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Cape Coral Fire Department to present five-year plan

By Staff | Apr 18, 2019

The Cape Coral City Council will have a lot of data to digest when it holds it monthly workshop meeting Monday.

The elected board will get a presentation from Cape Coral Fire Chief Ryan Lamb regarding the department’s five-year strategic plan, designed to help the department reach its overall goals.

The CCFD contracted with Fitch & Associates to develop the plan with the help of a city selected “stakeholders group” and recommended goals based on the information received.

Lamb will present those findings and seek direction regarding strategic goals, response standards, optimized staffing and ways to respond to community risks.

In a draft of the strategic plan, the invited community panel discovered three main themes; How to continue to improve on saving lives during emergency events; How to meet future increasing service demands; and How to better market their services.

From these key themes, members of the agency’s command staff developed 11 strategic objectives, 19 outcome measurements and 35 supporting goals to prepare the CCFD to meet the needs and expectations of their community, the draft said.

The stakeholders assessed the CCFD’s strengths and weaknesses and found that although the people are high-quality and committed, staffing and number of stations (11) have not kept up with the city’s growth, among many things.

These weaknesses do bring opportunities to improve, as well as bring challenges that can undermine the mission of the CCFD.

One of the biggest challenges is that with population growth without the department keeping up, CCFD response times have fallen below the city goal of responding within six minutes 60 percent of the time, which it did at the start of the millennium. Response time gradually fell to below 30 percent in 2016 before an uptick in 2017.

It would take 63 stations to achieve a four-minute travel time. To achieve six-minute travel time throughout most of the city, it will take 16 stations, according to Lamb’s presentation.

The strategic goals for fire include containing fire to the room of origin 80 percent of the time, no fire-related deaths, maintain a fire inspection schedule, save 95 percent of the value of a property, arrive at fires within 10 minutes, 911 call processing within 130 seconds, and turnout within two minutes 90 percent of the time.

Goals also have been set for rescue and administration.

Lamb will provide data for the City Council regarding average calls pretty much to the hour. In simplistic terms, the busiest time is on a Monday in September at about 11 a.m. Least busiest? A Sunday in November at about 4 a.m., with 73.7 percent of the calls being for EMS service.

Ultimately, the goal is to save homes and lives. In the immediate future, City Manager John Szerlag will request council to add six firefighters to reduce overtime by more than $553,000. Currently, there are 183 fulltime employees, six short of what is needed for an optimal staff, which is based on 48 daily minimum on staff.

Lamb was unavailable for comment.

Cape Coral City Council meetings begin at 4:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall.