CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. - It's your money, and Charlotte County leaders are putting hundreds of thousands of it towards your safety. They voted unanimously to get County Fire and EMS more ambulances and personnel to service an area that's been growing since 2005.
"Four months, 120 days, 99 times we ran out of units," says Chief Dennis DiDio.
Charlotte County Fire Chief Dennis DiDio calls it "condition red." Since January, he's been tracking the number of times crews have had so many calls to cover that they've actually run out of resources. Take for instance April 9th. The call volume was so great, they hit condition red three times.
"We had a structure fire, hazmat, several other emergencies going on when that happened... we shift units around constantly during the day to keep the county covered. but when you get down to one or two units in 600 square miles, its very hard to cover...that brings a real serious concern as far as public safety," the Chief adds.
It's why county leaders decided to increase the fire and ems budget by more than $1 million.
Most of it will pay for two ambulances and 12 cross trained fire and ems personnel. Resources that will keep them from relying on crews from other counties, but also keep Charlotte County units within their station's two and a half mile radius zone.
"We can produce roughly a one to six minute response if we're in that zone. but what's happening is that the units are being called so much out of their zone to cover other zones because they're on calls that response times will start to increase," he adds.
It's a cost taxpayers say they're willing to pay for.
"Thinking about it overall it sounds positive because its a good service," says William Scaduto.
Since 2005, the call volume in the county has increased by more than 20 percent. Leaders say the two ambulances and personnel should be on the road by January 2014.