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Our History

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The Florida legislature created the Captiva Island Fire Control District in 1955 as an Independent State Taxing authority to provide fire protection services. The Fire District has three elected Fire Board Commissioners who serve a four-year term. 

The original Fire District including the northern portion of Sanibel Island to Bowman’s Beach Road until 1974 when Sanibel became incorporated as a city. The original members were all volunteer firefighters who shared a one-engine fire station with the Captiva Civic Association on Chapin Lane. By 1977 Captiva Island was becoming a major tourist destination and a lot was purchased by the District on Captiva Drive. In 1980 a new fire station was constructed and John Bates was appointed as the first paid firefighter and Chief. By 1981 Chief Bates hired three additional full time personnel and still supervised numerous volunteers. Captiva Island suffered a devastating Hurricane in 2004, Hurricane Charley. Personnel worked in a unified command system with Sanibel Island during search/rescue and recovery. Chief Bates served until 2006 when Jay Halverson was promoted to Chief. Chief Halverson oversaw the hiring of several more full time personnel as it became much harder to recruit volunteer personnel.

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Rich Dickerson was promoted to Chief in 2011. Chief Dickerson oversaw the implementation of Advanced Life Support along with a water rescue program that included personal watercraft and all terrain beach vehicles. In 2012 Chief Dickerson and Deputy Chief Jeff Pawul started an ambitious project of constructing a new state of the art fire station facility. The project took three years including the demolition of the old station, construction remodel of a temporary quarters and final completion of the new fire station. The new facility includes a training room, medical treatment room, administrative offices, three bays, air cascade filling station, fitness room, training stairwell and numerous bedrooms to handle major events such as post hurricane. The new fire station received a station design award in Fire Engineering magazine in November 2015.

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Jeff Pawul was promoted to Fire Chief after the retirement of Rich Dickerson in January of 2018. He has continued to lead the District with continued advancements in training and operational capability.  He has designed a much needed replacement Fire Engine as well as secured funding with a matching grant for a new Fire and Rescue marine unit.  The District has worked to secure a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (COPCN) from Lee County and the necessary State of Florida Advanced Life Support Non-Transport license which allowed for the hiring of a new medical director, Dr. Benjamin Abo.



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