The City of Cape Coral has rescinded the temporary burn ban issued on May 3. Recent rain has decreased the Keetch-Byram Drought Index from “extreme” levels to “moderate” levels.
The City reminds all citizens to continue to use extreme caution with recreational and cooking fires. For more information on open burning in Cape Coral, click here to visit the Cape Coral Fire Department website.
The Cape Coral Fire Department has been awarded a $188,572 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) for an outreach campaign to increase home fire safety for Cape Coral’s deaf and hard of hearing community. The Department will contribute an additional $9,428 making the total amount available for the project $198,000.
Most fire fatalities occur between 11 pm and 7 am while people are asleep. Smoke and fumes from a fire – smoke inhalation is the number one cause of death in a fire – won’t wake up someone who is sleeping, but a smoke alarm will. Three out of five home fire deaths happen from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half.
This grant emphasizes the importance of proper installation and use of special smoke alarms for people who are deaf or hard of hearing and for those who wear hearing aids or cochlear implants that they remove when sleeping. These alarms utilize bed shakers and strobe lights to warn those who can’t hear audible alarms of fire danger. Thanks to the grant, the Cape Coral Fire Department will be able to install these life-saving alarms in qualifying Cape Coral homes free of charge. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 5,500 people with hearing loss reside in Cape Coral.
“Everyone deserves to hear the beep,” says Fire Marshal C. Dave Raborn. “Thanks to this grant, we can help protect a portion of our citizens who need special assistance during a fire. We will continue to provide a safe community through prevention.”
Participation in this program is voluntary and is offered to persons who meet the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) definition of “qualified individual with a disability” in regards to being deaf or hard of hearing. There are a limited number of these specialized smoke alarms available, and they will be provided on a first come, first served basis to qualified individuals who submit an application along with all appropriate paperwork. Applications can be found on the Cape Coral Fire Department website at www.capecoral.net/fire or by calling (239) 242-3264.
Steve and Diana Hernden met through a mutual friend, but their love grew as they both pursued the same career, one of community service as firefighters and paramedics.
When they met, Steve worked as a tech in the Cape Coral Emergency Room and Diana worked for Lee County EMS. They went through paramedic school together in 2006, and ended up in overlapping classes at the Fort Myers Fire Academy in 2007. They began dating shortly after and were married in May 2011.
Steve grew up in Bay City, Michigan. He got to watch his Uncle Greg fight fire as part of the Bay City Fire Department, where his two cousins, Tom and Matt, are now part of the team. While studying at the Great Lakes Maritime Academy in Traverse City, Steve ignited his passion for firefighting as a volunteer. His time as a volunteer firefighter provided the opportunity for Steve to see how rewarding the profession can be. When he had enough of the frozen winters and moved to Cape Coral 17 years ago, he set his sights on the Cape Coral Fire Department.
Diana is from Englewood (FL) and is the first in her family to join the profession of fighting fires. Her love of the medical field, combined with a desire to help people and an attraction to excitement and adrenaline, eventually led to a career in the fire service. She had no previous knowledge of emergency services, but decided to pursue it on the recommendation of a few close friends. She moved to Cape Coral 10 years ago and is only the second woman at the Iona McGregor Fire District to be promoted to the position of Lieutenant. She plans to someday be the first woman promoted to a Chief Officer position.
Both Steve and Diana are NAUI Certified Dive Instructors, including Public Safety Rescue Dive Instructors. Both are public safety rescue divers for their respective departments. Steve is also the Field Training Officer for divers and boat operators on his shift.
Diana teaches CPR and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) to Iona McGregor Fire District, as well as to the public.
They are both involved in promoting awareness and education for mental health in the fire service, both within their departments and the surrounding areas through the Southwest Chapter of the Florida Firefighters Safety and Health Collaborative.
Their service to the public does not end at there. Steve is the VP of the IAFF Local 2424 and was recently involved in getting relief supplies down to the Keys for the first responders after Hurricane Irma. He volunteered his own boat and loaded it with 3,000 pounds of supplies, trailed it to Marco Island, and navigated through debris fields to get the desperately needed items to Key West. His position as Vice President also provides numerous opportunities to work with community leaders elected officials and organizations such as the MDA.
Diana has been a volunteer with the Pink Heals organization since 2010, bringing awareness, comfort and assistance to women and girls battling illnesses within our community. The pink fire trucks are rolling memorials where people can sign the names of survivors, those who are still fighting and the loved ones who have been lost. All the members are completely volunteer and all the money raised stays within our local community to help those in need. Diana’s most memorable and emotional visit was when she surprised her mother last year, who is now a breast cancer survivor.
Steve has been a firefighter/paramedic with the Cape Coral Fire Department since January 8, 2007 and Diana is a Lieutenant/Paramedic with the Iona McGregor Fire District where she has been since January 8, 2007 – yes, they both started their careers on the exact same day!
The Hernden’s have 2 kids, a 4 year old son and a 3 year old daughter, and a 1 year old cat named Maui. They also operate a small business, Island Coast Excursions, providing beach day and scuba charters in the Lee County area. Steve is a licensed Captain, and Diana provide Divemaster and guide service upon request. Check out their website at www.ICEcharters.com
Being a two-firefighter family has its challenges. Diana works 7 am-7 pm, and Steve works 8 am – 8 pm on opposite shifts. That means Diana works one day, Steve works one day, then they have one day off together before the cycle starts over again. The schedule allows them to avoid the need for childcare as one of them in always available to watch the kids, but it also means they only get to spend time together every third day. When they do have time together, their favorite leisure time activities in the Cape are boating and scuba diving, enjoying the quick access to canals and surrounding water that a life in Cape Coral offers.
We salute Steve and Diana Hernden for the Hometown Heroes they are, giving of themselves tirelessly to serve the community they love.
Wright Construction Group, Inc. has started construction on the City of Cape Coral Fire Station #11, located at 1038 Burnt Store Road North. An official groundbreaking ceremony will take place today, January 11th, at 9 a.m., with Sweet Sparkman Architects, executives from Wright Construction Group and city officials.
This is the first fire station built in Cape Coral since Fire Station #1 was completed in 2009. The 9,000+-square-foot fire station will require over six feet of fill material to be hauled to the site to raise it above flood elevation, just over four feet above Burnt Store Road. The new $3,750,000 station will include two apparatus bays, stretching over 77 feet in length. Seven bunk rooms will serve as sleeping quarters for the crews when they are on duty. A full backup generator, along with a large capacity diesel storage tank, will provide power during any storm event. A complete well and septic system were also required, since there are no utilities in this part of Cape Coral. A 32,000-gallon storage tank will supplement the fire protection system.
“As the fastest-growing city in the U.S., Cape Coral is expected to experience a population increase in 2018 and beyond, so it is important now more than ever to keep residents and visitors alike safe with a state-of-the-art fire station that will become a permanent staple to this beloved community,” said Fred Edman, President of Wright Construction Group. “To be a part of Cape Coral’s undeniably rich history, as well as one of the biggest industries in the local market, is a dream and privilege that we will never take for granted.”
For more information on this multimillion project, call (239) 481-5000.
Wright Construction Group’s main office is located at 5811 Youngquist Road in Fort Myers, and its satellite office is at 1404 Dean Street, Suite 201, in Downtown Fort Myers. Find Wright Construction online at www.wcgfl.com.