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Sanibel fire commissioners learn of ISO rating, more

By Staff | May 12, 2020

TIFFANY REPECKI The Sanibel Fire and Rescue District's commission learns of the ISO rating at its May meeting.

The Sanibel Fire and Rescue District’s commission heard about the district’s ISO rating at its recent meeting, as well as was updated on training and inspections in light of the COVID-19 situation.

At the May 6 meeting, Deputy Fire Chief William Briscoe explained that the process for figuring out the ISO rating – which impacts homeowner insurance rates – typically is conducted through site visits. With coronavirus, however, the team was unable to travel so the work was done via phone and email.

“There were some days I was on the phone with him, talking back and forth for hours,” he said.

Briscoe reported that he had to provide the ISO team with data for it to complete its analysis, including maps of the district, maps of the fire hydrants, building heights and specifications on staffer training.

“We still have an ISO rating of three,” he said of the district maintaining its score.

Briscoe noted that it is the best rating the district can strive to achieve based on its facilities and demographics for the city. The only way it can improve its rating is to add a third fire station.

Division Chief of Training Tim Barrett reported that staff training continues.

“We’re trying to keep Station 1 and 2 separate when we do our training,” he said, referring to some policy changes made in light of COVID-19. “We’re trying to limit everybody being together.”

Engineers and pump operators have been training on their skills, while rope training is scheduled for the coming weeks. In addition, outreach CPR classes have been put on hold due to the pandemic.

“I think we’re just going to wait until we can do the full classes,” Barrett said, explaining that the district uses the class as an opportunity to also educate the public about the district and what it does.

Commissioner Jerry Muench asked about the team’s response to possible COVID-19 calls.

Barrett explained that dispatch goes through a list of questions, so the crew has all the needed information before it arrives on scene. If a call involves a possible positive case and the person is mobile, they are asked to come outside to the ambulance, where one team member treats them.

“We’re trying to limit the amount of exposure to our guys,” he said.

If it is a serious issue, the entire team will respond and go to where the patient is.

“We make sure we’re 100 percent covered up,” Barrett said.

The commission also asked about the district’s supply levels for masks, gloves and such.

“We have plenty,” he said, noting that some island residents who have business connections have provided the district with free supplies in recent weeks. “That really stocked us up nicely.”

Barrett also reported that no staffers have been out sick nor tested positive for COVID-19.

Division Chief of Prevention Rick Tassoni reported that limited building is going on.

“Construction came to almost a screeching holt,” he said of the impact of the coronavirus.

With the recent reopening of restaurants on Sanibel, Tassoni has been working with the eateries on setting up the permitted outdoor seating to ensure that it is in line with what the city is allowing.

He added that he has not been doing inside business inspections due to the virus.

“We have to use a commonsense approach and do the best we can,” Tassoni said.


– Fire Chief Matt Scott reported that he has been working with staff on the district’s budget.

“Everything’s kind of up in the air,” he said. “We don’t foresee any issues.”

– Briscoe reported that preventive maintenance has been completed on all of the district’s vehicles and that the fire boat is currently being serviced.

– The following personnel were recognized for their years of service: Lt. Tony Fontaine for 10 years; Firefighter Shane Grant for 10 years; and Firefighter Bryan Clement for one year.

– The district responded to 122 calls in March and 108 calls in April, compared to 193 calls last year during March and 141 calls in April. There have been 572 calls this year, compared to 691 calls for the same time period in 2019.