Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Four Pinellas fire districts form council

Four districts responsible for providing fire protection and emergency medical service to residents of unincorporated Pinellas County have formed a political coalition designed to advocate for residents in their areas.

The four — Lealman, Pinellas Suncoast, Palm Harbor and East Lake — represent people in all areas of unincorporated Pinellas from south county to the beaches to north county.

The Council of Special Fire Districts of Pinellas was formed in response to the ongoing fire and EMS issues within the county. More specifically, the formation has come at a time when EMS has become a high profile issue with the county looking for ways to cut costs.

The four districts cover a population of about 158,100 and together they have about 183 in personnel. Land value in the four districts is estimated at $9.9 billion, according to council data.

Fire and EMS services in Pinellas are provided by 18 fire departments. Of those, 14 are city-based with municipal taxes paying for fire coverage and a countywide tax for EMS.

Four of the 18 are so-called independent districts because they are governed by popularly elected boards with the ability to levy taxes or fees to provide fire protection in their areas. Like the city departments, the independents receive money from the countywide EMS tax to provide emergency services.

"Over the years I have witnessed the four fire districts working with local and state officials independently on issues of common interest," Palm Harbor fire Commissioner Norm Atherton said.

"It was my goal with this Council to allow us to work on these issues collectively."

In a debate that has consumed major amounts of county time and money, the independent districts have come into their own with high-profile stands on various issues. The districts also provided the seed bed for a movement to allow firefighters to take patients to the hospital.

Under the current system, ambulances take patients to hospitals. But under a proposed plan created by Lt. Scott Sanford of Palm Harbor and Capt. Jim Millican of Lealman, firefighters would take over those duties.

Fast facts

Meeting Wednesday

A meeting of the EMS Special Committee has been set for 3:30 p.m. Wed. July 17 in Room 130 of the Sunstar Paramedics headquarters, 12490 Ulmerton Road, to review a final report on Pinellas County's emergency medical services system by Fitch & Associates. The meeting is open to the public.

Four Pinellas fire districts form council 07/16/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 6:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Winner and loser of the week in Florida politics

    Blogs

    Winner of the week 1: 'Liquor wall’ proponents. Gov. Rick Scott’s veto of a bill to allow Walmart, Target and other big box stores to sell liquor was a victory for an array of groups, from smaller merchants and Publix (which has stand-alone booze shops near its stores) to those who feel the hard stuff …

  2. Review / photos: Sunset Music Festival brings Major Lazer, safety upgrades to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa

    Blogs

    Somewhere beyond the barricades and mountainous LED stages of the Sunset Music Festival, there had to be worry. There had to thousands of parents in parking lots and empty kitchens, anxiously distracting their minds, every now and then checking their phones.

    Major Lazer headlined the Sunset Music Festival on May 27, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
  3. 24-year-old man charged with murder in shooting at Andrea Cove Motel

    LARGO — Pinellas sheriff's officers arrested a 24-year-old transient man Saturday in connection with a homicide at the Andrea Cove Motel in unincorporated Largo.

  4. Photo gallery: Calvary Christian rolls to state title

    Blogs

    View a gallery of images from Calvary Christian's defeat of Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers for the Class 4A title.

    Calvary Christian players circle up on the field before the FHSAA class 4A baseball championship against Pensacola Catholic on Friday May 27, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Calvary scored 6 runs in the first inning, and had 7 hits.
  5. Two girls found safe after being reported missing in New Port Richey

    UPDATE: Both girls were found safe Saturday night, police said.