SPECIAL MEETING OF THE BOARD OF
FEBRUARY 22, 2008
The Lake County Board of
WELCOME AND INTRODUCTION
Mr. Gary Kaiser, Director, Department of Public Safety, stated that this presentation would be a little different from what the Commissioners had seen before, because they were going to display a lot of the things that they used out in the field and have the staff explain to the Board what they were doing. He explained that the entire scenario that morning would be based on an incident action plan that they wrote for every event that they had, which was part of the National Incident Management System for disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and plane crashes. He stated that they would be given the complete picture of what the plan was, how it was going to be executed, who was responsible for what, and how it flowed. He also pointed out that the personal accountability tags that they were given were what they used when people arrived on the scene, and the incident commander collected and maintained these tags to keep track of exactly how many people were on the scene and where they were. He specified where in the room (or the parking lot) the Commissioners would go for each presentation throughout the program to give them an unprecedented, in depth view of what the Public Safety Emergency First Responders did.
COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS DIVISION
Mr. Greg Holcomb, Communications Technologies Manager, commented that the Communications Systems Division budget was $20,793,022, which looked large but their capital outlay, which contained their new radio system this year, was the majority of the budget for 2008. He reported that some of the revenues that came in were from 911, cable franchising, and other emergency services fees, which made up about half the revenue; some interest income on reserves; and fines and forfeits from the surcharge from traffic violations. He commented that the beginning fund balance was rather large this year because due to the legislature, they carried over some funds for some 911 system replacements that were going to have to happen. He also went over the operating expenses for both systems and technology, including cost and maintenance of towers, phones services, electric services, and lease agreements.
Ms. Harryette Hannah, Database Coordinator, went through the process for addressing a new subdivision, including naming the street and receiving a record that would be shown if 911 was called.
Ms. Laura Nichols, Systems Database Manager, explained that they were responsible for issuing all addresses in unincorporated areas and several of the cities, maintaining the master street addressing guide, and maintaining the database for telephones and addresses of the streets.
Mr. Bruce Thorburn, 911 coordinator, stated that cable television was in transition right now and that legislation passed last year that went into effect July 1 moved local authority for all intents and purposes away from issuing franchise agreements and given to the State of Florida, Department of State. He specified that by July 1, 2009 all cable customer complaints would be going to the Department of Agriculture, but until that time, they were still required to receive complaints, but with no enforcement authority. They also had to ensure that all Department of Revenue records were met and that the backup material was done, which was filed twice a year. In order to show the Board the difference between where they had been and where they were going, he displayed an old analog 911 key switch and commented that analog would soon be gone and replaced by digital and computer equipment. He then stated that instead of having the hand set and all the other equipment, it would be replaced by a computer screen and a wireless headphone with a mike, enabling the operators to have their hands free to do other things. He also stated that the system would change from being a fixed-address technology to triggering a blinking dot on a map. He mentioned that sometimes the milepost marker on a highway was used to determine who was responsible and the contact point for an emergency call from a cell phone caller who was on a highway.
Mr. Gustavo Marquez, Communications Specialist, stated that they covered repairs, exchanges, warranties, broken clips, antennas, and other cell-phone use maintenance and reviewed 600 pages of cell phone bills. He stated that they had a new radio service coming in, which resulted in new radios, new portable units, and the maintenance on those. They also had to maintain the towers and equipment for emergency preparedness.
Mr. Holcomb talked about some of the significant challenges that they were facing, which included a database that did not coincide with the Property Appraiser, the Tax Collector, or the GIS system in the County; revenue uncertainties due to future lost 911 revenue; rising of fuel costs; maintenance contracts; and staffing, especially with “ONE-DEEP” position responsibilities.
FIRE RESCUE DIVISION
Mr. John Jolliff, Deputy Fire Chief, stated that a majority of their budget went for personal services, and the operating expenses that were in the budget covered things such as utilities for the eighteen fire stations; apparatus repair and maintenance; and fuel and oil for the fleet. He stated that they responded to a call every 35 minutes in the County and covered 1,022 square miles of unincorporated area. He mentioned that the normal station rounds by an on-duty Battalion Chief who spent 30 minutes at each station took on average 6.5 hours to cover 100-136 miles.
Kara Miller, Fire Lieutenant/Paramedic with Lake County Fire Rescue in the
Lieutenant Bobby Ford stated that all employees in the field were dual certified, which in addition to being a state certified fire fighter, they were also an EMT or a Paramedic. He noted that they handled natural disasters and vehicle accidents, where they might use hydraulic operations to cut open the vehicle or start medical care.
Mr. Chuck Blinco, Fire Lieutenant/EMT and a member of the Special Operations Response Team (SORT), stated that the group has three fire stations dedicated to Special Operations and 29 firefighters who had to meet a minimum of 500 hours of additional training to get their foot in the door for Special Operations, including a 160-hour course in hazardous materials, which prepared them to deal with anything from drums on the side of the road to the methamphetamine drug lab response that they currently did with the Sheriff’s Office, as well as courses in search and rescue operations and building collapse.
Ms. Kathy Edwards, Firefighter/EMT at Station 109 in Clermont, serves as a Public Education Coordinator and a Juvenile Firefighters Intervention Network Coordinator and educates the public in fire safety issues. She showed some equipment they used to educate children and special-needs adults, and some of the programs that they had available were “Get To Know Your Firefighter,” which was utilized in the day care facilities, and “Get Out, Stay Out,” for grades kindergarten to second grade, where they put the children in a simulated environment to teach them the importance of escaping and staying out of the way of a fire. She stated that that they also had programs for kitchen fire safety for homeowners’ associations, which was adapted for the special-needs adults at Sunrise ARC, and did 25-30 community events, open houses, and parades utilizing the Fire Safety House.
Mr. Jolliff related three significant challenges of their department, which were staffing issues, continuance of progress toward compliance with established industry consensus standards, aging infrastructure, and fleet replacement and maintenance upkeep.
OUTSIDE DISPLAY OF SPECIALIZED APPARATUS AND EQUIPMENT-
COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS AND FIRE RESCUE
The Commissioners were taken outside in the parking lot for a demonstration of some of the fleet and equipment. Mr. Rob Richardson, Radio System Coordinator, directed everyone to a portable tower system, which he related that Homeland Security asked Lake County to host for 18 months and which was integrated into their system. He reported that this tower was worth $150,000 and that it had a five-channel trunking system and was used for special events. Mr. Richardson stated that they had large generators in case the generators from the towers failed. He also related that manpower was one problem that they were facing, and one of their goals was to increase their staff.
Mr. Jim Dickerson, Assistant Fire
Chief, Operations, stated that
ANIMAL SERVICES DIVISION
Ms. Marjorie Boyd, Director, Animal Services, stated that during her twelve years with the County, she had seen a lot of change and growth. She reported that in 2008, her budget totaled a little over $1.8 million, with over $1.4 million of that going for staff. She commented that they drove over 57,000 miles every quarter and that it was a large area to cover, resulting in a fuel expense of more than $67,000 for over 25,000 gallons annually. She also pointed out that a lot of calls ended up taking more than one officer and several hours. She stated that they handled about 18 court cases every month at a cost of $1,200. Other expenses included $2,000 monthly for animal feed and $3,000 per month for utility services at the shelters. She related that one puppy or kitten could be linked to over 500 million births in seven years and that Lake County Animal Services handled a larger variety of animals than any of its surrounding counties. They averaged a call for service every six minutes and a field response time of 37 minutes for the officer to respond to that call.
Ms. René Segraves, Assistant Director, reported that in 2007, they had 13 animal control officers for the field operations and two dispatchers. She showed a map that divided the county into four zones and showed in green the areas that they currently serviced, which she remarked was just about the whole entire county. She related that their animal control officers were certified in many areas by the State of Florida and could issue courtesy notices, written warnings, or even citations; and they were also certified in chemical immobilization (dart gun), which was a last resort to catch an animal that could not be captured by any other means. She reported that in 2007, they received over 21,000 calls.
Mr. Tim Horschler, Animal Control Officer, pointed out an exhibit of an aggressive Burmese Python named “Big Bertha,” that was one of ten that they had to take care of at their shelter, who was over 18 feet long and weighed over 140 pounds.
Ms. Segraves related that they had over 900 calls in reference to livestock, which were cattle or horses that were running loose and destroying property, and when the officer responded, they would do their best to safely confine that animal and call for a livestock rig. She also pointed out that they received over 800 calls in reference to neglect and cruelty and showed some contraptions that they confiscated with the animals still in them at the time. She specified that they had over 900 injured animals, including birds, eagles, sand hill cranes, and zebras and had responded to over 4600 calls about loose or stray animals, such as dogs, cats, chickens, and pigs. She explained that their officers also attended training classes, such as the large animal rescue class.
Mr. Horschler displayed some of the equipment used in their large animal rescue class and related that they took day and night training courses, in which they learned how to get large animals out of sticky situations, such as when a horse or a cow were stuck in the mud. He showed what they used to right a trailer when it was turned on its side.
Segraves told about some of the educational programs that their division did at
schools, civic organizations, and homeowners associations to educate the public
on how not to get bitten by dogs. She
mentioned that they received two awards because of their innovative programs
from the Florida Animal Control Association (FACA) and the National Association
of Counties (NACo). She related that
they responded to the fires in
Ms. Tiffany Phillips and Ms. Michelle Perrier, Animal Shelter Technicians, explained about some of their shelter operations. Ms. Phillips stated that in 2007, Lake County Animal Services was visited by more than 29,000 individuals inquiring about either adoption, reclaiming their own animal, or on many occasions relinquishing animals that were strays or could no longer be cared for. The shelter staff consisted of nine shelter technicians, three euthanasia technicians, and one on-staff part-time veterinarian. Ms. Perrier explained that in 2007, Animal Services received up to 15,400 animals, and each animal went through a standard check-in procedure, which included scanning for a microchip; then an adoption process after they determined that it was friendly and adoptable; and given its first set of vaccines. She related that once the animal was adopted, it then went through a series of pre-surgery tests, including a heartworm exam, parvo check, and feline leukemia check; further vaccinations; and spay or neutering in their own in-house clinic performed by their on-staff veterinarian and shelter veterinarian technicians. She pointed out that as a result of the monumental success of their in-house spay and neuter veterinary clinic, their adoption rates had increased over 70 percent, which has enabled Animal Services to extend their public assistance, beginning with their rabies vaccination program in which nearly 900 dogs and cats were vaccinated during the last two sessions. Ms. Perrier related that Lake County Animal Services was the first in the nation to establish and operate pet friendly shelters where the owners and their pets could be evacuated and housed safely in the same shelter during a natural disaster, and they currently operated eight pet-friendly shelters with one backup shelter. Ms. Phillips added that in 2005 they were awarded the NACo Achievement Award in recognition of their innovative pet-friendly shelter program.
Boyd stated that one of the most significant challenges for their division was
that their facility was overcrowded, since it was originally designed for 12
employees and 8,000 animals per year, and they currently had 31 employees
handling 16,000 animals a year. Their
other two significant challenges were increased response time due to
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT DIVISION
Mr. Jerry Smith, Director, Emergency Management Division, stated that their main mission was to make sure the County was prepared, and they did that with a team effort of all the different departments across the County and partnering with the municipalities and different agencies in the County and the State. He pointed out that they collaborated with their partners, coordinated the issues, and facilitated them for all of their residents. He also noted that they were one of the few divisions that were responsible for all 300,000 citizens, pursuant to Statute 252. He commented that he thought they were a bargain for the Board, because 40 percent of their budget came from grants. He stated that through grants and with the cost of two personnel from the general fund, they were able to fund four full-time personnel, one part-time person, and volunteer expenses. He stated that some of their operating expenses were for the satellite phones and the reverse 911, public education materials, and reprographics for training materials, grant applications, forms, and other printed material. He pointed out that they had more people registered for special needs shelters than they had room for, but typically they did not always fill those beds up. He stated that they had nine weather stations strategically placed throughout the County, so they would know whether it was safe to send someone out in a particular area. They were excited that they had a conference call bridge, because they formerly had to pay a provider to be able to do that, and that enabled them to be able to keep their cities and other partners informed about what was going on. He explained that they had those conference calls repeatedly during hurricanes. He also mentioned that they had some small household generators.
Mr. Smith talked about some of their programs, stating that after Hurricane Katrina, they started the Public Shelter Registry Program, which had buses pick up people who did not have dependable transportation to take them to a shelter and back home when it was safe. They were a huge proponent of NOAA Weather Radios, and one of their new programs, Disaster Ready Communities, aimed to get people to start thinking about personal responsibility for preparedness. He also noted that coordination among all the municipal jurisdictions and agencies was a big undertaking involving hundreds of entities.
Mr. Sean Loughlin, Disaster
Assistance Coordinator, stated that one key component of their budget was the
Emergency Management Preparedness and Assistance Trust Fund (EMPA), which was
funded from a surcharge on homeowners’ and business insurance. He related that some of the items that were
on the scope of work for this fund were to work statewide to decrease their
shelter deficit, coordinate mitigation activities, coordination and
collaboration, National Incident Management System (NIMS) compliance,
participating in the State Hurricane Exercise, and communications with Florida
Division of Emergency Management. He
also noted that the planning component was one of the most time-consuming parts
of their job, particularly with submitting the applications for the Hazard
Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) and the County Emergency Operations Plan. He mentioned that the Comprehensive Emergency
Management Plan, which was the framework from which they operated, would be
updated this year as well. He reported
that they currently had
Ms. Dottie Jackson, Emergency
Management Specialist, stated that the Special Needs Registry was one of her
planning areas, and specified that Florida Statutes required all County
Emergency Management agencies to maintain a database of special needs
persons. She related that they had three
special needs shelters and worked closely with the Health Department in
reviewing applications for the special needs shelter. Another area of her planning activities was
with the Health Care Facility Disaster Plans, and all 86 healthcare facilities,
such as assisted living facilities, hospitals, and skilled nursing facilities,
licensed by the State of
Mr. Thomas Carpenter, Emergency
Operations Manager, stated that the National Incident Management System (NIMS)
was started after the terrorist attacks of 2001, which was a strategic,
systematic approach to domestic incident response and that it was applicable
across disciplines and jurisdictions. He
related that they have formed a partnership with Lake-Sumter EMS, the Villages
Department of Public Safety, and Sumter County Emergency Management to form a
core instructor group to teach all the required training with a very aggressive
schedule for 2007, which has gotten good feedback. He also talked about the EOC (
Mr. John Walton, from Volunteer Lake, talked about the program for disaster-ready communities, which included mapping the neighborhood, preparing a contact list, taking care of people who needed treatment in their own neighborhood, and going through a 9-step checklist with items such as taking care of loved ones, shutting off water at the house main, sharing information gathered by teams, and placing “HELP” or “OK” signs in windows. He commented that the key to the program was to keep it simple to present and to activate.
Mr. Smith went over their significant challenges, which included need of a dedicated EOC, special needs shelters and supplies, storage, and future technology upgrades. He related that another one of their significant challenges was to get people to be prepared. He also mentioned that they did not have generators large enough to attach to their shelters.
OUTSIDE DISPLAY OF SPECIALIZED APPARATUS AND EQUIPMENT –
Ms. Marjorie Boyd gave the
Commissioners a tour of some equipment and animals, including a horse, goats,
and dogs pertaining to animal services.
She pointed out that because of the
CLOSING COMMENTS/ANATOMY OF AN EMERGENCY CALL
Mr. Kaiser summarized that they have presented the many diversified functions that Public Safety performed on a 24-hour basis. He explained that the Anatomy of an Emergency Incident would describe the critical thought processes that their emergency responders carried out when they were responding to an alarm.
Ms. Joanna Buchanan, Communications Supervisor, Lake-Sumter EMS Communications, related that this would be a vehicle accident located in the County at US Hwy 27 and CR 561, with reports of multiple vehicles, numerous calls being received, and several injuries. She mentioned that they were a secondary PSAP (public safety answering point), meaning that the 911 calls that came in had already gone through the Sheriff’s Office or other agencies. She commented that with this type of incident, all four of their 911 lines and four administration lines would be ringing. She explained that the first thing that was important was confirming the location and getting a phone number. She specified that they then found out exactly what was going on, what kind of vehicles were involved, whether there were any hazards, whether anyone was pinned in the vehicle or thrown from the vehicle, if everyone appeared to be conscious, and any obvious injuries such as serious bleeding, and they ensured the caller’s safety. She related that they would be constantly updating the call at that time with the information received and would dispatch in multiple units. They also would look to see if there was any type of mutual aid that they could request from another agency or county to see if they were closer to assist and give all the pertinent information to the corresponding crews to help them paint a picture before they got there. She continued to explain that once the units were on the scene, they were getting information back from them and requesting assistance from specific responders. If there were several patients, they would then call the hospitals and look into the possibility of other means of transportation, such as air support. She pointed out that this was just one call, and they were still working all the other calls that were going on in both counties.
Mr. Braxton Bisceglia, Fire Lieutenant/EMT, Lake County Fire Rescue, commented that he would have 30 seconds to figure out what to do about this call and mitigate the scene. He stated that their immediate responsibility would be to gather the information, repeat it back to Ms. Buchanan, and put on the bunker gear. Upon arrival at the scene, he would give an initial report, including the number of vehicles; the type of vehicles that were involved; any hazards; any fuel leakage; the number of patients and their status, which would determine the level of MCI (Mass Casualty Incident); and any road blockage. He explained that he would then establish a command system and determine if there was any extrication that would be involved, in which case he needed to decide if he was going to use a fire extinguisher or a hose line. He mentioned that since there was a horse trailer involved, he had to contact animal control and special operations. He also noted that he was constantly talking to his dispatcher. He related that they then would try to de-escalate the call, clear up the scene, and get the road opened, and when everything had been taken care of and secured, he would go back to his station and do a report.
Mr. Lloyd Parker, Lake-Sumter EMS,
commented that he and Mr. Bisceglia were concerned about a lot of the same
things, because they operated as a team in the field. He related that they were also interested in
the location and making sure they were responding to the right place, as well
as the other information that Ms. Buchanan was providing them, such as the
number of vehicles, the number of patients, and the types of injuries. They were particularly interested in any
hazards, because they would then need to take the proper precautions, and
wanted to be aware of any special considerations, such as extrication,
entrapment, ejection from the vehicle, and extremes in age of the patient. He also received continued information from
the dispatcher, as it could change their level of response and the appropriate
number of resources on the way. He
explained that when they arrived, they would size up the situation and look at
the number of vehicles to estimate how many patients they thought they might
have and stage the level of MCI from a 1 (small incident) through a 5 (large
incident). He noted that they had a
predictable scale of response that was in their protocol based on that. As they started to manage the scene, the
first thing that
Ms. René Segraves, Assistant Director, Lake County Animal Services, stated that they would initially receive their call usually from the Sheriff’s Office, and immediately she would dispatch the first available animal control officer to that area that was trained in large animal rescue, who would be able to approach the scene and contact them back to say exactly how many people were needed with their care unit to respond. She explained that once they arrived on the scene, they would have to decide whether or not the animal was going to be removed before the trailer was up righted or if the animal’s injuries were such or that it was pinned in a way that they could not remove the horse safely. She mentioned that they would have their veterinarians standing on call waiting to see whether they needed to do anything with the animal. She added that they also would try to have photographs taken that would enable them to use that for training experiences, and they had to do reports.
LAKE-SUMTER EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES
Mr. Jim Judge, Executive Director,
Lake-Sumter EMS, stated that they worked to weave themselves into the fabric of
the community throughout Lake and
Mr. Judge reported that their budget
this year was about $25 million, and they received subsidies from both Lake and
Mr. Judge reported that they were a
very heavily regulated industry by Florida Statutes and the Florida
Administrative Code, and they had easily passed all the many unannounced
inspections, since the crews did a tremendous job keeping up with Statutes and
the Rules. He talked about their busy
Ms. Cindy Hall, County Manager, stated that she wanted to hand out information before the Commissioners left from the Budget Department that some Commissioners requested which contained a line by line cost of programs in the general fund and a backup section to it of items that they could possibly discuss at the budget workshop on Tuesday.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he and Ms. Hall had met with all of the constitutional officers to discuss matters pertaining to Tuesday’s workshop and to ask for suggestions, and he commented that they all were willing to do whatever they could.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 12:10 p.m.
WELTON CADWELL, CHAIRMAN
NEIL KELLY, CLERK