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Fire district undergoing training on newly-acquired vessel

January 11, 2019
By TIFFANY REPECKI ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

The Captiva Island Fire Control District has begun training on its first-ever fire and rescue boat.

At district's commission meeting on Jan. 8, Fire Chief Jeff Pawul reported that the staff had started their basic boating training with the Sanibel Power Squadron that day, with training to continue on the next day and then the following week. He added that the boat is currently active for limited service.

"Everybody is being training on basic operation," Pawul said. "It's been going good."

Article Photos

Fire Chief Jeff Pawul, left, talks with the Captiva Island Fire Control District commissioners at the Jan. 8 monthly meeting.

He explained that the limited service is due to the district waiting on a foam nozzle for the pump. Currently, the pump can only dispel water. The special nozzle uses a water-foam combination.

"It acts like a blanket," Pawul said of using foam. "It smothers the flames."

In about two weeks, the manufacturer will come down to provide additional training. He added that later in March, personnel will undergo the more advanced training with the U.S. Coast Guard.

Also at the meeting, the commission gave Pawul the go ahead to work with the district attorney on drafting new updated language regarding retirees and their health insurance, more specifically relating to spouses and Medicare coverage if the retiree is eligible but the spouse is not of age for coverage.

He explained that the policy, drafted in 2007, does not clearly address such situations.

"It is an issue now," he said.

Pawul noted that the board that drafted the existing policy years ago had intended to have spouses covered, however, the district's insurance policy through the county does not permit them to be.

Once the language is drafted, affected retirees and staff will be notified.

Pawul expects to bring the draft language before the commission in February.

Also during the meeting, he reported that about 82 percent of the district's tax base is in.

"Everybody's paid their taxes early this year," Pawul said.


- On Dec. 21, the district responded to a boat fire at 15161 Captiva Drive. Upon arrival, the crews found the dock behind the residence on fire, along with a fully-engulfed 50-foot trawler yacht.

He reported that crews put out the dock fire, while assisting agencies attempted to extinguish the flaming vessel as it had broken free from the dock and floated away. The boat eventually came to rest on a nearby sandbar and was deemed a complete loss. On Jan. 16, it was pulled from the sandbar.

- The reserve engine is undergoing pump repair due to a corroded intake line. It is estimated to cost about $3,000. In addition, annual maintenance on both engines is planned in the coming months.

- There were 35 incident calls in December, with a total of 430 calls during the 2018 calendar year. During the 2017 calendar year, the district responded to a total of 451 incident calls.

"Water quality affected our type of calls during the summer," Pawul said of the red tide.

- There were 15 inspections in December, which were mostly annuals or follow-ups on annuals.



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