Archive for May 13th, 2014

State legislation concerns local municipalities (more)

The Chicago Tribune has more on the controversy surround Illinois House Bill 5485:

For much of the year, three Glenview firefighters work on each engine company — despite a federal standard that calls for at least four, according to Glenview fire Chief Wayne Globerger. Globerger said the village tries to follow suggestions from the National Fire Protection Association, but it also has to watch spending. “In the suburbs, it’s a different story,” he said. “Our fires are fewer and far between, and we have mutual aid. We rely on our neighbors a lot more.”

But Globerger and some other fire chiefs and elected officials in suburbs like Highland Park and Wilmette fear a bill in Springfield could force them to hire more firefighters, resulting in increased property taxes or cuts to other public services.

Supporters of the bill, currently in a Senate committee, that would amend state law to let unions negotiate staffing levels in contract talks say firefighters should have that right, given the often dangerous nature of the job. The bill, they say, will prevent lawsuits.

“As they reduce manpower, my co-workers are put at higher and higher risk,” said Eamon O’Dowd, a Glenview firefighter for 18 years and president of the Glenview Professional Firefighters Association Local 4186.

Under state law, firefighters have collective bargaining rights. When issues of wages, hours or working conditions are unresolved, they can be subject to binding arbitration. The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, adds staffing to the list.

“We’ve been able to negotiate manning and arbitrators have had jurisdiction to rule on this for almost three decades,” said Pat Devaney, president of the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois and advocate for the bill.

This bill just clarifies that minimum staffing can be negotiated, he said. That explanation hasn’t reassured municipal leaders, who say they should have the final word on keeping residents safe while balancing the local budget.

At a recent Highland Park City Council meeting, Mayor Nancy Rotering asked residents to urge their local senator to oppose the bill.

“If more money has to go to supplying unnecessary labor, or employees, that’s money that’s been removed from our budget for other public safety or public works needs,” Rotering said.

Wilmette fire Chief Jim Dominik said the legislation was unnecessary and contrary to efforts to keep costs low by partnering with other communities. “When you look at a fire department independently, you might say we don’t have enough people,” Dominik said. “But it’s different when you look at how we work with our neighbors.”

Highland Park fire Lt. Steve Horne was one of the first firefighters on the scene of a house fire in December. On that cold morning, firefighters risked their lives rescuing an unconscious man in the basement. “Every day, we work in an environment that could lead to our death,” Horne said. “We should have the ability to say how our job can be done safely.”

thanks Dan

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Antioch Fire Department assumes full EMS for district

The Daily Herald has an article about the Antioch Fire Department initiating EMS for the town and unincorporated areas of Antioch:

For the first time since 1938, the Antioch Rescue Squad (ARS) is not contracted to provide ambulance service on fire or rescue calls in the Antioch area.

The contract between the controversial volunteer rescue squad and the First Fire Protection District of Antioch ended at 5 a.m. Friday, officials said. Ambulance calls for all 27,000 residents in Antioch and Antioch Township were switched to the Antioch Fire Department, officials said.

“We had an extremely peaceful transition at 5 a.m. and have now established ourselves throughout the district,” Fire Chief John Nixon said. “The crews are hard at work moving into fire station 3 (on Grass Lake Road), and 11 fire department employees are staffed at the three fire station buildings.”

Nixon said required fire service computer programs were uploaded to dispatch centers and ambulances to make for a smooth transition. He said people in need should not see any change in the calls.

The change in service came after the First Fire Protection District of Antioch decided this year not to renew its contract with the Antioch Rescue Squad in order to consolidate fire and rescue services in the village and township under one fire department. The village made a similar decision one year earlier.

ARS President Todd Thommes said the rescue squad is reviewing its options. “We do not have a future plan in place right now,” he said. “I wish I could say what the future is, but as of right now, we just don’t know. We still need to sit down and go over all of that.”

thanks Dan

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CFD firefighters rescue four from south side fire

The Chicago Tribune has an article about a south side fire where four civilians were rescued:

Four people, including a young girl, were rescued from a suspicious fire in a large apartment building in the Jackson Park Highlands neighborhood [yesterday] afternoon, fire officials said. Firefighters were called to the building at 7020 S. Jeffery Boulevard about 2:40 p.m. after a woman called 911 to say she was trapped in her apartment by the fire, fire officials said.

A still and box alarm and an EMS Plan 1 were called for the building, a high-rise apartment with several stairwells. Firefighters arrived at the building and saw the woman at the window of her second-floor apartment. They couldn’t reach her by going through the hallway because of the strength of the fire in the hallway, said Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford.

Firefighters from Engine 126 rescued the woman’s young child, who appeared to be about 3 years old, and the woman, using a ladder to get her out of the front of her apartment. Firefighters from Truck 49 also rescued a man and a woman from another apartment, said fire spokeswoman Chief Verdi Allen.

A quick response to the fire kept any of those who were rescued from requiring hospitalization, Langford said. They were checked by paramedics at the scene and declined further medical treatment, Allen said.

The fire was unusually intense for an apartment fire, starting in a hallway near the front door of the woman’s apartment and burning through the apartment door, Langford said. It required firefighters to use two fire hoses to put out, he said. The fire is suspicious, and the fire department’s Office of Fire Investigation and police Bomb and Arson detectives will be investigating, Langford said.

thanks Dan

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New ambulance for Schiller Park

Freightliner ambulance

Schiller Park Ambulance 463 is a 2012 Freightliner M2106/2013 Medtec Type I. Larry Shapiro photo

Freightliner ambulance

Larry Shapiro photo

Freightliner ambulance

Larry Shapiro photo

Freightliner ambulance

Rear view. Larry Shapiro photo

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