The Daily Herald has an article about the separation of the Barrington FD and the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District as the split nears:

An exchange of letters between the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District and village of Barrington in late September 2012 began a 15-month process of separating their fire services that becomes real at the stroke of midnight this New Year’s Eve.

Only then will the true test of both agencies’ preparations begin, during a transitional period that will last anywhere from a minute to a year, depending who you ask. It will take a year to fully measure the finances of the fire district’s newly independent fire department, but the test of its operations should take only a few months, board President Tom Rowan said.

“To me, the measure of success is to provide even better service than we did before,” Rowan said. “That’s our goal, for people to say, ‘Wow, that’s a great operation!'” For Barrington Countryside Fire Chief Jeff Swanson, the obligation to be a great operation starts the moment his crew begins its first shift.

In addition to fire protection and ambulance service, the fire district will aim to be more community-focused — providing outreach and education through schools, churches, senior centers and other venues, Rowan said. The fire district covers 48 square miles that include parts of Barrington Hills, Lake Barrington, South Barrington, Inverness and unincorporated Cook, Lake and McHenry counties.

The district has two fire stations, one in Barrington Hills and one in Lake Barrington. It has begun looking for a third location that will improve response times. The district has automatic-aid agreements with several neighboring departments, but Barrington is not one of them.

The two agencies will provide one another with the more standard form of mutual aid — in the case of a big fire, it’s all hands on deck — but they don’t have an auto-aid agreement that spells out the specifics of going above and beyond mutual aid.

Countryside is trying to staff itself so it can depend less on mutual aid than before, Rowan said.

Barrington, however, considers the lack of an automatic-aid agreement with its old partner to be unfinished business, Barrington Fire Chief Jim Arie said. While the Barrington Fire Department is narrowing its focus to the village’s five square miles with the more experienced half of its staff, the lack of an auto-aid agreement with a neighbor ignores a basic tenet of emergency service, Arie said. “It takes some of our closest resources off the table,” he said. “That’s a change I’d prefer didn’t happen.”

The fact that fire district equipment will be passing through Barrington to reach areas of its jurisdiction flies in the face of using the closest available resources, Arie said. He just hopes it’s not at the expense of anyone’s well-being in the meantime.

The separation initially was sparked by fire district trustees’ frustration that their requests for more equipment and staff were regularly denied by Barrington officials, who ran the fire service for both jurisdictions. Now, Countryside trustees say they are satisfied with their starting staffing level. They will study whether their two water tankers are enough, since a large area of their territory is without hydrants, Rowan said.

Both Barrington and Countryside will experience a slight increase in their staffing levels relative to their jurisdiction size — Barrington to 18 firefighters and Barrington Countryside to 34.

Barrington Countryside’s staff will consist of 19 firefighters laid off by Barrington, with the rest hired from private contractor Paramedic Services of Illinois.

thanks Dan

Also, from the Barrington-Courier Review:

The Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District announced Friday that it will assist the village of Barrington’s Fire Department through the regional response program, but said it is no longer seeking an automatic aid pact with the village.

Reporting that negotiations are at a stalemate, district officials said they will rely on aid agreements with other neighboring agencies when independent fire operations begin Jan. 1.

“The [protection district] will gladly provide assistance to our neighbors in the village of Barrington through [the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System] whenever they need us,” District Chief Jeff Swanson said. “As we move forward, we will work with all our neighbors to continuously improve the levels of service provided to area residents and revise our current agreements when opportunities arise.”

“If Barrington needs us, all they have to do is make the call and we’ll send the cavalry,” District President Tom Rowan added. “We will provide whatever personnel and apparatus they may need that we have available.”

Starting Jan. 1, the Barrington Fire Department will serve its 5-square-mile area while the district focuses on its 46-square-mile area.

MABAS, a regional mutual aid system formed in 1968, includes more than 1,500 fire departments and districts across Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan and Missouri. MABAS allows firefighter/paramedics to pool resources in situations such as multiple-alarm fires or weather-related disasters that exceed the capabilities of a single department or district.