Archive for May 10th, 2014

Editorial on the Barrington FD & FPD split

The Lake County News-Sun has an editorial about the current relationship between the Barrington Fire Department and the Barrington Countryside Fire District.

When fire departments compete over who gets what truck and whose salary and pensions come out of which wallet, residents can only hope the debate does not damage the point of having a fire department.

Just put out the fire, save property and protect lives.

Citizens expect the fiscal administration of fire departments to be efficient. But when fire departments argue over jurisdictions and resources, the result can be hard feelings.

Without oversimplifying the tortured separation of firefighting duties around Barrington, it’s safe to say there are hard feelings.

Civic leaders in Antioch eventually resolved decades of feuding over emergency services by merging and ending the debate about overlapping and redundant efforts.

In Barrington, civic leaders took the opposite approach. After arguing for years over who should pay for what service in the 45 square miles around Barrington, the village and its neighboring communities went their own ways.

When the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District officially disconnected from Barrington this year, it was almost all about money. As a “paper district,” it paid Barrington for protecting tony suburbs.

Barrington leaders said they paid too much for fire protection they didn’t use.

The first real test of that divorce decree occurred on April 9. A residential fire broke out at 1025 S. Grove St. that day, and Countryside fire trucks took 5 minutes, 35 seconds to reach the rural address.

The Barrington fire chief said his trucks at a station just down the road could have reached the house in less than three minutes. But Barrington fire trucks were never called even though the departments have reciprocal service agreements.

Barrington’s fire chief said two minutes in a house fire can mean the difference between lives saved and lives lost.

The Countryside fire chief told him to mind his own business.

If anything, the event was a warning, not to the fire departments, but certainly to the people around Barrington.

Dividing fire service may have cured one problem, but it’s caused another, far more dangerous one.

thanks Dan

Tags: ,

Regional fire service concept discussed in DuPage County

The Daily Herald has an article that talks about

Citing rising costs associated with responding to emergencies, a group of mayors and fire chiefs is calling on firefighting agencies in DuPage County to voluntarily work together to save money and improve service.

The DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference Fire Services Stakeholders group has drafted a proposal to have fire departments and fire protection districts coordinate services through a quadrant system. If the plan becomes a reality, DuPage would be divided into four parts with borders defined by I-88 and I-355. The agencies within each quadrant would be encouraged to share resources, engage in group purchasing practices, share training resources and standardize fire and operational guidelines, officials said.

“We are trying to get a system for cooperation that will keep prices down, keep costs down and maintain the level of efficiency and service that we already have,” said county board member Gary Grasso, co-chairman of the fire services stakeholders group.

He said the regional fire service concept was developed by the group over a four-year period. The panel initially explored the possibility of creating a countywide fire department. “Even in the land of Chicago and thinking big, that was probably too much to take on,” Grasso said.

Nevertheless, he said, something must be done because the cost of pensions, equipment and other expenses continue to rise.

County board member Grant Eckhoff, who has long sought consolidation of fire districts and departments, said agencies need to work together because of budget challenges. “This whole thing is driven by economics,” Eckhoff said. “We’re trying to get ahead of the curve and present an opportunity for people to come together to save costs.”

Grasso said a quadrant system can work in DuPage because the county has an abundance of fire stations, equipment and well-trained firefighters. Of course, the idea won’t happen unless agencies agree to participate.

“This is voluntary,” Grasso said. “Nobody is mandating anything. Even if we had the authority — which we do not — this is for the professionals to drive the collaboration, cooperation and consolidation.”

Officials said the next step is to present the idea to the fire chiefs, municipalities, fire protection districts, unions and others.

Grasso pointed out that some agencies already have a similar arrangement. The West Suburban Fire/Rescue Alliance, which includes the Wheaton Fire Department and the Carol Stream, West Chicago and Winfield fire protection districts, has worked to reduce emergency response times and share resources.

thanks Dan

Tags: , , , , ,

New Engine for Wilmette

This from Bob Altwasser:

I have attached a picture of Wilmette Engine 27 that went into service a couple weeks ago.

E-ONE fire engine

E-ONE Cyclone II e-Max pumper for Wilmette Engine 27. Bob Altwasser photo

Tags: , , , ,