A. Current one professional—
LGIFR’s one on-duty firefighter/paramedic will immediately respond with LGIFR’s all-wheel drive EMS vehicle and with medical equipment and drugs that are equivalent to those brought to an EMS call on the mainland. The one professional will immediately begin assessment and treatment of the patient.
The one professional is not able to divert his/her attention from the patient to accomplish several other tasks that must be performed simultaneously with patient treatment. After the patient is stabilized, the one professional is not able to carry the patient to the EMS vehicle for transport either to the dock to meet the county fireboat or to the landing zone to meet the helicopter. Nor can the one professional leave the patient to meet the county personnel at the dock and transport them to the patient to provide additional manpower to carry the patient.
B. Proposed two professionals—
While the first professional focuses exclusively on the patient, the proposed second professional will be available to return to the EMS vehicle for additional equipment and drugs, and to supply the treating professional with whatever drugs and equipment are needed. As the treating professional is focused exclusively on the patient, the second professional can be on the radio directing the county personnel to the correct dock or ordering helicopter transport and arranging for the lighting and securing of the landing zone. During the time when both professionals are engaged in patient treatment, the safety of both the patient and the two professionals is enhanced by the attention of two professionals.
The second professional will be available to provide essential assistance with the physical movement of the patient to the EMS vehicle. If transport of the arriving county personnel to the patient is necessary, the second professional can provide that transport in the EMS vehicle while patient treatment by the first professional continues. If no trained volunteers are available to light and secure the helicopter-landing zone, the second professional can perform those tasks while patient treatment continues.
Again, Florida law does not specify how many professionals must be deployed in response to an EMS call. But published national professional standards specify that a minimum of one paramedic and one EMT respond within eight minutes. In the event of an unfortunate outcome on LGI, it is likely that a Florida court would rely on those published national standards to find that LGIFR’s deployment of a single firefighter/paramedic was not sufficient, even in the unique circumstances of LGI. I have not found any other EMS provider in south Florida, including on other nearby boat-accessible islands, that deploys only one professional in response to an EMS call.
A. Word on Volunteers:
LGIFR has a group of four volunteers completing their training to a Firefighter One classification. When they are on the island and available to respond, they can provide invaluable assistance to supplement either the current one or the proposed two LGIFR professionals. But they cannot be considered a substitute for the proposed second on-duty professional for the simple reason that there are times when no volunteer is available to respond, either because the volunteers are not present on the island or because of personal reasons even if they happen to be on the island. All four of these volunteers have homes elsewhere and activities that take them away from the island, as do most island property owners.
From: Chief Steven Demeter
Subject: Proposed staffing change from one professional to two professionals
Date: March 3, 2015
As you know, the LGIFR Board has recommended an assessment increase to provide a second professional on duty 24/7. To assist you in evaluating that recommendation, the Board has asked me to compare what LGIFR can accomplish with our current one on-duty professional against what LGIFR could accomplish with the proposed two on-duty professionals.
To evaluate LGIFR’s need for a second on-duty professional 24/7, one must first understand the extremely limited role the county plays in providing fire service and EMS on LGI. For approximately 40 minutes after a 911 call is received, there is nocounty help available on LGI. Since the first minutes are the most critical in a response to a serious fire or a serious medical emergency, Charlotte County’s contribution is minimal at best, and sometimes less than that.
Even after 40 minutes, if the county personnel do arrive in response to a fire call, they have no fire equipment and notransport to the fire scene other than that provided by LGIFR. The county fireboat can reach only those few locations where deep water is adjacent to the bayshore.
When county personnel arrive after 40 minutes in response to an EMS call, they have no on-island transport to the location of the patient and no means of transporting the patient back to the fireboat at the dock or to the helicopter at the landing zone, other than that provided by LGIFR.
In other words, to evaluate the need for a second LGIFR professional on duty 24/7, one must begin with the recognition that for all practical purposes, LGIFR is the only dependable and effective fire/rescue and emergency medical service available on LGI.
The following is a comparison of what one LGIFR professional can accomplish compared to what two professionals could accomplish in response to a fire call or an EMS call.
A. Current one professional—
LGIFR’s one on-duty firefighter/paramedic will immediately respond to a fire call with LGIFR’s “pumper truck” that carries 1,000 gallons of water and the equipment to pump water onto the fire. The one professional can extinguish a relatively small brush fire with the 1,000 gallons, but after that water is exhausted there is no more water available and firefighting will cease.
The primary objective of LGIFR’s fire service is to prevent an established structure fire or a large brush fire from spreading to adjacent homes. A fire call response by one professional, bringing only the pumper truck, is not capable of accomplishing this core objective.
B. Proposed two professionals—
The proposed second professional would immediately respond with LGIFR’s second truck (“hose truck”) that is equipped to draw water from any available source such as the bay or a canal and deliver an unlimited supply of water to the pumper truck. The second professional would establish the water supply while the first professional applied the pumper’s initial 1,000 gallons to the fire. The second professional would then help operate the pumper’s larger hose (it takes 2 people to control a hose at a flow of 150 gallons per minute, needed for a structure fire), assist the first professional with heavy ladders if needed, provide a safety back-up if a rescue from a structure is required, and generally allow each professional to watch out for the safety of the other.
Florida law specifies that all deployed firefighters be trained to a minimum standard of “Firefighter One” (206 hours of training). Florida law does not currently specify how many firefighters must be deployed in response to a fire call. But published national professional standards and published national insurance standards specifically require that four trained firefighters be deployed. In the event of an unfortunate outcome on LGI, it is likely that a Florida Court would rely on the published national standards to find that the deployment of a single firefighter by LGIFR was not sufficient, even in the unique circumstances of LGI. I have not found any other fire service provider in south Florida, including on other nearby boat-accessible islands, that deploys only one professional in response to a fire call.