A Message from Bonita Springs Fire Chief Gregory L. DeWitt
2020 was a year like none other. The year began with my official promotion to Fire Chief in January. In March, the World became aware of the COVID-19 Virus. As the virus spread, the District made operational response changes to ensure our employees' safety and the safety of the public that we serve. Starting in April, office staff began working remotely from home with alternating in-office workdays. The District also suspended monthly Fire Commission Board meetings, as well as multi-company training. As the year progressed, we continued to learn more about the virus and made necessary safety adjustments, all while prioritizing our response to emergency calls - our core mission.
Due to the virus's many unknowns, patients either decided to forego emergency care or drove themselves to the hospital. Public fear was evidenced in the 1.3% decrease of total emergency calls in Bonita Springs. Toward the latter part of the year, the District was able to return to some resemblance of normal. Staff was back in the office, in-person meetings and multi-company training was conducted; all while staying vigilant to remain as safe as possible.
As the year moved forward and a worldwide pandemic was declared, certain avenues for reimbursement was made available. The District was able to secure over $400,000.00 in State and Federal CARES Act funds which were used for emergency Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), everyday PPE, testing, overtime, backfill overtime, and the equipment needed to work remotely from home.
Despite the new challenges, the District moved forward and day-to-day operations continued. The Bonita Springs Fire Commission Board approved a millage rate of 2.23, making 2020 the fifth consecutive year that the millage was lowered. More cost savings transpired from negotiations with Pierce Manufacturing for a Pierce Velocity which was purchased to replace Engine 24 and a Pierce Velocity 100' Tower Platform to replace Truck 25. Through aggressive negotiations and the ability to purchase both this year, the District saved over $240,000. Prospectively, the District remains debt-free, even with the reduced millage rate and the purchase of two new apparatus this fiscal year.
As 2020 came to a close, the District announced a new mobile app available to the public. The purpose of this interactive app is to improve our ability to communicate with the citizens of Bonita Springs and surrounding areas regarding topics that are important to their safety and wellbeing. Download the app by searching for, “Bonita Springs Fire Control” in your app store.
We will progress forward with our focus on excellence in the upcoming year. The Bonita Spring Fire Control and Rescue District will always seek the most efficient and effective methods of providing emergency response and keeping the citizens and visitors of Bonita Springs safe.
In Your Service, Gregory L. DeWitt, Fire Chief
The Bonita Springs Fire Control and Rescue District Annual Reports
Contact the Executive Staff of the Bonita Springs Fire Control and Rescue District
Page Last Updated: Apr 21, 2020 (11:35:00)