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Sanibel fire commissioners cover resolutions and more

By TIFFANY REPECKI / trepecki@breezenewspapers.com - | May 4, 2021

PHOTO PROVIDED Members of the Sanibel Fire and Rescue District recently took part in open swim training.

The Sanibel Fire and Rescue District commission approved three resolutions at its last monthly meeting, as well as heard about two promotions and opened discussions on increasing commissioner compensation, evaluating administrative pay raises and improving security at both fire stations.

On April 14, the commissioners voted unanimously 3-0 on each of the proposed resolutions.

The first resolution allowed the district to enter into a contract with Elite 1 Flooring Installation for about $16,460 to purchase new CPT tile for specified offices, sleeping quarters, training room and gym at Station 171. Fire Chief William “Bill” Briscoe noted that three bids were received for the project.

“We picked the one that we think will work best for us,” he said of the staff recommendation.

The second resolution allowed the district to enter into a contract with Motorola Solutions for about $13,123 to purchase one new, Bogen V150 amplifier for Station 171 and two new alerting systems for Stations 171 and 172 to replace the current alerting system, plus equipment, software and hardware.

PHOTO PROVIDED Members of the Sanibel Fire and Rescue District recently took part in open swim training.

Briscoe explained that staff discussed the action with the commission at a previous meeting, as the changes are necessary for the district to be in line with Lee County’s upgrades to its 911 system.

The third resolution allowed the district to enter into a contract with SiteMed Fire for $16,614 for firefighter and administration physicals on site, with the testing to be completed in two phases.

Briscoe reported that it covers the annual physicals required for the district staff.

“It’s a rotating basis on what we do every year,” he said.

Also at the meeting, Deputy Fire Chief Kevin Barbot provided an update on two vacancies. He reported that Robert Wilkins has been promoted to lieutenant and John DiMaria has been moved up to captain.

PHOTO PROVIDED Members of the Sanibel Fire and Rescue District recently took part in open swim training.

“We’re done with promotions,” he said. “The testing went really well.”

Barbot also told the commissioners that the district is in the “home stretch” for getting its new fire boat. A virtual inspection by staff was next, then traveling there for the in-person inspection and test drive.

“They’re talking next month,” he said of May and an estimated arrival.

Also during the meeting, Briscoe reported that the district was asked by a resident about installing a backyard fire pit. He suggested that they not get involved in the inspection and permitting of them.

“I don’t want to get into the permitting for these,” Briscoe said. “But if you want us to come out and look at it, we’ll gladly look at it.”

PHOTO PROVIDED Members of the Sanibel Fire and Rescue District recently took part in open swim training.

He added that the district could provide residents with open burning regulations and fire laws as guidelines to follow, including from the Florida Forest Service, Florida Department of Environmental Protection and National Fire Protection Association. Pits installed based off those would be safe.

Division Chief of Prevention Larry Williams noted that this would only apply to fire pits for a residence. The installation of commercial fire pits would be permitted through the district.

Toward the close of the meeting, Commissioner Bruce Cochrane brought up the subject of re-examining commissioner pay and possibly raising it. All agreed to discuss it at the May meeting.

Also during commissioner items, Commissioner Richard McCurry pointed out that staff on the administrative side get the same pay raise as non-administrative staff, without a performance review or audit. He asked the chief to research comparable districts and bring back options for discussion.

McCurry also raised a concern about a lack of security at the Sanibel fire stations in light of incidents elsewhere with the thefts of public safety vehicles. He noted that there are no cameras, nor fencing.

“Is that something that we need to look at?” McCurry asked. “I think we probably need to.”

Barbot reported that the administrative staff has been researching security measures for possible implementation and hopes to bring a proposal forward as part of the upcoming budget cycle.

“We have been putting that into motion,” Briscoe added.

The commissioners voiced their support.

“Put it right at the top of the list,” Commissioner Jerry Muench said.

IN OTHER NEWS

– The following personnel were recognized for their years of service: firefighter-EMT Bryan Clement for two years; Lt. Tony Fontaine for 11 years; and engineer-medic Shane Grant for 11 years.

– The district responded to 152 calls in March, compared to 122 calls for the same month last year.