How your fire rescue department works
FIRE CHIEF PAUL DEZZI
Because Longboat Key is a seasonal community, it is important that ALL residents (full-time and seasonal) understand how their fire rescue department operates. Many residents come from communities where there are volunteer departments that provide Fire and EMS services. These departments operate differently than Longboat Key Fire Rescue (LBKFR) and that is the reason for this article.
Some areas of the United States and elsewhere do not have a 9-1-1 system and emergency service requests are made by dialing a seven digit number. Once the call is made, it may take longer than expected to get the service to the emergency scene. This may be because the service is volunteer, rural, or that there is a contract with a further away community for emergency services.
Knowing what type of service is provided to the citizens of Longboat Key is of great importance as is how it can be activated. When there is an emergency (Fire, Medical, Police) on Longboat Key, the ONLY number to remember is 9-1-1. You can expect trained fire rescue personnel to arrive with advanced life support (medications, heart monitors, etc.) ready for ANY emergency. It is comforting to know that Longboat Key Fire Rescue has well trained members that truly care about the community.
Below are a few reminders:
Why does the fire engine respond when a request is made for an ambulance for a person with a medical condition?
All Fire Department personnel are medically trained as paramedics. It is the policy of the fire department that the closest unit responds to the call for help. If it is determined that the fire truck is not needed on an EMS call, it will be returned to available status. Citizens and visitors need to understand the personnel on a fire truck and the personnel on an ambulance are all trained equally as firefighter/paramedics. So when a fire truck arrives to an EMS call remember the only difference is that the fire truck does not have a stretcher but does have ALL the other necessities to stabilize patients.
How often do I need to change the battery in my smoke detector?
We recommend that residents change the batteries in smoke detectors every six months. A good time to change the batteries is during the spring and fall time changes.
Why do I have to dial 9-1-1? If I call the fire station direct would it save time?
The firefighters might not be at the station when you call. Even if they are, the firefighters will still have to activate 9-1-1 so that other emergency responders are notified. On the other hand, the 9-1-1 emergency system is designed to save valuable seconds. When you dial 9-1-1, the system routes the call to the police or fire unit that is closest to your home.
When there is a small fire, why do so many fire engines respond?
A “Standard Response Plan” policy is utilized on all responses. This system is a pre-designated formula that determines the amount and type of equipment sent to the incident. For example, a residential structure fire includes a minimum of two engine companies, one ladder company, two rescue units (ambulance), and one Command Officer. If these units are not needed, they are released by the Incident Commander and if more are needed they can be requested.
Why does the Fire Department bring the fire engine and or ambulance just for a simple inspection?
Two reasons: First, these inspections are conducted by on-duty engine and rescue (ambulance) companies that must be ready to respond to an emergency call from the field. This is why you almost always see the personnel together as a crew and have the fire engine and or ambulance with them when they are out of the fire station. Second, an important part of the value of the annual inspection is to familiarize firefighters with the buildings and businesses on Longboat Key. While they check for hazards and consult with business owners on how best to eliminate or minimize the likelihood of a fire, they also familiarize themselves with access points and the layout of the facility or complex.
When I see an emergency vehicle approaching with lights and sirens while I am driving, what should I do?
State law, and common sense, dictates that vehicles yield to emergency vehicles that are operating their emergency lights and siren. Emergency vehicle drivers are taught to pass on the left whenever possible when responding in an emergency mode. When safe, slow down, pull over to the right, and stop.
What are the hours of Longboat Key Fire Rescue?
The fire department (remember that includes EMS) is NEVER closed. The department is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. If there is an emergency, don’t wait, pick up the phone and push 9-1-1 immediately!
Longboat Key firefighters remind you that we are available to provide public education to your community. Please call 316-1944 to request a speaker.