Monday, 18 June 2007




In case you missed it, below is the captured text of a very thought-inspiring, introspective chat with Nick Christi, a county firefighter. The chat spanned three days, between the 16th and 18th of June. For all to read when you get a chance, take heart.
The formula that was used to figure out how much it cost miami dade to respond to surfside was fake. To calculate number of calls by how much is paid is inaccurate. It is more like what is your largest target hazard (temple, high rise, etc..) and what are the costs to service it in the event there is an incident. If there is high rise fire we know that 10 units are going to respond, the cost of providing that service to Surfside is probably $15 million. Calculate each fire truck costing $2 million a piece to have on the go 24/ get 6 of those on a high rise incident. Then you have the 2 rescues which are about $1.5 million to get 2 of those...then you get 2 chief officers which is probably a million for both.

Seeing how there has been little talk about fires, lets focus on the WMD issue.

Concerned Resident: Nick, you make good points, If you are a Surfside resident please email your thoughts to the mayor, manager, attorney and commission or speak at a commission meeting. Unfortunately I think it is a done deal as the mayors mind is made up and he has virtually promised MB to bring the $2milion. Sorry to be so cynical but I know the man and the way things are done in MB too well. least you are on record for pointing out the facts that unfortunately will be ignored.

nick christi: Is your police force concerned with a possible attack on a religious facility or is it an event not likely to the houses of worhsip have beefed up security to look out for potential terrorists to determine if a potential threat is fake or not? If either party takes it as a legitimate concern, than how can you exclude the most important response component to a WMD incident.....Fire & Rescue.

It is not too late and that is part of the reason why the county is changing the ordinance as it relates to getting out of the Fire District. It really a local issue?

Bluemango: This commission is adamant to siphon all our service needs off to Miami Beach.. given that both the mayor and vice mayor hail from the Beach. It would be interesting to learn if county will prevail in the matter. I just cannot see Beach having the resources and manpower to respond to Surfside in the case when the whole barrier island has been affected by a natural disaster or, has been devastated only in part, -- let alone a WMD strike.

You should know your professional input is very much appreciated Nick. No its not just a local issue, to answer your question. We know that.

Insurance Question: Will our insurance rates go up or down with this change?

Bluemango: What I know about insurance is that my agents ask how far my response station is. I asked my agent why and he said the insurer guage distance to response time. Copies of your insurance form show these questions. I had made a mistake at first and told him my station was 2 miles away. My quote came back $1,000 more than when I had corrected my error...Actually looked it up on MAPQUEST and realized Haulover is about a mile away...That was a lesson in Homeowner's Insurance shopping.

nick christi: As far as insurance rates, the main factor is location of fire hydrants in your area....i do not know the iso classification of MBFD....I would be surprised if there is any difference between the 2 providers as long as there is a hydrant within 1000 feet of your home.

Bluemango: That is also addressed as a quesiton on my Homeowner's insurance application.

nick christi: It will be interesting to see if the county prevails on the ordinance change. If the county lets Surfside go, will they then look at a mitigation strategy, which is the loss of money to the Fire District from Surfside leaving.....much like what happened with new cities that incorporated. The loss of Surfside is not a local issue as it impacts in some way the remaining areas still receiving services by the County Fire Rescue. If they lose multiple cities then that loss would have to be offset to the remaining cities and Unincorporated Dade. So, if Surfside is allowed to go, is that just a vote that should occur only in Surfside or to all voters receiving services from Miami Dade?

If an area of Surfside chose to de-annex from Surfside, would they be allowed to vote just on the issue or all residents of Surfside? If at the end of the day, cities opt-out from the county, who is left behind to be the service that can mobilize countywide to deal with major incidents? Local cities would say, 'Not in my city; Not my concern'. As far as Surfside goes, who is more likely to be in your community or closest to your community, the Beach or the County? Do you really see the Beach firefighters shopping at your Publix? ...This is signifcant in the event that the neighbor down the street stops breathing....the county firefighters would be nearby but wouldn't respond because they wouldn't hear the calls, considering that the Beach would be the fire rescue provider.

CharlieThink: Thank you Nick for your thoughts. Yes it is true that Surfside is acting alone and ignoring the safety interests of our neighboring towns. And Yes MDFD is vastly superior in equipment, manpower and emergency training. And yes in a real emergency Miami Beach will act in their best interests leaving us to fall back on a watered down MD service due to our pulling out, but hey Nick......Politics is politics. My career with MB rests in my delivering this $2million dollars.

Joe G: To think of Surfside going it alone regarding Fire & Rescue seems the wrong way to go... Surf/Bal/Bay (possibly Indian Creek) banding together, should be a key element to a solution.

SeeItComing: Sooner or later Surfside will be part of Miami Beach. It is the Mayor's wish and his 7 marionettes will make sure it happens.

nick christi: Interesting that you would think that the other communites would be interested in a joint venture regarding fire rescue with Surfside. The battle over road closures, and then the thought that if the county built a fire station in Surfside it would only be to serve those communities at your expense.

Plus, how could you get Bal Harbour with the mall and high rises to say that they too are unhappy with the service they get when the fire station is next door to them. Or Bay Harbour Islands which has a town that goes to the west which has fire service also on the other side of the bridge.

The county units will still be next door in Bal Harbor, and Indian Creek and Bay Harbor islands.

As far as law enforcement is concerned when there is a large incident, there is an abundancy of resources up to and including the national guard. There is no such thing for Fire & Rescue other than the county......which is why the county is called to back up the Beach when the Beach has a large incident and need units both at the scene and to cover their fire stations.

How could a Bal/Bay/Indian Creek/Surfside combo put together a fire department that would have at least two fire trucks and two rescues (minimum) to handle daily incidents? Not to mention the "bog one" which does not occur on a frequent basis in terms of bog should be big; there being an actual fire but on a regular basis where people think there is a fire such as a burning pot on the stove or a smell of smoke inside the building. All of those require a mass deployment from the get-go in the event that it is an actual fire that is not contained by the sprinkler system.

I can accept the idea that you should be free to decide what you want to do, but when it goes bad (and history has shown that it will go bad), don't call the county because of your lack of planning and financial commitment.why Should i have to pay for extra food in my fridge to have in case you run out of food in your fridge when unexpected guests arrive? I guess that is an odd analogy, but it makes the point of "okay, pack your bags and let me get on with my life while you get on with yours."

Bluemango: The mayor and most of the commissioners do read this blog, Nick. I hope your very insightful information weighs in on their decision... if at all that means anything. I too feel it's not too late, since we have a contract till April and the County Ordinance to contend with at some juncture.

nick christi: The comment about the street closures was just an example where two different towns are unable to agree on an issue..... the logistics of getting all the local towns to get out of the fire district and then create a special taxing district to fund the new fire dept and then hire fire officials and employees and then the equipment, and of course, find a central location for the fire station.

Due to the growth in Sunny Isles, Station-21 will always be a multi-unit facility the way it was long before there was growth in Sunny Isles. Plus, all thats happening is a full circle to the way it was when all of these towns had their own fire departments. County firefighters don't leave the county to work for city fire departments, city firefighters leave to come work for the county.

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