MESSAGE FROM THE BOARD OF FIRE COMMISSIONERS (December, 2018)
North Collier Fire Control and Rescue District (NCFR) and Collier County Emergency Medical Services (CCEMS) work together every day to save lives.
A proponent of inter-agency cooperation, Fire Chief James Cunningham notes, “The relationship between NCFR and CCEMS has never been stronger than in the last two years. Both organizations have strived to work together in the most efficient and effective manner in order to meet the medical emergency needs of our residents when they need it most.”
The two agencies join forces through an inter-local agreement and Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (COPCN). The COPCN, granted by Collier County on an annual basis, provides local authority for our District’s nearly 100 shift paramedics to perform ALS procedures. NCFR personnel have performed 3,770 ALS and 4,294 BLS procedures thus far in 2018, and administered 1,052 medications.
District resident Ron Krawczyk’s life was saved on July 28, 2015, by the quick reaction of a firefighter neighbor coupled with subsequent response of NCFR and CCEMS and their provision of ALS for a massive coronary episode.
“I take my second chance seriously, and try every day to pay it forward and give back to those in need,” says Krawczyk. His giving back includes starting a company that reduces out-of-pocket expenses for patients paying upwards of $40K – $100K annually for specialty drugs to treat their disease and consulting for a global bio-tech firm developing a new life-saving drug for breast cancer victims whose other therapies have failed.
Yanaris Bassing describes the significance of ALS in her life, “Despite my many years of experience as a registered nurse and firefighter/paramedic, on September 14, 2018, it was all forgotten when the patient was my one-month old baby Emma gasping for breath. If it were not for the North Collier Fire Paramedics, my daughter would not be here today. They saved my daughter’s life.”
Beyond the obvious benefit of saving lives, inter-agency cooperativeness improves response times. NCFR paramedics routinely arrive on scene prior to CCEMS for the simple reason that our District has more apparatus and paramedics per square mile than does CCEMS in their much larger countywide coverage zone. Collier County EMS data, based upon response times of combined efforts of NCFR and CCEMS apparatus, reveals that NCFR’s rapid on-scene arrival has improved CCEMS response time in every zone of shared resources anywhere from 5% to 18%. These performance results are good news for the residents of North Collier Fire. Faster response times mean better outcomes for patients when every second counts.
Interoperability also extends to quality management and medical training. NCFR and the Collier County Medical Director Office jointly participate in the Non-Transport Quality Assurance Committee that reviews medical calls to ensure compliance with medical standards and to determine trends like overdoses by particular drugs and common causes of falls. The two agencies likewise jointly serve on the Protocol Sub-Committee that provides guidelines for all medical procedures performed by paramedics within Collier County. Additionally, NCFR and CCEMS paramedics routinely train side-by-side for required medical instruction.
The District’s current COPCN will expire March 31, 2019. The District has submitted its renewal application to Collier County, and it has already made it through the first step of review by the Collier County Emergency Medical Authority (EMA) that assists the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) with issues affecting pre-hospital emergency medical services including the evaluation of COPCN requests. The EMA approved our application on December 12, 2018.
The application now goes before the BCC at their January 8, 2019 meeting.
District staff will be attending the BCC meeting, and we urge the public to attend as well and show their support for our ability to continue working cooperatively with CCEMS to provide ALS service to our residents.
The Board of Fire Commissioners
North Collier Fire Control and Rescue District