HCDA would never provide money for a business of startup privatized Firefighters but maybe White Springs can use the Marion County Model

It is obvious that privatization of firefighters under contract may be in its infancy.  Although such privatization could grow into a very lucrative business, it would take up some heavy duty start up funds.

Now the Hamilton County Development Authority absolutely is adamant it will not provide money for start up businesses.  Yet much of  the money they have given to municipalities has been a waste.  If Hamilton County wished to start a business that would replace PCS at some point, why don’t they consider allowing an entrepreneur to provide a business plan to provide firefighters across all of Northern Florida and later successfully moving to all of Florida.

Well I doubt if anyone in Hamilton County has the insight to start such an operation, which to me would be phenomenal especially if it included ambulatory and rescue operations.

So because we like to think small, I would like to suggest Marion County’s solution for Volunteer Firefighters.  Our Town is too cheap to even provide education and when we had Chief Pittman who assisted everyone with the course work, they decided to trade him in for someone who I have never seen firefight in the tenures he has decided to be Fire Chief.

I guess that is neither here nor there but PLEASE, SOMEONE CONSIDER THE MARION COUNTY PLAN.

First of all, these are the types of Individuals which are necessary in a Fire Department, Volunteer or otherwise:


Individual who holds a current and valid Volunteer Firefighter Certificate of Completion issued by the Division of State Fire Marshal under s. 633.408, Florida Statutes.


Those activities that a fire service provider has trained an individual to perform safely outside the hot zone of an emergency scene, including pulling hoses, opening and closing fire hydrants, driving and operating apparatus, carrying tools, carrying or moving equipment, directing traffic, manning a resource pool or similar activities.



This means the Fire department would have their own EMT’s and ambulatory support in comparison to paying money for the Company Steve Stith is Director of.


The Marion County Fire Rescue Volunteer Firefighters (MCFR) – work other jobs and many are retired professionals or are self-employed.   They carry a pager 24 hours a day and work out of one of MCFR’s rural volunteer station or work with career firefighters.
As stated, Volunteer firefighting gives people an opportunity to give back to the community and form life-long friendships.  It also offers non-stop excitement and training opportunities as well as incentive programs.

Our community will never be the same without our Firefighters Brotherhood.


AND THIS IS WHAT WHITE SPRINGS NEEDS TO BUDGET FOR – However, without Kevin Pittman and the other firefighters, we may never have the kind of department we had before:

 And I have to admit, the entire situation angers me.

TRAINING  – Many training and certification classes are offered for free at MCFR Headquarters at night on six week cycles. Again, we only had that luxury with Kevin Pittman who trained the firefighters in White Springs:

These are the Training classes provided:

Support Level Volunteer Firefighters are trained to drive emergency vehicles and assist career firefighters with brush fires and exterior attacks. These volunteers take 60 hours of entry level classes but do not enter burning buildings.

Combat Volunteer Firefighters take 220 hours of classes which include not only the basics but also the National Fire Protection Association Firefighting I class. These firefighters enter burning buildings and assist career personnel with interior attacks.

State certified firefighters take more than 500 hours of classes including National Fire Protection Association Firefighting I and II. They also take additional classes in emergency medical services. All of MCFR’s full-time firefighters are EMTs or paramedics.

Volunteer Stations
(MCFR has six stations dedicated to volunteers, but volunteers can work out of any of the departments 25 career stations as well.)



  • Volunteer firefighters are eligible to receive a $300 stipend every three months, if they respond to 33% of station calls and train at least 12 hours each quarter.

  • Volunteer firefighters must also attend one 30-minute meeting each month and earn positive evaluations from their station officers.

  • When volunteer firefighters complete 60 hours of entry level classes and become a “Support Level Volunteer Firefighter,” they will receive $100. Then if they take an additional 160 hours of classes and become a “Combat Volunteer Firefighter,” they will receive an additional $150.

  • When volunteer firefighters take additional certification classes, they will receive $3 per class hour.


How is MCFR funded?

Marion County Fire Rescue relies on several funding sources to pay for its exceptional services including: ad valorem taxes based on property values; non-ad valorem fire assessments based on benefit of service; impact fees on new development and other fees for services such as ambulance transport and stand-by services, building inspections, hazardous materials spills and illegal burns.

That is why I suggested Kevin Pittman as fire Chef could have been paid more to handle the code enforcement relating to building inspections and he had the education for hazardous materials handling.  But the Town of White Springs pushed Kevin Pittman out and then asked White Springs Police Officer Davis to handle code enforcement then Stacy Tebo and Vice Mayor Tonja Brown decided to tell Officer Davis how to do his job and apparently to not go after certain special people.  Anyway, the Town Manager and Vice Mayor interfered and Officer Davis resigned from code enforcement so we have no one.  But since they charged Helen Miller with malfeasance for asking which they considered interference, perhaps both the Town Manager and Vice Mayor Brown should be removed from their position/seats.

What are non-ad valorem taxes?

The non-ad valorem fire assessment is based on benefit of service instead of property value and distributes costs evenly among citizens countywide. That means everyone pays regardless of the size or value of their home. The fire assessment funds MCFR’s firefighting budget and pays firefighter salaries, benefits, training and education as well as other items such as fire engines, nozzles, hoses, bunker gear, ladders, electricity and fire station expenses.   The residential rate is currently $165.99 and has remained the same for the past several years.

In White Springs we suggested a lot charge whether a vacant lot or a building lot pay $150.00 annually, which would provide the funds we need as long as it is not used for anything other than for Fire.

What are impact fees?

Impact fees are levied on new development based on the impact that growth and increased population have on fire rescue resources and the 9-1-1 call load. Commissioners earmark money generated from impact fees solely for capital improvement projects. This means, MCFR can only spend impact fee dollars on building new fire stations and purchasing additional equipment such as fire rescue vehicles.

In 2001, MCFR implemented a capital replacement program which budgets to maintain and replace equipment on an annual basis. The addition of the new trucks will allow two older fire engines to be phased out of MCFR’s fleet of 177 firefighting and emergency medical vehicles. Moreover, all MCFR engines are equipped to administer Advanced Life Support and can execute the same level of medical care as an ambulance, with the exception of transporting patients. This is why residents often see a fire engine respond to medical emergencies with ambulances.

The MCFR has more than 500 full-time state certified firefighter/paramedics, firefighter/EMTs, EMTs and paramedics who serve more than 300,000 citizens, cover 1,600 square miles (which is larger than the state of Rhode Island) and respond to an average of 170 emergencies a day.



BASIC LIFE SUPPORT (BLS) TRANSPORT FEE (352) 291-8000 This is the base BLS transport fee that will be charged to each patient requiring transport where no ALS procedures are administered. Emergency $452.00 *

Hospital to Hospital Transport Non-Emergency* $400.00

ADVANCED LIFE SUPPORT (ALS) I TRANSPORT FEE This is the base ALS transport fee that will be Emergency $536.00 charged to each patient that is transported by a ground ambulance and receives any of the listed procedures. This fee is inclusive of, but not limited to, any of the following procedures: a: Cardiac Monitor b: Vascular access (including catheters, saline locks, administration sets, blood draws and all fluids) c. Obstretrical Kits d. Medications approved by the Department Medical Non-Emergency* $500.00

Director and administered to patients including, but not limited to, those medications listed in the Department Medical Care Protocols Medication List * Hospital to Hospital Transport ADVANCED LIFE SUPPORT (ALS) II TRANSPORT FEE This is the base ALS transport fee that will be charged to each patient that is transported by any ground ambulance and receives at least three administrations of medication(s) by IV push/bolus or continuous infusion and/or the provision of at least one of the following ALS procedures. This fee is inclusive of, but not limited to, any of the following procedures: a: Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation b. Defibrillation/cardioversion c. Endotracheal/Nasotracheal intubation d. Central venous line e. Cardiac pacing f. Chest decompression g. Surgical airway h. Intraosseous line i. Medications approved by the Department Medical Director and administered to patients including, but $703.00

SPECIALTY CARE (SCT) (CRITICAL CARE) TRANSPORT FEE This is the base SCT transport fee that will be charged to each patient that is transported by the ground SCT ambulance and receives any of the listed procedures: a. Invasive monitoring o Arterial lines o Swan-Ganz catheters o ICP o CVP o Etc. b. Multiple IV medications requiring infusion pump and/or titration c. Adjuncts to support circulation o Transvenous pacemaker o IABP o LVAD o BIVAD o Etc. d. Patients on any of the following drips: o Vasopressors o Phenylephrine o Vasoactive compounds o Antiarrhythmics o Fibrinolytics o Tocolytics $1,125.00

Originating Department Description of Service to be Furnished Fee Fire Rescue Emergency Medical Services TRANSPORT MILEAGE Minimum of one mile. Charge will begin when transporting patient or specialized teams. $10.16/mile SPECIAL EVENT AND STANDBY ALS UNIT $125.00/hour NOTE: Time is calculated from the time of arrival or the requested time of arrival (whichever is later) through the unit available time as documented by the EMS report. Only time increments greater than 7 minutes will be rounded up to the next quarter hour. NOTE: Schedule of fees will be applied to patients receiving any billable EMS services at special events. ENGINE $150.00/hour NOTE: Time is calculated from the time of arrival or the requested time of arrival (whichever is later) through the unit available time as documented by the report. Only time increments greater than 7 minutes will be rounded up to the next quarter


Second Citation   $ 50.00

An y Subsequent Citation $130.00


R esid ential – Third Offe nse    $450

Com mercial – Third Offe nse $575.00



In addition to meeting the above requirements, applicants for the Florida Firefighter Assistance Grant Program must complete the following items and submit the Grant Application to: FirefighterGrant@MyFloridaCFO.com


  • Request a Fire Department Safety Compliance Inspection (if one has not been completed in the past three years) from the Bureau of Fire Standards and Training, Safety Section by sending an e-mail to: FireFighterSafety@MyFloridaCFO.com



  • Grant Narrative Self-Evaluation Guide    PDF FORMAT


Only one Application Packet should be submitted by each eligible Fire Department.


Karin for the blog


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