By George “Bud” Scholl, Mayor
(August 31, 2017) – As most of our residents know by now we have a world class police force. Our police force works directly for our City and the quality of their community policing services is unparalleled.
Another agency vital to the health and well being of our community are the services provided by our fire rescue team. This group is employed by Miami-Dade County and, as a community, we support their services through our county property taxes. Recently Miami-Dade Fire Rescue (MDFR) Chief Dave Downey and North Division Chief Darren Williams took the time to attend our July Commission meeting and report on the services provided by this agency.
MDFR is one of the top ten largest fire-rescue departments in the U.S. They have close to 2,000 uniformed firefighters with more than 57 percent certified as paramedics. In a city like ours, with a lot of coast line and more than 100 multi-story buildings, the expanded array of capabilities that MDFR has available is very important. In addition to their fire rescue capabilities they also have several specialty operations. Air Rescue provides regional aero-medical transport, search and rescue, and firefighting support. Marine Services has a fireboat and maintains a 24-hour response capability for incidents occurring on Miami-Dade beaches, shorelines and all other bodies of water. Urban Search and Rescue responds to natural and man-made disasters; to provide search and rescue, medical support, communications and damage assessment. The Venom Response Program is comprised of a highly specialized team of paramedic firefighters who are trained in response and treatment of snake bites and other types of bites and stings.
The depth and extent of the resources made available by MDFR are often overlooked until we need them. In 2016 alone, MDFR answered more than 3,000 calls for assistance within Sunny Isles Beach, with an average response time of just around 6 minutes. Our local fire station is centrally located on 172nd Street and has seven firefighters assigned. We have nine additional fire stations within 4 1/2 miles with 66 additional firefighters.
I know I speak on behalf of our entire community when I convey our appreciation to all our first responders for what they do to ensure our personal and community-wide wellbeing and safety.