North Collier Fire continually strives to improve delivery of All Hazard emergency services to residents and visitors of Collier County. Two integral components utilized in reducing response times and costs to taxpayers is the use of performance metrics and technology.
North Collier Fire has implemented a number of performance metrics and benchmarks that mirror the National Fire Protection Administration (NFPA) recommendations. These benchmarks include 60 seconds for call processing, 60 seconds to get out of station for non-fire emergencies and 80 seconds for fire emergencies where crews need to don protective gear, and 240 seconds for the first unit to arrive on scene.
In March 2019, North Collier Fire Commissioners were provided a response time report that included four years of trending data with improvements credited to technological advancements. The District wanted to ensure that it was utilizing existing resources to their fullest potential prior to increasing the number of apparatus or stations. With the data reflecting full utilization of existing resources, the District could now focus on expansion into areas of greatest need.
The national 240-second arrival time is based upon many scientific studies. For medical calls such as cardiac arrests, the potential to revive a patient is significantly reduced when CPR/AED has not been administered or there is no oxygen to the brain for greater than 240 seconds. For fire emergencies, a fire doubles in size every 60 seconds. Take, for instance, a kitchen fire where there is sometimes a delay in calling 9-1-1 as people try to put out the fire themselves. The first cabinet will most likely be burning by the time the call is made. It now takes 60 seconds to process the call – now two cabinets are burning. After this, it takes 80 seconds for fire trucks to don fire gear and depart – now four cabinets are burning. If the fire truck arrives in the recommend 240 seconds, 64 cabinets are now burning. As most kitchens do not have 64 cabinets, at this point, the entire kitchen could be on fire.
In order to maximize synergy between local agencies, North Collier Fire and other fire districts within the County work cooperatively with EMS and law enforcement via the Collier County Fire & EMS Chiefs’ Association (CCFEMSCA) which meets monthly to discuss relevant issues. These same agencies also meet quarterly at the Public Safety Meetings hosted by Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk.
The Sheriff’s office is an integral part of emergency response as it operates the 9-1-1 countywide dispatch center for all fire, EMS and law enforcement. Understanding that technology can improve 9-1-1 service, in the last few years, Sheriff Rambosk has instituted an automated dispatching system, incorporated the City of Naples 9-1-1 dispatch center into the Countywide system and implemented closest unit response via GPS.
Additionally, in the last month, the CCFEMSCA initiated the removal of antiquated 1960s VHF audio tones from the dispatch broadcast. Under the prior system, a series of tones would sound for each agency being dispatched. On calls with multiple agencies responding, the tones could last for up to a minute or more. The new tone-free system has shown an immediate positive impact by allowing quicker notification to first responders as call details now broadcast after a short five-second alerting tone. The time for departments to hear the call details has been reduced by 20% for medical calls, 36% for fire alarm calls and nearly 50% for structure fire type incidents.
North Collier Fire and all other Collier County agencies have much work ahead in order to meet the 240-second arrival goal 90% of the time, but with the use of various technologies, we can significantly improve our chances of meeting the goal sooner.
The Board of Fire Commissioners
North Collier Fire Control and Rescue District