Archive for April 3rd, 2016

Retired CFD Lieutenant John “Jay” F. McCallum

From a reader:

Well known, retired CFD Tower 10 Lieutenant, John “Jay” F. McCallum, who resided on the Southside passed away Friday. His brother and late father were both on the CFD. Jay was on Squad 5 prior to his promotion and was a member of the Axemen Motorcycle Club.

From the

John McCallum Jr. – Retired Lt. C.F.D. Loving father of Zane, Morgan, and Shay McCallum. Loving companion of Shannon Markey. Ex-husband of Kathy Barton. Devoted brother of retired Lt. C.F.D. Barry McCallum, Patricia (Michael) Ryan, Joanne (Michael) Rush, and the late Carline Sue Bitter. Dearest son of the late John F. Sr., retired Cpt. of C.F.D., and the late Dolly McCallum. Fond uncle to many nieces and nephews. Funeral Monday 8:30 a.m. from Palos-Gaidas Funeral Home 11028 Southwest Hwy. Palos Hills to St. Christina Church mass 9:30 a.m. Interment private. In lieu of flowers, donations to Bucks for Burn Camp would be appreciated.

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Chicago Fire Department history

Excerpts from

Why do Chicago area firehouses have a green light and a red light on the sides of the bay door?
-Geoffrey Baer, WTTW

The convention of a green light and a red light flanking firehouse bay doors and also being mounted on all Chicago fire apparatus actually has its roots in maritime tradition. In the late 1920s, a new fire chief was appointed named Albert Goodrich.

Goodrich’s family owned a rather famous steamship line that ran excursions on the Great Lakes, so his nautical background meant he was very familiar with maritime navigation protocols, and he adopted some of them for the fire department.

Maritime tradition dictates that ships have a red light on the port side, which is the left side as you’re faced forward on a ship, and a green light on the starboard, or right side. When two ships cross paths, the one that sees green has right of way, and the one that sees red must yield right of way.

Buoys at harbor entrances and channels also follow this lighting convention to keep ships from running aground. The mnemonic for this is “red, right, returning” and “green, left, leaving” – especially helpful to remember for safe passage in inclement weather or in the dark.

One of Commissioner Goodrich’s first acts was to adapt this convention to fire apparatus, placing a green light on the right side of bay doors and trucks, and red lights on the left sides. This was a time of great growth and transition for the fire department, and Goodrich was instrumental in modernizing equipment and practices.

He was the first commissioner to command a fleet composed entirely of motorized vehicles. This motorization of fire fleets was, of course, happening around the country – but even though it would be fitting for Chicago to be the birthplace of a fire department tradition, the red and green lights custom is something you’ll see in very few places outside of the Chicago area.

thanks Dan

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House fire in Elmwood Park, 4-3-16

Some short video clips from Steve Redick as Elmood Park firefighters are at the scene of a house fire at 2513 73rd Avenue Sunday afternoon.


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Carpentersville Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

Carpentersville Fire Department Chief John Skillman plans to retire this spring.

Born and raised in Carpentersville, Skillman has worked at the fire department 29 years, serving as deputy fire chief, battalion chief and lieutenant. He was named chief almost exactly a year ago, replacing former Public Safety Director Al Popp.

An external search has begun for Skillman’s replacement, who will be the department’s third leader since longtime Chief John Schuldt retired in 2013.

In addition to the changes at the top, personnel action was recently taken to remove Deputy Chief Kevin Rynders, Rooney said, and the position was “civilianized at this time.”

The circumstances behind Rynders’ departure are not known, and Rooney declined to comment on the personnel matter.

Once a new chief is selected, the village plans to work with that individual to analyze the organizational structure of the department, including the future of the deputy chief position, said Kathy Lamkin, interim director of human resources.

Additionally, Ritter said the village board hopes to cut overtime expenses within the department.

In choosing a new chief, GovHR USA, a recruitment and human resources firm, will screen applicants based on criteria provided by the village and will present officials with 10 to 15 finalists. The salary for the job ranges from $125,000 to $155,000, depending on experience.

Rooney said he’s looking to hire a strong leader with ample experience to implement the village board’s goals and objectives. An ideal candidate would also help to establish a positive atmosphere among the village and the International Association of Firefighters Local 4790, Rooney said.

“We’re really looking for a cultural transformational-type leader who will take some of the last three to four years of acrimony, heal some of those wounds and put that behind us,” he said.

Union President Rick Nieves said firefighters have had a fairly good relationship with Skillman and Rynders. “We had our differences occasionally, but we always did our best to work them out,” he said.

The relationship between the village and the fire union can be contentious, Ritter said, often leaving the fire chief caught in the middle.

Excerpts from the

Members of the Carpentersville International Association of Fire Fighters Local 4790 are decrying the March 23 layoffs of two full-time firefighters, set to take effect April 22.

The union had just begun contract negotiations with village officials when they were notified of the layoffs, union President Lt. Rick Nieves said in a news release.

“This is very unfortunate news for our membership,” he said. “We have put forth a good-faith effort to reduce overtime costs by agreeing to flexible scheduling to react to manpower shortages, but sadly the village chose to use it ineffectively. The union does not control overtime that was approved and budgeted for during the fiscal year.”

Carpentersville Village Manager Mark Rooney, who said he had not seen the release from the union, declined comment.

Nieves said that in 2014 negotiations between village officials and union members resulted in an agreement that created swing shift employees, where firefighters were moved from their regularly assigned shifts to another to fill vacancies created by other employees’ vacations and authorized time off.

At that time, the village issued a news release stating that if the swing-shift schedule works as expected, no full-time firefighters would be laid off for the duration of the current collective bargaining agreement, which expires in 2016. In turn, the union decided to withdraw a grievance it filed that year which disputed the village’s decision to lay off two full-time firefighters.

Nieves said village officials agreed to the swing-shift concept as an attempt to decrease costs during a time of need.

“The village sent the union notice that they were opting out of the swing shift the same day as the layoff notices were issued,” he said.

This is the second time firefighters have given concessions to address a perceived shortfall, Nieves said in the release.

“But we don’t believe we should shoulder the entire burden. The village has not laid off any other employees and has given raises to other employees this year,” he said.

He said the village has made a practice of delaying the replacement of members due to injuries and retirements, which puts a strain on the already meager overtime budget negotiated in the last contract.

The recent consolidation study paid for in part by the Village of Carpentersville shows a need for increased staffing to four firefighters in each of the three Carpentersville stations, Nieves said.

“We need to work together to start adopting recommendations from a study the village paid for,” he said. “We have always worked to manage any crisis the community has faced, including financial crises as well. With the loss of a deputy chief, administrative assistant and now the fire chief, our membership, many of whom are residents of Carpentersville, feel there is not a financial need to lay off firefighters as Village President Ed Ritter has previously stated. We hope this can come to a good conclusion.”

thanks Dan

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New ambulance for Bolingbrook

From the Fire Service, Inc. Facebook page:

Congratulations to the Bolingbrook Fire Department on the delivery of their 2016 Wheeled Coach Type I Ford 4×4 ambulance. This is the 4th Wheeled Coach for Bolingbrook. This is a custom 172×74 module with the Cool Bar HVAC system, Whelen interior and exterior LED lighting and KKK Revision 8 compliant occupant restraints. Thank you DC Garza and the Village of Bolingbrook for your continued business!

Bolingbrook FD ambulance

New Wheeled Coach Type I ambulance for Bolingbrook. Fire Service, Inc. photo

Bolingbrook FD ambulance

Fire Service, Inc. photo

Bolingbrook FD ambulance

Fire Service, Inc. photo

rear chevron striping on new ambulance

Fire Service, Inc. photo

new ambulance interior restraints

Fire Service, Inc. photo

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