frequently asked questions
Here are some common questions about Fort Myers Beach Fire District.
Why does a FMBFCD fire engine come when you call for an ambulance?
- A fire truck will sometimes arrive at an incident first because it is the closest emergency unit to the scene. The FMBFCD is committed to getting help to your location as fast as possible. To achieve this, all FMBFCD firefighters are trained and certified Emergency Medical Technicians, and every fire truck has at least one (1) FMBFCD Paramedic. Depending on the severity, medical emergencies can require three to six (3-6) firefighters to provide life-saving pre-hospital care. Sending the closest FMBFCD unit allows us the best chance to achieve our goal of a four (4) minute response time, as the heart and brain have a better chance of full recovery from a heart attack if they receive oxygen in four minutes or less. After that, a person can suffer brain damage or worse. Paramedics can use life saving techniques and medications to help prevent death or permanent damage much more effectively if they can get to a patient within the first four (4) minutes.
Why do firefighters shop at the local grocery stores?
- Firefighters work a 24-hour shift and must supply their own food. They combine their money to purchase food for meals. Often, you will see them at a grocery store in a fire engine or ambulance. For the Fort Myers Beach Fire Department to ensure firefighters can respond to a community need as fast as possible, Firefighter must always stay with the vehicle they respond in — with all firefighters present and available. Sometimes they receive a call while shopping for food, which means they leave directly from the grocery store and have to come back later to finish their grocery shopping.
Why do you block traffic lanes at vehicle accidents — more lanes than are necessary?
- It is for the safety of our personnel and our patients. Blocking extra lanes keep our personnel safe when they go back to our apparatus to get equipment, and it helps protect the victim we are trying to stabilize and rescue.
Why does my water turn brown when firefighters turn fire hydrants on?
- Our members inspect fire hydrants for proper operation. We turn the fire hydrants on to make sure they operate properly. We turn the hydrants on slowly so as not to stir up the sediment that is in the pipes, but at times the sediment will get stirred up and the water coming out of your faucet can be brown in color.
Why do firefighters get upset when you drive over fire hoses?
- The fire hose is the lifeline of a firefighter when fighting a fire. If you drive over it, the hose can be damaged, and any firefighter at the end of a nozzle will have the water interrupted — possibly causing severe injury.
I have pharmaceuticals (prescription medications) from a family member that I need to dispose of. How do I do this?
- Lee County Sheriff’s Office has locations where you may place these items in a drop box for disposal. Please contact Lee County Sheriff’s Office at 239-477-1000.
I am diabetic and I need to turn in my sharps box full of needles and get an empty one. How do I do this?
- FMBFCD participates in a State-funded Sharps program to help you with this. Visit any of our stations with your sharps box properly closed, and our Firefighters and Paramedics will give you a new sharps container. Please note: we are not able to dispense more than two (2) containers at a time.
When I am transported by an FMBFCD Ambulance, can I go to any hospital I want?
- You may request to go to a hospital of your choice. However, in Lee and Collier counties, certain hospitals are equipped to better serve patients with specific conditions. If there is any delay in transporting someone to a specific hospital, it can have consequences for the patient. FMBFCD staff can aid you in making this decision for the best possible care.
Can I request to go to a Collier County hospital?
- As per our medical guidelines, “if a patient requests to go to an out-of-county hospital, the distance to that hospital needs to be closer than the appropriate hospital in Lee County”.
What is a “File of Life” and how can I get one?
The File of Life is a voluntary program designed to help FMBFCD quickly obtain your necessary medical history, your support needs, and your emergency contact information. This resource can help save your life.
- The File of Life is a refrigerator magnet with an attached red plastic pocket labeled “FILE OF LIFE”. In the plastic pocket is a tri-fold card which you can record your vital emergency information.
- You can obtain a FILE OF LIFE by going to any FMBFCD fire station, or stopping by our administration office at 100 Voorhis Street, Fort Myers Beach.
What do I do with my medications if I have to be transported to the hospital?
- You may take all of your medications with you to the hospital, or you can make a detailed list of your medications, the time of day when you take them, and the dose that you take. You can also ask us for a “File of Life” form that we offer for our seasonal and year-round residents, and we will be glad to help you fill it out with your information.
I have a “Do Not Resuscitate Form” from my doctor in my home state, is it honored in Florida?
- In Florida, an out-of-state “Do Not Resuscitate Form” is not honored by Emergency Medical Personnel. We encourage you to make an appointment with a local doctor for a valid Florida “Do Not Resuscitate Form”.
What is the difference between an E.M.T. and a Paramedic?
- An Emergency Medical Technician (E.M.T.) is certified to perform basic life support measures. Some examples would be oxygen administration, cardio-pulmonary- resuscitation (C.P.R.), hemorrhage control, and so forth. A Paramedic is certified to perform advanced life support measures. Some examples would be medication administration, cardiac monitoring, surgical procedures, and so forth. Our level of care at the Fort Myers Beach Fire Department is that of Advanced Life Support (A.L.S.). All of our fire apparatus and ambulances have paramedics on board so we may provide the highest level of Pre-Hospital Care available to our residents and visitors.
How can I find out if a fire truck can come to my school/business for a demonstration, or if I can arrange to visit the fire station?
- Fire truck demonstrations and station tours can be arranged through our Public Information and Education Office. For more information about demonstrations and tours, please call 239-590-4210.
How can I schedule a fire inspection for my business?
- You can call FMBFCD’s Life Safety Division at 239-590-4210.
What is an ISO rating?
- ISO (insurance service office, or sometimes called an insurance rating) is a rating that gauges the fire protection capability of the local fire department to respond to structure fires based on housing densities and distance of structures from (usually 3 to 5 miles) from a fire station, among other factors. The ISO rating for the Fort Myers Beach Fire Department is a Class 2. (Scale of 1 to 10, 1 presenting the best).