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A life-saving partnership

December 20, 2019
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Tucked among the "consent" items on this week's Lee County Board of County Commissioners agenda was an item with a whole lot of impact for the residents of Cape Coral.

As part of that "housekeeping" roster, the county elected board approved an interlocal agreement with the city of Cape Coral to house an ambulance and related personnel at Fire Station No. 11 on Burnt Store Road.

It is the seventh ambulance to be located within the Cape as part of a partnership under which the county pays rent to the city to use its fire stations for emergency services.

But it's not the rent money -- about $128,000 per year total -- that's important here, nice as it is. It's the partnership between the Cape Coral Fire Department and Lee County EMS that provides, literally, lifesaving services throughout the city.

The CCFD is well equipped and staffed to provide emergency services on its own. Half the department's responder personnel are firefighter/paramedics, meaning not only are they trained to fight fires but also have the same skills and primary certifications as paramedics assigned to ambulances. The other half of the CCFD's first responders are firefighter/EMTs, a dual skill set that also can handle many medical emergency needs.

So why is this partnership with the county critical?

Only ambulances can transport the ill or injured to a medical facility meaning these specially equipped vehicles are a critical need -- especially in a community where our fire department answers an average of 60 calls a day for emergency services, two of them cardiac arrests.

The CCFD is often the first on scene and, if transport is required and additional hands are needed, a department paramedic is available to join the two-person county transport team.

Two agencies. One team.

Quicker response time when transport is needed.

More personnel to provide it.

A lifesaving partnership that's a nice early Christmas present, indeed.

We thank you.

And to all, a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and happy holidays to you and yours.

-Breeze editorial



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