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Punta Gorda Fire Department training for marine emergencies

Every Punta Gorda firefighter participates in the training so all are prepared for marine emergencies.
Posted at 9:11 PM, Feb 09, 2024

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. — The Punta Gorda Fire Department is training to be able to handle all marine emergencies on board Charlotte Harbor’s tour boats.

Kevin Martin, the Punta Gorda Fire Department training chief, said the first step in being prepared for any emergency is having a plan.

“It just takes all the guesswork out of it and as you know saving minutes saves lives,” said Martin.

To help make the plan, the fire department has partnered with the tour boat agency King Fisher Fleet. This allows the fire department to familiarize themselves with the layout of tour boats and on board safety equipment.

The firefighters also find the most efficient ways to approach and board the boats in times of an emergency. This is while the boats are stationed in the marina and on the water. For owner and captain of King Fisher Fleet, safety is a priority.

“Our cargo is people, we haul people and its precious cargo,” said Ralph Allen, captain and owner of King Fisher Fleet. “Like the old cliche goes, you train for the worst and hope for the best.”

Every firefighter in Punta Gorda gets to train on the tour boat and each of them are looking for ways to improve the response plan.

“We are constantly training, everyday, 365, and that’s why we are one of the best fire departments around,” said Martin.