Archive for January 30th, 2014

Naperville gets SAFER grant

The Daily Herald has an article about the Naperville FD being awarded a SAFER grant;

Staffing a fire department can be a challenging task of shifting numbers and hours and personnel, but the job got a bit easier for Naperville Chief Mark Puknaitis with the recent announcement of more than $1 million in grant funding to pay salaries and benefits over the next two years.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency gave Naperville the money through the SAFERprogram, which stands for Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response.

Puknaitis said the funds likely will allow his department to hire three firefighter/paramedics. The hiring will help fill a void left by attrition over the past few years, which has resulted in six vacant firefighter/paramedic positions and two vacant administrative positions.

“It’s important because it’s a million dollars and it’s something that is going to help us maintain our staffing levels in the fire department,” Puknaitis said.

Any firefighter/paramedics hired using the SAFER grant money, which totals $1,002,000, would work in the operations division. Puknaitis said Naperville currently has 185 operations personnel split into three 24-hour shifts.

The chief will work with the city’s finance department to form a budget and determine exactly how many new firefighter/paramedics he can hire using the SAFER grant.

Recruitment to fill the positions must begin within 90 days of the city receiving the grant, and the city must maintain its previous staffing level and the new positions for the two-year duration of the funding.

Puknaitis said about 2,500 fire departments across the nation applied for the SAFER funding and only between 300 and 350 received it.

thanks Dan

Also, from the Naperville Sun … apparently Naperville’s firefighting agency also got a grant …

Naperville’s firefighting agency will be getting a hand with covering its staffing expenses, thanks to more than $1 million in federal grant money announced by local lawmakers.

The offices of U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D-Naperville) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) notified the city of the $1,002,000 award, part of the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response program administered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The grant program is designed to help prevent staff cuts or to rehire responders who have been let go because of funding constraints.

“It is critical that we make sure our first responders have the tools they need to keep our communities safe,” Foster said in a news release.

Naperville Fire Department Chief Mark Puknaitis said the city applied for the SAFER funds last year. The department currently has six vacancies in its operations division, he said, and several current firefighters plan to retire this year.

The wave of retirees was not unexpected. When the city’s growth boom was gaining steam in the late 1970s and early ’80s, firefighters were being hired in groups of 15 or more, the chief said. During that period, the city’s three fire stations increased to the 10 in use today.

“Our department is in a natural progression of people retiring,” Puknaitis said. “We’re going to see that trend continue, in the next five to 10 years for sure.”

While the new hires will be paid less, he noted the flip side is that they will not bring to the job the body of experience in public safety that has been accrued among those leaving the profession.

“We need to have the funding to replace them,” said the chief, emphasizing that his department minimizes personnel costs as much as possible, and applies for grants at nearly every opportunity. “An award like this helps me tremendously in getting approval for positions that I have in my budget. … It’s not, ‘Hey we’ve got extra money so let’s put a couple more people on.’”

The money, to be funneled to the department over the next two years, is required to go to personnel and benefits. It can’t be used for such purposes as remodeling a firehouse or buying new equipment, Puknaitis said.

“A million bucks over two years is huge,” he said. “And they don’t give that kind of money to just anybody.”

thanks Chris

firefighting agency … are you kidding me?

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Norwood Park Box Alarm, 1-28-14

This from Steve Redick

Tags: , , , , , ,

Chicago Still and Box @23rd and Lawndale 1-29-14

This fro Josh Boyajian:

Here are my pictures from the Still and Box last night at 23rd & Lawndale.


Chicago rehabbed two-flat on fire

Josh Boyajian photo

firemen cut steel fence at night

Josh Boyajian photo

flames shoot from the roof of a building at night

Josh Boyajian photo

flames shoot from the roof of a building at night

Josh Boyajian photo

fireman inside burning building

Josh Boyajian photo

fire hydrant in the snow

Josh Boyajian photo

Tags: , , , , , ,

Chicago working fire 1-21-14

This from Josh Boyajian:

1-21-14 – Companies were dispatched to a working fire in the 6500 blk of south Green. I was sitting at 47th and Halsted when this came in. As soon as they dispatched the companies, you could see the header. Engine 47 arrived and lead out a line to the second floor. Truck Co. 18 had the main to the roof and cut a few holes. Fire was knocked pretty quick. Here are my pictures.


Pierce ladder truck at fire scene

Josh Boyajian photo

flames shoot out upper floor window

Josh Boyajian photo

firemen enter building with fire at upper window

Josh Boyajian photo

flames shoot out upper floor window

Josh Boyajian photo

firemen make entry at fire scene

Josh Boyajian photo

battalion chief in command of fire scene

Josh Boyajian photo

Tags: , , , , , , , ,