians (EMT’s) and Paramedics to safely and effectively mitigate these emergencies takes training, and a lot of it. And training is costly.
Any successful fire rescue training program must have three key components:
- Qualified and competent instructors.
- A centralized facility that provides sufficient classrooms, office spaces, auditoriums, drill grounds, training tower, fire simulators and support functions suitable to train the personnel of a modern, all-hazards response agencies.
- A commitment from the agency and the community to provide funding, logistics and manpower to the training program.
The Greater Naples Fire Rescue District has acquired land near I-75 and Davis Boulevard and is beginning the process to develop a training and maintenance facility on the site.
Consolidation is More Cost-Effective and Efficient than Duplication
It is only common sense that where redundancy exists in the administrations, it must be eliminated.
The Greater Naples Fire District, along with our neighboring North Collier Fire District encompass a huge geographic area. Together we provide fire rescue services to the vast majority of the population of Collier County.
While there are some differences between the two districts, the similarities between the two fire rescue departments vastly outweigh the disparate characteristics. Moreover, the first responder units from the two agencies work hand in hand in the field to provide seamless integration of emergency operations on a daily basis.
It is only common sense that where redundancy exists in the administrations, it must be eliminated. Three areas that are long overdue for consolidation between the departments are training, fleet maintenance and fire prevention. We must work to foster a spirit of cooperation between these two important fire rescue agencies.