Marco Island Celebrates 50 Years of Fire Rescue

On the 50th anniversary of the Marco Island Fire – Rescue Department, Chief Mike Murphy along with his staff chose to celebrate the occasion by presenting the History, evolution and the possibilities in future for the department. Nearly 100 people from the Marco Island attended the presentation at the Rose History Auditorium.

The FRD staff began the presentation by offering the attendees a chance to get their hands on the real life firefighter gear. The staff also spent time in explaining various pieces of firefighting equipment to the crowd. The presentation had actually begun even before the crowd had entered the auditorium as the staff took care to bring many fire and rescue trucks to the venue.

Chief Murphy said that it was informative and practical as all of the folks present in the auditorium are on duty. There was a large contingent of firefighters, Chiefs, captains, EMTs and fire marshals in the auditorium and Chief Murphy said that they would go on duty right here from the auditorium in case of an emergency call.

The Fire and rescue Department at Marco Island handles over 3500 calls in a year but the 50th anniversary date turned out to be fine and the presentation was completed without any issues.

Chief proudly demonstrate the heavy gear worn by a firefighter on a call that included oxygen tanks, fire hoses, axes and protective gear. He also mentioned that every firefighter dons that heavy gear at least once in a month and climbs up at least 21 flights of stairs.

Staff also invited members from the audience to try various gear including the hazmat suits used by the department. These suits can be claustrophobic as one of the audience members chose not to wear the mask during the demonstration. Murphy mentioned that a firefighter can easily lose 15 pounds of weight in a single day wearing that suit.

Now, it was the turn of Deputy Chief Chris Byrne to show the services provided by the operations department. The operations department deals with Emergency medical services, hazardous materials, vehicle extraction, marine and dive rescue and fire suppression. He also emphasized the continuous cross training provided to the FRD personnel to add to their already long list of skills.

In the presentation, the chiefs demonstrated the capabilities of the superior 12-lead EKG that helps the department in providing advanced life support capabilities. They also used the occasion to share their latest acquisition, the new green colored quick response vehicle. Chief Murphy proudly shared the fact that this vehicle had cost the department only $45,000 in refurbishing and upgrades whereas a new vehicle costs approximately $250,000.

The quick response vehicle has advanced equipment which allows the EMTs to detect early signs of a cardiac event and it can literally save lives as it has the capabilities of an emergency room in a hospital.

Chief Murphy was at pains to explain to the gathered audience that they should not drive from home in case of an emergency. Instead, they should dial the 911 and let the firefighters and the first responders handle the emergency. He also reiterated that women should not try to lift their injured husband and let the firefighters handle it as it may result in additional injuries.

A few veteran members of the department were also present on the occasion and they shared many old photos and memories of the notable fires on the Marco Island. It was an interesting experience to watch the old photos when garden hoses in car trunks were considered state of the art.

Capt Tom Bogan bragged about his 30 foot long, jet powered Fire rescue boat. He was proud to tell the audience that the department had already used this floating ambulance over 60 times in the past nine months of its service and has already saved 20 lives.

Fire Marshal Ray Munyo share the prevention, enforcement and plan review carried out by his department.

Sharing his vision of the future of FRD, Chief Murphy said that the department continues to evolve and increasingly, medical services are becoming a big part of the department’s work load. Health care currently accounts for 70% of the FRD’s job and people should not be surprised when a fire truck with a 12 point EKG shows up at their doorstep when they sign up for a new health program.