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Fire board welcomes new commissioner and more

By TIFFANY REPECKI / trepecki@breezenewspapers.com - | Jan 20, 2021

PHOTO PROVIDED Colin Black

The Captiva Island Fire Control District’s commission recently appointed a candidate to fill a vacant seat on the board and also voted on resolutions for a replacement staff vehicle and new software.

At the Jan. 12 meeting, Commissioners Jeffrey Brown and Sherrill Sims voted 2-0 on a resolution appointing Colin Black to Seat 3, which was vacated in October by former Commissioner C.W. Kilgore when he resigned. Black will hold the seat until the next General Election, set for November 2022.

Present for the meeting, he received a warm welcome from the commission and district staff.

“Welcome aboard,” Sims said. “We are mighty glad you’re here.”

Following the appointment, the commissioners voted unanimously 3-0 on the reorganization of the board. Brown will serve as chair, Black as vice chair, and Sims as both secretary and treasurer.

Also during the meeting, Fire Chief Jeff Pawul presented a resolution to approve the purchase of a replacement staff vehicle for no more than $55,000. It was approved within the 2021-22 budget.

He explained that the district’s policy has been to replace the vehicles after five years or when they reach 75,000 miles, whichever comes first. The one needing to be replaced is about six years old, with about 80,000 miles. Pawul presented the commission with a handful of quotes for the new vehicle.

“Trade-in is the easiest as far as documentation and compliance,” he said of the process.

The commissioners approved the resolution 3-0.

After the meeting, Pawul explained that the new vehicle will likely be a Ford Expedition, but the decision is not final as he is still negotiating the details, trade-in for the old vehicle and such.

“Either way, the net cost is going to be under the budgeted amount,” he said.

Also at the meeting, Pawul presented a resolution to approve the purchase of new scheduling and apparatus inventory software. He explained that the staff works off of several different platforms when it comes to executing their duties, such as filing a report after a call, tracking inventory and more.

“We’re trying to get to where we have less platforms to do everything,” he said.

The new software is offered on an existing platform used, allowing for the elimination of another.

“And it’s more efficient than the way we do it now,” Pawul said.

The commission approved the resolution 3-0.

IN OTHER NEWS

– Pawul reported that the district recently received its advanced life support (ALS) non-transport services license from the state. It had been piggybacking off of the Lee County EMS license.

“It’s been a long process, but we got it,” he said.

– Deputy Fire Chief Paul DeArmond provided an update on staff training.

He reported that the crew has been using the Sanibel Fire and Rescue District’s tower to train this month. In addition, the agencies have been familiarizing themselves with one another’s trucks.

“So it’s good,” DeArmond said. “We’re cross-training with Sanibel.”

The district’s new medical director, Dr. Benjamin Abo, has been working with the crew.

“When he comes out, he’s really giving us hands-on one-on-one training,” he said.

“It’s a lot better than what we had,” DeArmond added.

Pawul pointed out that Abo is only contracted to come out at least once per month.

“But he’s gone above and beyond that. He’s been out like each shift once a month,” he said.

“He’s very passionate about teaching and training,” Pawul added.

– The district responded to 40 calls in December, with a total of 420 for the year.

DeArmond reported that the year-end number is comparable to the last two or three years.

“So still on par,” he said.