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Fire District explores advanced life support/non-transport benefits to Captiva

By Staff | Jan 26, 2011

The Captiva Island Fire Control District will host a public meeting on March 7, to discuss training for Fire District staff in advanced life support/non-transport.

“One of the big factors driving this proposal is the Fire District’s response time which, on average, is about three minutes,” said Assistant Chief Rich Dickerson. “We can get there really quick, but we don’t have advance life support equipment and skills.”

Advanced life support capabilities include on-site cardiac defibrillation and intravenous cannulation (inserting an IV) and would allow properly trained Fire District responders to take medical action immediately instead of waiting for Lee County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to arrive.

Dickerson, who is also a paramedic, is proposing to send some of the Fire District’s younger staff to college in Lee County for advanced, paramedic training — which takes about a year and a half and costs approximately $5,000 per person.

To determine the cost to benefit ratio of paramedic training for staff, Dickerson averaged the number of emergency calls the Fire District received in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

“On average, we get about 280 calls a year — 70 to 80 percent are medical calls,” Dickerson said. “I then contacted Lee County EMS to see which ones were critical calls with medical dispatch.”

The classification of medical calls ranges from minor injuries (ranked as Alpha, Bravo and Charlie depending on severity) to serious medical calls such as cardiac arrest (ranked as Delta and Echo).

In examining the data, Dickerson found that in 2008, 2009 and 2010, on average, the Fire District received about 30 Delta and Echo calls per year.

The results of his research, Dickerson said, indicated that ALS/non-transport could be a big benefit for Captivans, and he presented his findings to the Fire District’s board of commissioners, who responded positively to the concept.

“I think it merits serious discussion,” said Fire District Commissioner Bob Brace. “As commissioners, we’re obligated to look down the road at a variety of topics that affect our service to the community and this is one of them.”

“The next step is to hold a public meeting for Captivans and try to get their reaction to see if it’s something that they’d be interested in,” Dickerson said.

On Monday, March 7, Dickerson will hold a public meeting at the Captiva Civic Center, 11560 Chapin Lane, to discuss advanced life support/non-transport opportunities with the community. The time of the meeting is still undetermined.

For more information about the Captiva Island Fire Control District, call 472-9494.