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Here are some common questions about the Matlacha/Pine Island Fire Control District. 

Why does a Matlacha/Pine Island Fire Control District (MPIFCD) fire engine come when you call for an ambulance? 

A fire truck will many times arrive at an incident first because it is the closest emergency unit to the scene. The MPIFCD is committed to getting help to your location as fast as possible.  To achieve this, all MPIFCD firefighters are trained and certified Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and/or Paramedics. Depending on the severity, medical emergencies can require multiple providers to initiate life-saving pre-hospital care.  Sending the closest MPIFCD unit provides the best patient outcome, especially during a cardiac or respiratory arrest. Early defibrillation (AED) and high-quality CPR increases the patient’s survival rate. Currently, Lee County EMS has one ambulance stationed within the fire district. That unit is housed at Station 1, located at the center. The next closest ambulance would come from off-island. Many times, your fire district is dispatched to several emergency calls simultaneously. 

Many people have asked, “Why not send a fire truck to just the critically injured or ill patients?” The truth is, in almost all incidents, that emergency responders do not know how critical the patient is until they get on the scene. It is the standard operating procedure for the MPIFCD to arrive at the scene of a medical emergency with the appropriate number of personnel to treat the patient. What may appear to be a minor illness or injury to the untrained bystander can turn out to be more serious. These conditions may require additional skills and staffing from firefighters assigned to the fire apparatus to properly treat the patient. 

Together, the fire truck and ambulance crews make a highly efficient team to provide you with an unsurpassed level of care. 

Furthermore, your fire department is Advanced Life Support capable  and able to provide advanced care. 

Why do firefighters shop at the local grocery stores? 

Firefighters work a 24-hour shift and must supply their own food. Often, you will see them at a grocery store in a fire engine. For the Matlacha/Pine Island Fire Control District firefighters to ensure they can respond to a community need as fast as possible, firefighters must always stay with the vehicle they respond in — with all firefighters present and available. They will always be available to respond to any emergency within the District during this time. Sometimes they receive a call while shopping for food, which means they leave directly from the grocery store and have to come back later to finish their grocery shopping.  

Why do you block traffic lanes at vehicle accidents — more lanes than are necessary? 

It is for the safety of our personnel and our patients. Blocking extra lanes keeps our personnel safe when they go back to our apparatus to get equipment, and it helps protect the victim(s) we are trying to stabilize and rescue. 

Why do you send so many fire vehicles to a fire, especially a small fire? 

Each fire truck only carries a select number of firefighters and it is necessary to have enough firefighters on the scene of an incident. There are several specialized roles that firefighters undertake at the scene of a fire, and firefighting is a very labor-intensive activity. If you get behind because there are not enough firefighters on the call, it is more difficult to extinguish a fire quickly. 

Do firefighters have to do any extra training? 

As the world changes, firefighters have to change and train along with it. The members of the MPIFCD continually train to remain current with medical standards, fire suppression tactics, and even new vehicle technologies (we respond to numerous car accidents). Additionally, many firefighters earn college degrees in various fields from fire science to emergency management. Personnel train in their respective discipline monthly. 

What other responsibilities do firefighters have other than fight fires? 

A short answer would be the MPIFCD handles most emergencies that you would call 911 for. So here’s the complete answer. Of the more than 2,000 calls per year the MPIFCD receives, about 75 to 80 percent are medical emergencies. The rest are varied in nature. We respond to house fires, car fires, boat fires, natural gas leaks, residential and business fire alarms, car accidents, rollovers, chemical leaks, boating accidents, industrial accidents, building collapses, natural disasters, explosions and much more. We are in the business of handling those one in a million emergencies. 

How does the daily operation of the fire department function? 

The functions are divided into two primary areas -- emergency and non-emergency. Emergency operations consist of responses to fire calls, medical runs, auto accidents, etc. Non-emergency duties include training, station maintenance, fleet maintenance, and public education activities. 

Firefighters are also responsible for the care and upkeep of all apparatus and equipment used in the department. All equipment must be in top condition and ready for any type of incident. The trucks and equipment get checked on a daily basis.  

What is an ISO rating? 

ISO (insurance service office, or sometimes called an insurance rating) is a rating that gauges the fire protection capability of the local fire department to respond to structure fires based on the distance from a fire hydrant and distance of structures from (usually 5 miles) from a fire station, among other factors. The ISO rating for the Matlacha/Pine Island Fire Department t is a Class 4. (Scale of 1 to 10, 1 presenting the best)

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