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Captiva fire sees uptick in call volume

By MEGHAN BRADBURY - | Sep 16, 2020

PHOTO PROVIDED Fire Chief Jeff Pawul

news@breezenewspapers.comThe Captiva Island Fire Control District has seen a dramatic increase in their call volume over the last couple of months.

Fire Chief Jeff Pawul said they had 49 calls last month, compared to the low 30s the two previous years.

“I don’t know if a lot more people thought Sanibel and Captiva was a safer place to be because of corona (virus). We expected it to be more in the other direction with everything going on with corona, especially because of restrictions on rentals and restaurants. We have seen the opposite in call volume,” he said.

With that said the types of calls are not much different than previous years with standard medical calls — cardiac, allergic reactions, injuries and standard fire and water related calls.

“The actual percentage of call types hasn’t changed, just the increase in frequency,” Pawul said.

There were a few calls that resembled a COVID-19 type of situation, such as difficulty of breathing and high temperature. He said they really have not seen those calls, which is good.

The fire district is currently in the process of hiring two more firefighters to fill vacant positions. Pawul said they are wrapping up the process and would expect the new candidates to start next month.

Last week’s meeting also approved an amended resolution to update language of the medical directors start date. He said they amended the start date to be concurrent with state license approval — the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity.

“It’s an approval that says that we need to provide medical services for an island. I think for a fire department that is pretty high priority,” Pawul said.

The medical director starts his training and education as of Oct. 1, but he will not start at the official capacity of medical director before approval of the state license. The fire district will remain with the Lee County medical director for the time being.

Pawul explained that there is a time period in the county ordinance of 60 days after the application review for it to go in front of the county commission for approval.