State legislation concerns local municipalities (more)

More articles discussing IL HB 5485 on fire department staffing (manning):

This article is from the Illinois Observer:

Firefighters Chief: Mayors “Confused or Lying” on Fire Department Staffing Bill

Illinois’ top firefighter union is firing backing at suburban mayors over their efforts to torch fire department staffing legislation in Springfield.

On Tuesday the DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference ratcheted up their opposition to a proposed law, House Bill 5485, that would mandate fire department staffing requirements for local municipalities.

The proposed legislation is slated for a hearing in the Senate Executive Committee, Wednesday.

Under the bill, communities outside of Chicago would be required to collectively bargain staffing levels with their firefighters, a practice that the mayors say would result in no local accountability and potential safety issues for residents.

“When minimum staffing levels are required to be part of fire department contract discussions, and outside individuals become involved in those discussions and dictate outcomes, it takes away our ability to work together to decide that is best for each of our communities,” said Downers Grove Mayor Martin Tully. “It can result in unnecessarily increased city budgets, which means higher taxes for our citizens.”

Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois union president Patrick Devaney is having none of it, blasting the mayors’ claims.

“The DuPage Mayors and municipal groups are either confused or intentionally lying about the effects of the bill,” Devaney told The Illinois Observer. “The legislation halts trial lawyers’ attempts to unravel the 30 year history of bargaining over safe fire department staffing levels across the state.”

The mayors also describe the bill as another unfunded mandate from Springfield.

“This bill will negatively affect the outstanding mutual aid system in place in this state which ensures that no matter what the situation, the right number of firefighters and equipment are sent to the scene,” said Roselle Mayor Gayle Smolinski.  “We believe this bill is unnecessary and does more harm than good.”

But Devaney argues that only harm would be to “politically connected law firms”.

“The only losers will be the politically connected law firms that stand to lose millions in taxpayer dollars to continue frivolous litigation over the issue,” Devaney said.

The Chicago Sun-Times published the following editorial:

Pols and pundits distort truth on firefighter staffing

Laws are what separate democracies from totalitarian states, laws based on trust and promises kept.

Have we lost that compass?

Local politicians and their supporters have used this space recently to argue that local governments can’t live up to an agreement made many years ago with firefighters in Illinois. Although the pols and pundits have done a great job of distorting the truth, as they often do, the facts remain the same.

In 1986, firefighters gave up their right to strike. Instead, the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act gave firefighters the right to binding arbitration over several worker issues to ensure that the public’s safety was always protected regardless of any labor/management disagreement that might exist in a particular jurisdiction.

That Act explicitly identifies what issues can be taken to arbitration: wages, hours and working conditions. The act also excludes specific items from being heard by an arbitrator. Manning is not listed as an excluded item for firefighters (as it is for other occupations) due to the importance of assembling adequate personnel to mitigate the emergencies firefighters face every day.

Although Illinois firefighters and their employers have negotiated safe staffing levels for nearly three decades, the Great Recession spawned a small group of legal theorists that have attempted to rewrite Illinois statute through the court system. Some municipalities have been too willing to throw away millions of tax dollars to fight the 1986 law and have failed at every level. In fact, the biggest waste of tax dollars came from a challenge by the village of Oak Lawn.

Since 1992, manning requirements have been part of the Oak Lawn’s collective bargaining agreements. When the global financial crash hit in 2008, the village used the crisis as an excuse to unilaterally eliminate emergency responders.

Firefighters went to arbitration and were upheld. The village appealed to the circuit court and lost, then to the appellate court, where they lost again. Finally the Illinois Supreme Court upheld the lower court decisions by refusing to hear the case.

The cost to Oak Lawn taxpayers? A cool $2.5 million.

But where did that tax money go? Not to first responders. Not to fixing potholes or repairing decaying sewers. It could have been abated back to property taxpaying homeowners but it wasn’t.

The $2.5 million was dished out by the Oak Lawn Village Board to lawyers. No one’s sidewalk was fixed with that money. No one’s life was saved, no bad guys jailed and no taxpayer used the money to buy his kid a new pair of shoes.

Taxpayer money went to lawyers who are now financing a propaganda campaign to fool readers into believing that continuing to allow firefighters to negotiate over safe staffing levels will somehow hurt taxpayers in Illinois.

Property taxpayers have every right to fight for lower taxes. But let’s take aim at the real waste within the system. It’s time to call out the local politicians who point fingers at first responders with one hand and use the other to funnel money to their lawyers and political backers. HB 5485 should be passed — quickly — to end the costly dispute that is enriching attorneys and costing taxpayers dearly.

Pat Devaney is president of the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois.

thanks Dan


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Maywood Box Alarm, 11-21-14

This from Code Photography:

Here are some photos of the Maywood box alarm rubbish/commercial fire.

Check here for more photos:

-Code Photography

firemen with American flag

Code Photography

firefighters at rubbish fire

Code Photography

fire truck at night

Code Photography

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Area apparatus for sale

Former Evergreen Park truck:

Former Evergreen Park ladder truck for sale

Former Evergreen Park ladder truck for sale

Cicero tower ladder:

Cicero fire truck for sale

Former Cicero Tower Ladder 1.

Arlington Heights engine:

Pierce Quantum fire engine for sale

Former Arlington Heights fire engine for sale.

Flossmoor engine:

Pierce Lance fire engine for sale

Former Flossmoor fire engine for sale.

Munster engine:

Mack fire engine for sale

Former Munster fire engine for sale.

thanks Dennis and Kevin

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Report shows many firefighters suffer from sleep disorders

An article at discusses research into sleep disorders among firefighters:

Almost 40% of firefighters suffer from at least one sleep disorder

Sleep problems could be a major factor in explaining why more than 60 percent of firefighter deaths are caused by heart attacks and traffic accidents, a new study published in The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine has found.

Researchers sampled almost 7,000 firefighters across the U.S. and examined how many tested positive for sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia, shift-work disorder and restless leg syndrome, the New York Times reports. They found that 37 percent of firefighters suffered from at least one type of sleep disorder.

“Our findings demonstrate the impact of common sleep disorders on firefighter health and safety, and their connection to the two leading causes of death among firefighters,” said lead author Laura K. Barger. “Unfortunately, more than 80% of firefighters who screened positive for a common sleep disorder were undiagnosed and untreated.”

Barber’s team found that when compared with those who had a good night’s sleep, firefighters who had a sleep disorder were more likely to crash their car or fall asleep at the wheel. They are also more likely to report serious health problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression and anxiety.

thanks Dan

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As seen around …

This from Martin Nowak:

Northwest Homer FPD Ambulance 1714 – 2014 Ford F-350/Horton.

Hazel Crest  – Ambulance 1230 – 2014 Mercedes Sprinter/Medix Specialty
North Palos Ambulance 822 – 2014 Chevy Express 4500/2003 Osage.
Type I ambulance

Northwest Homer FPD ambulance. Martin Nowak photo

Sprinter ambulance

Hazel Crest ambulance. Martin Nowak photo

Type III ambulance

North Palos ambulance. Martin Nowak photo

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Chicago working fire 11-19-14

This from Josh Boyajian:

Wednesday, we were going to get a shot of the new buggy for Battalion 9. When we were by Engine 110, they put out a still alarm @ 6048 n Francisco. Engine 89 had nothing showing on arrival. When companies made entry, they found an apartment on the 1st floor with heavy smoke filling the stairwell. Engine 89 lead out a line while Truck 56 made the roof. They made a quick knock of a dryer fire. Here are some shots including the new buggy.

smoke from apartment building

Josh Boyajian photo

firefighters raise ground ladder

Josh Boyajian photo

Chicago FD Engine 89

Josh Boyajian photo

Chicago FD Truck 47

Josh Boyajian photo

Diamond Diamonds on fire truck in Chicago

Josh Boyajian photo

Chicago FD Battalion 9

Josh Boyajian photo

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The NFPA publishes the 2013 US Firefighter injuries report:

More than 65,000 injuries occurred in the line of duty

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) released the latest edition of its U.S. Firefighter Injury Report which highlights data on injuries sustained by firefighters on duty. The statistics were collected from fire departments responding to the 2013 NFPA survey for U.S. Fire Experience.

In 2013, 65,880 firefighter injuries occurred in the line of duty, a decrease of 5.1 percent from the previous year.

Of those injuries, 29,760 (45.2 percent) occurred during fireground operations, with the leading causes reported as overexertion, strain (26.5 percent) and fall, slip, jump (22.7 percent). The Northeast had the highest fireground injury rate, with more injuries per 100 fires than other regions of the country.

The major types of injuries received during fireground operations were:

  • strains, sprains, and muscular pain (55.3 percent)
  • followed by wounds, cuts, bleeding, and bruising (13.8 percent)
  • burns (5.1 percent)
  • smoke or gas inhalation (5.0 percent)

An estimated 11,800 injuries occurred during other on-duty activities, including:

  • 4,015 while responding to or returning from an incident
  • 7,770 during training activities
  • strains, sprains, and muscular pain accounted for 58.4 percent of all non-fireground injuries

In addition to injuries, there were 7,100 exposures to infectious diseases, and 17,400 exposures to hazardous conditions.

thanks Dan

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Pleasantview FPD 2-Alarm fire, 11-19-14

Pleasantview FPD pulled a 2nd Alarm for the fire at Terry’s Bike Shop, 9826 W. 55th Street, Countryside, IL, 11-19-14

This from Chris Wagner:

Cell phone footage includes Tri-State (left) and Pleasantview (right) trucks applying water to structure fire. A second Pleasantview truck was raised shortly after this clip was taken. Engines on scene included Pleasantview (x2), McCook, LaGrange, Lyons, LaGrange Park, and Hinsdale. A Brookfield truck was in staging. Ambos from Argonne, North Riverside, and Darien-Woodridge. Air Rehab from Plesantview and Command Vehicle from Westmont.

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Local area fire training

This from Steve Redick:

I was lucky enough to be able to attend a live-fire training exercise at a vacant motel complex in Niles recently. I got some really nice images and wanted to share a few plus a short video.


air cascade truck for fire department

Steve Redick photo

E-ONE fire engine

Steve Redick photo

Grumman Aerialcat tower ladder

Steve Redick photo

firemen training with live-fire

Steve Redick photo

firemen training with live-fire

Steve Redick photo

firemen training with live-fire

Steve Redick photo

firemen training with live-fire

Steve Redick photo

firemen training with live-fire

Steve Redick photo

This from John Tulipano:

I had a great opportunity to attend a NIPSTA live-fire training drill at a vacant motel in Niles on Friday, along with Steve Redick and Tim Olk. What a great opportunity as a fire photographer to get some great images while watching the young candidates were put through their paces.

firemen training with live-fire

John Tulipano photo

firemen training with live-fire

John Tulipano photo

firemen training with live-fire

John Tulipano photo

firemen training with live-fire

John Tulipano photo

firemen training with live-fire

John Tulipano photo

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Veteran Chicago firefighters retire has an article two retiring Chicago Fire Department veterans:

On Sept. 4, 1979, three young men joined the Chicago Fire Department ranks without having any idea that each of them in their own way would leave indelible marks on the job they loved.

After graduating from the fire academy, Jose Santiago, Dan Fabrizio, and Steve Chikerotis were reunited on the [Flying] Squad 2 — then the busiest firefighting team in the department, charged with making some of the scariest rescues their city could muster.

This month, two of them —  Fabrizio and Chikerotis — retired from active duty after 35 years.

“Along the way we touched a lot of lives,” said Santiago, who rose through ranks and now serves as fire commissioner, the top spot in the department.

Fabrizio, a battalion chief, twice served as president of the Chicago Fire Fighters Union, where he negotiated a handful of contracts and fought against powerful mayors to preserve fire truck staffing levels, employee benefits and make sure his firefighting brothers had the equipment they need to serve Chicago citizens and protect their own lives.

His Squad 2 partner was Chikerotis, who rose to deputy district chief and became a writer who crafted real-life Squad 2 rescues into the compelling stories in his book, “Firefighters from the Heart.” He also brought real Chicago authenticity to the movie “Backdraft” and most recently to NBC’s “Chicago Fire,” a show born from an idea he scribbled on a cocktail napkin.

It happened in 1985. Chikerotis and Fabrizio were partnered up on the roof of a three-story apartment building on Milwaukee Avenue in a situation eerily similar to a fire that killed three firefighters months earlier.

Chikerotis scheduled his last shift on Veterans Day in an attempt to leave the job with the least amount of fanfare possible because he hates sappy goodbyes and doesn’t plan to leave Chicago. But Santiago, as his commanding officer, wasn’t about to let him get away with it.

On Saturday, Fabrizio’s firefighting brothers were scheduled to celebrate his last roll call in style by crossing two fire rescue ladders over the entrance to the Truck 19 firehouse — home of the “Warriors of West Town.”

An early morning “2-11” fire at a single-room occupancy hotel at Jackson and Sacramento sent Fabrizio sprinting to his “buggy” and racing to the scene.

And if he had his way there’s no chance he’d quit, but he’s in a tough spot.

“I’m an old fart,” Fabrizio said. “I feel like my body isn’t as strong as it was at one time. I feel the aches and pains. I have bronchitis. I got on the job in a time when we didn’t wear masks and used to go into a fire with our nose in our coats. I’m paying for it now. So, it’s time to go.”

Fabrizio, like Chikerotis, said what makes easing into retirement a bit easier is that he’s not planning to disappear to Florida like a lot guys on the job do.

“You know I might try to escape the cold, but I’ll never move,” he said. “I’m always gonna be a Chicago guy. Always.”

thanks Dan

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