Fire prevention is key in protecting your home and family

Deputy Chief RL Colina from Monroe County Fire and Rescue joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM yesterday morning to talk about what’s been going on in the county.

While fire prevention week just ended, it should be considered all year long.

Chief Colina said, “The good thing about fire prevention week it leads right into our Halloween festivities. At the Sugarloaf school this week, Thursday, from six to eight, Monroe County Fire Rescue will be out there. We participate in the Trunk or Treat, which gives the area and anyone else that wants to come join kind of a safe environment to go around and gather some candy, and they get to look at our trucks and talk with our personnel. So it’s one more opportunity we get to go out in the community and spread some fire prevention, but also enjoy the time with the community.”

Sparky the Fire Dog goes along with Monroe County Fire Rescue to talk to children.

Chief Colina said, “We take Sparky with us anytime we get an opportunity he’s available. Sparky loads up in the fire truck with us and we take him there. They like to see him more than they like to the firefighters at times. But it is such a large amount of fires. They happen in the kitchen from either cooking being unattended to, leaving things in there are kind of overloaded circuits. So we do find a lot of the fires within the United States as a whole it’s been identified that they actually do start in the kitchen.”

It takes a lot of personnel to keep the Keys safe and eight new firefighters were brought in recently.

Chief Colina said, “Between having personnel that ended up retiring or relocating to other departments, these eight new firefighters that come in here and help fill some of these voids that we’ve had. The Florida Keys has always been known, we have such an influx of visitors that come on a daily basis. Those that live down here, we know the roads, we know the waters. That’s where we get into a little bit of difficulties when we have visitors here. They’re not sure of where I can swim, where the currents are. Also, with the driving, they’re used to having multiple areas of roads and passing. They’re not familiar with the area. So that that introduces some new challenges for us down here as well.”

Some firefighters have seen promotions.

Chief Colina said, “We recently just concluded our promotional process for lieutenants and for captains.  So with those positions now, we’ve got basically newly promoted officers. Everybody that was within the promotion process did an outstanding job, this go around, and those vacancies that needed to be filled to get our department whole were completed. We can’t be any prouder of everybody that participated within the promotional process and a huge congratulations to those that are now taking effect in their newly gained positions.”

It takes multiple fire stations and the facilities to be able to respond to all the calls in the Keys.

Chief Colina confirmed, “It really does. That’s the difference in Monroe County Fire Rescue. We stretch basically the entire Keys and we have spaces actually in between the village of Islamorada, above Key Largo and then we stretch all the way into Key West, with the airport. So we do have some unique challenges, but we partner well with the rest of the communities, the rest of the municipalities. The main mission for all of us is always the same. We’re here to protect lives 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Three brand new Trauma Star helicopters will be added to the fleet.

Chief Colina said, “It’s just proven itself day in and day out that Monroe County with its unique challenges of being linear and being stretched so long and having that level of trauma one level center that’s on the mainland, it’s proven that it’s a necessity within this community to ensure that we can deal with the trauma and the distance that we have. So in all the research done between Monroe County Fire Rescue, the Sheriff’s Office, we’ve been able to identify the Augusta 139 as our new aircraft. That’ll be moving forward. Extremely excited that we’ve got that signed, and we look forward to those in the future.”

Will the new aircraft be different?

Chief Colina said, “Speed wise, I do believe it is a little bit faster of an aircraft. The size of the aircraft is larger for us and then one thing we’ll be able to do is after so many years of working with the air craft, we have Monroe County Fire Rescue they’ve been able to actually modify what we’re going to be doing on the inside of the cab design exactly. What’s going to fit our needs in terms of our flight nurses and our flight paramedic for transporting these critical patients. It’s an advantage for us and an advantage for the community. We’re here 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Extremely proud to continuously serve this community in the capacity that we do. We look forward to a safe week and a safe weekend for our partners in Key West.”