Thursday, November 12, 2009

Public Safety Partnerships Help Make Collier A Great Place, A Safe Place

A rescue in the water, another from a five-story building and a response to a potential bomb were among the scenes Thursday afternoon as Collier County public safety agencies demonstrated a few of the many ways they work together.

The demonstrations, which were conducted behind the Collier County Sheriff’s Office headquarters at 3301 U.S. 41 East, showed how the partnerships between CCSO, Emergency Medical Services, fire agencies and Collier County are making public safety more effective and efficient than ever. Because of these innovative partnerships the Collier County community is seeing an increased level of service, enhanced public safety with existing resources, and a savings of both lives and dollars. These partnerships are particularly important now as governmental agencies struggle to make effective use of every budget dollar in a tight economy.

“We’re using public safety services and resources today much more effectively than we ever have in Collier County,” said Sheriff Kevin J. Rambosk, adding that deputies, firefighters and medics partner on everything from training to actual emergencies.

CCSO’s partnering agencies share the Sheriff’s enthusiasm.

“We have tremendous cooperation, cooperative partnerships and operational things” that help us enhance public safety, said East Naples Fire Chief Doug Dyer.

“I’m most proud of the way our fire departments, sheriff’s office and emergency medical services have approached the delivery of emergency services in an integrated way,” added Dan Summers, director of the Collier County Bureau of Emergency Services.

Some examples of these partnerships include:

· CCSO and fire agency dive units and marine rescue teams train together monthly to ensure that water rescues and recovery dives are conducted in the most efficient, effective responses possible. Joint dives in response to actual emergencies have resulted in the recovery of bodies, evidence and vehicles.

· The SWAT Medic program provides some EMS medics with tactical training and equipment that allows them to respond closer to active SWAT scenes in which one or more people have been injured. Before the SWAT Medic program medics were required to wait nearby and enter a SWAT area only after it was safe to do so. Medics who go through the program learn combat casualty care guidelines, tactical triage and SWAT terminology. Supporters of the SWAT Medic program say it “brings good medicine to bad places.”

· CCSO, fire agencies and EMS save the cost of hiring outside instructors for training sessions by sharing resources, providing trainers and opening classes to one another whenever possible. For example, Collier County EMS and fire agencies provide deputies with National Incident Management System training, which is a set of guidelines that emergency responders up to the federal level must follow during major incidents.

· The CCSO Inmate Labor Program saves Collier County Domestic Animal Services more than $100,000 per year by providing inmates to clean kennels and care for shelter animals.

· Coordinated responses to certain law-enforcement-related events such as missing endangered persons increase manpower and save tax dollars. By using on-duty firefighters and EMS personnel to assist in grid searches and neighborhood canvasses, CCSO does not have to pay overtime to bring in additional deputies who are not on duty.

· Because CCSO patrol cars are equipped with automated external defibrillators, help can often reach patients in cardiac distress more quickly. A deputy who arrives on scene ahead of EMS and firefighters can attempt to restore a normal heartbeat by assessing the situation and deploying an AED. The agency’s nearly 600 AEDs were obtained at no cost to the agency thanks to a partnership with the American Heart Association.