The Cape Coral Fire Department, the largest fire department in Southwest Florida, does not have an independent training facility, and is now asking the city for a brand new one.
CCFD is evaluated by the Insurance Service Office, which says it needs to train new firefighters at a facility for at least 18 hours before they’re certified, but CCFD is currently only able to train its new firefighters at a facility for two hours.
“The recommendation from ISO is 18 hours of facility training; we average right now about two, just because of the difficulty of getting our crews to those other sites,” said CCFD chief Ryan Lamb. “This will dramatically improve those numbers. And then that, with a variety of other factors… we hope we will improve our overall ISO rating. Right now, we’re Class 3, we hope to improve to a Class 2, and that should lower homeowner insurance in most cases.”
New CCFD firefighters currently train in a station parking lot or an empty plot of land.
The new facility will have a five-story training tower, office space, a control room and thermal lining systems with training props all over the place.
“Right now, we’re training a group of five new firefighters, we have 10 more coming here the first of the year,” Lamb said. “As we continue to see those new firefighters come in due to growth, and then also due to attrition as people retire, it’s important that we bring those firefighters in well-trained so they’re prepared. Because we’re seeing, as we see that decreasing experience… we want to make sure that they’re well-trained and prepared for somebody’s worst day.”
CCFD is currently looking to get approval for phase one of the construction manager at risk, which will cost about $69,006. If approved, construction for the rest of the project would be slated to begin in nine to 12 months.