By Joe Capozzi
Technological improvements planned for Boynton Beach Fire Rescue’s dispatch center mean Briny Breezes residents can expect faster response times in their tiny coastal community.
The average response time in Briny Breezes last year was 6 minutes and 53 seconds, said Hugh Bruder, chief of Boynton Beach Fire Rescue, which provides services to Briny under a $453,000 annual contract. Although that’s lower than the recommended national response time of eight minutes, Bruder said he thinks his department can do better.
“We don’t even like the 6 minutes and 53 seconds. We always try to be better. We want to get here as quickly as we can,’’ he told the Town Council on Feb. 23.
Improvements are on the way.
Fire Rescue plans to purchase an improved dispatching system that will shave up to 60 seconds off response time, Bruder said. The cost of the system could range from $750,000 to $1 million, money he said would come from a combination of grants and state appropriations.
There is no date for when the system will be up and running.
“The timetable is I wish I had it yesterday,” he said after the meeting. “We’re in the process of searching for grant money.”
That 60-second difference “is huge,’’ he told Briny officials. “As you can imagine, for someone with cardiac arrest who needs oxygen, that’s a very big deal. We are making a lot of moves to try to reduce response times where we can.’’
Bruder reminded the council of another recent addition to his department that benefited Briny. A high-water vehicle, acquired last year, “had a very heavy presence” in November when flood water stirred by Hurricane Nicole swamped the coastal community.
“That high-water vehicle came in handy and assisted several of your residents,’’ Bruder said. “We are pretty proud of that equipment.’’
Fire Rescue also is planning a massive expansion to its dive-rescue program over the next two years, including the purchase of a 26-foot boat, he said.
In other business:
• Ocean Ridge Police Chief Richard Jones informed the Town Council that he will be resigning by May 11 to take a job in the nearby coastal town of Gulf Stream. Ocean Ridge provides police service for Briny.
“Thank you for what you’ve done,’’ Mayor Gene Adams said. “You’ve done a wonderful job at Ocean Ridge and Briny Breezes for sure. I’m personally glad you’re staying on the island.’’
• Briny Breezes Corporation announced vote results at its annual shareholders meeting Feb. 22. Only 27.1% voted yes to give the corporate board direction to market the park for sale. And 61% percent of the park’s shareholders voted to change the number of shares required to put future petition items to the community for a vote. What had required 10% will now require 35%.
• The Town Council will hold its annual organizational meeting at 3 p.m. March 21. The next regular Town Council meeting is March 23.
By Joe Capozzi