At their first meeting in almost two months, the Board of Commissioners of the Fort Myers Beach Fire Department oversaw the commissioning of three new officers by Fire Chief Matt Love: Assistant Chief of Training, Education & Safety Vincent DiCristofalo; Lieutenant Todd Williamson and Lieutenant Brad Hartman. Love commended the families, friends and departmental staff that attended the event, noting that the family and friends that support these new officers are very important to an officers success and they can see that their officer is surrounded by their fire department family while they are at work.
The meeting was held with three commissioners present: Chair Larry Wood, Vice-Chair Ron Fleming and John Bennett. Commissioners Bob Raymond and Jacki Liszak were absent.
A treasurer’s report was provided for December and January by Jane Thompson, Finance and Administrative Services Director. December checks totaled $196,817.70; January $268,694.84 with a fund balance on January 31, 2019 of $14,985,228.
During the Fire Chief’s Report, Love introduced Amber Datko, hired in December as Life Safety & Support Services Assistant. He also reported that new multi-layer firefighting hoods were purchased to protect firefighters. The Apparatus Committee traveled to the Sutphen factory in Ohio for a pre-construction meeting for the new ladder truck, which will take 12-14 months to build. December saw 251 incidents with an average response time of 5:00. Total calls in 2018 were 3021. In 2018 73% of calls were for EMS service and 2% for fire. The remainder were Good Intent and Service Calls.
In January the Board held a Retreat at DiamondHead Resort that covered State Statutes, Sunshine Law and Ethics along with board planning. Beginning in January, select FMB officers are participating in the weekly rotation for the Countywide Incident Management Team. January had 319 calls for service, with an average response time of 5:11. Of those calls, 76% were for EMS and 9% were for fire. The Chief reported that Jennifer Campbell joined the department in February as Deputy Fire Marshal.
Love also reported that the department received a FEMA reimbursement check for Hurricane Irma expenses of $75,533.
December service anniversaries include: Battalion Chief Terry Brunson 19 years; Battalion Chief Jake Lamb 18 years; Captain Joe Reed 18 years; Executive Assistant Fire Chief Ron Martin 16 years; Driver Engineer Paul Russell 11 years; Driver Engineer Shaun Jensen 11 years; Life Safety Specialist Bill Genevrino 7 years and Firefighter Andrew Dominguez 3 years.
Love thanked the fire department team for their response to Dr. Hommerding’s death at the library. He said district staff helped to stand guard at the library and an Iona McGregor chaplain assisted in offering support at the library among other services provided. “There is no better way to illustrate our community involvement. We are an important part of our community fabric.”
The old Engine 30, which the district was unable to sell, was donated to Hosford – Telogia Volunteer Fire Department in the Florida panhandle north of Apalachicola. Love explained that the department really needed an engine after they were hit hard by Hurricane Michael.
Gulf Star Marina, under construction next to the Matanzas Pass Bridge on San Carlos Island, is the first building of its kind in the U.S., Love explained. A similar one exists in the U.K. It’s robotic system places boats up to 5 high and 4-6 deep and there is no U.S. fire code standard for this type of building. The FMBFD is working develop fire code standards for future similar buildings.
The board approved the addition of a Consent Agenda to their board meetings, which will hold Treasurer and Financial Reports, Meeting Minutes and possibly Union reports, as union reps are rarely in attendance at board meetings. Any item on the consent agenda can be pulled out and be made part of the regular agenda at any time by any commissioner.
The next meeting of the Fire Board of Commissioners will be a Work Session on March 13 at 9:30am at the Beach Library, 2755 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach.
By Missy Layfield