Life Safety Services Highlighted

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Fort Myers Beach Fire District

Members of the Fort Myers Beach Fire Control District Board of Commissioners heard a presentation on the Life Safety Services of the District from Division Chief Fire Marshal Ron Martin at their meeting Tuesday, October 18th.

Martin explained the history of fire prevention dating back to the Chicago fire in 1871, noting, “Each item in the Fire Safety Code is the result of lessons learned from great loss of life.”

“We are the only service industry that actively tries to put itself out of business…we don’t want emergencies. Every day that our trucks and ambulances aren’t called to answer a call, means people are coming to our beautiful community and enjoying themselves – having a happy, healthy day. That is our primary mission – to help keep our community safe.”

The Fire Prevention Division is tasked with a variety of services including fire code compliance, fire safety and health education, fire code enforcement, disaster mitigation and preparedness, fire/explosion investigation and public media information.

Firefighters, the community and contractors are all clients of the Fire Prevention Bureau, he explained, all part of the effort to prevent tragedies in our community.

“There is no such thing as a fireproof building,” Martin explained. “Basic chemistry shows that every substance will succumb to heat, time and pressure…even a concrete building with exterior corridors can have fire move from one unit to another.”

Challenged by our district’s older building stock, both single/duplex family residences and mid and high-rise condos, Martin said that the ABC’s of fire prevention are actually spelled EAP: Egress (get out of the building); Alert that there’s an emergency and Protect while exiting.

“The best emergency is one that never happens.”

During the Treasurer’s Report, Bob Raymond noted that there had been bills for seven tows for the “mini” beach vehicle in the last six months.

When the beach vehicle was purchased, a decision was made not to purchase a trailer due to the cost, estimated to be around $2,200. The vehicle is taken to Sun Sports, located about 16 miles from Station 31, on Colonial Blvd, east of U.S. 41.

Chair Carol Morris said that she thought it could be driven to the shop for regular service.

Chief Matthew Love told the board that the administration had also done an assessment and learned that of the seven tows, only one was a foreseeable service, the oil change, and none of them fell under warranty. He said he did not want his staff to drive the vehicle that distance on heavily traveled roads for safety reasons.

“There is a difference between being ‘street legal’ and driving long distance,” Love said. He will investigate options and bring them back to the board.

 

Assistant Chief May to Retire

During the Chief’s Report Love announced that Assistant Chief Tom May would retire at the end of this year after over 43 years in the fire service. A Navy veteran, May joined the Fort Myers Beach Fire Control District in early 2013, coming to the district from the East Lake Tarpon Fire Control District in Pinellas County where he served since 1981.

During September the FMBFCD responded to 218 incidents: 60% EMS, 32% Good Intent, 7% Service and 1% Fire. The average response time was 4:52. ‘ Good Intent ‘ includes situations where someone calls 911 and it isn’t actually an emergency. The ‘Service’ category includes calls for help that are not EMS or fire related. Year to date incidents total 2,601.

During September, prevention services provided a total of 128 inspections including 40 ordinance property, 28 construction related, 15 new business and 33 follow-up inspections.

District staff were recognized for October Service Anniversaries: Battalion Chief Tom Grow-24 years, Battalion Chief Mike Coenen-18 years, Captain Joe DeVito-10 years, Firefighters Willie Edge, Billy Galewski and Brad Hartman, each for 8 years.

Love also recognized firefighters for their assistance with community events including Fright Night Haunted House and Spirit of the Holidays.

The Fire Board meets next on Tuesday, November 1, 2016 at 10am at Station 31, 3043 Estero Blvd. Fort Myers Beach.

 

Missy Layfield