Archive for April 9th, 2016

Woodstock to close dispatch center and join McHenry

Excerpts from

The city of Woodstock has approved an intergovernmental agreement to join the McHenry Police Department dispatch center. It costs about $856,000 per year to operate the existing Woodstock dispatch center, and operation costs with the new dispatch center are estimated to be $502,000 in the first year.

The city will also have to make two one-time payments for the transition, including about $144,000 for dispatch equipment and $189,000 in payouts for Woodstock dispatcher’s whose positions are being eliminated, according to the agreement.

Woodstock Police Chief Robert Lowen said the negative part of the change is that the Woodstock dispatch center staff will no longer be staffed at the police department 24/7, and new dispatchers might not be as familiar with the city.

“We’re going to lose some of that connection; however, over time the consolidated dispatch center will become more familiar with the intimacies of town,” Lowen said.

The expanded center, will be called the McHenry County Northeastern Regional Communications Center, or NERCOMM.

It currently dispatches for McHenry police, Johnsburg police, McCullom Lake police, the McHenry Township Fire Protection District, Marengo fire, Marengo rescue, and Union fire, and is in the process of expanding to also include Harvard and Marengo in response to a state mandate to cut the number of dispatch centers in half.

Eight full-time and two part-time dispatchers work at Woodstock’s dispatch center. Of the eight full-time employees, one will transfer to a records clerk position with Woodstock police, and five will become NERCOMM dispatchers, according to the agreement.

The city of Woodstock receives about $84,000 from the Woodstock Fire Rescue District to provide its dispatching services, and the district’s costs are expected to increase to $120,000 with the new dispatch agreement, City Manager Roscoe Stelford said.

For the next five years, the city will subsidize the fire district up to $36,000 per year, Woodstock Finance Director Paul Christensen said.

“The city is seeing savings, and so we’re willing to share some of our savings for the first five years to help them mitigate the increase,” Christensen said.

The agreement was approved unanimously at Tuesday’s Woodstock City council meeting.

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New engine for Wheeling


Rosenbauer Commander fire engine

Rosenbauer America photo

rear chevron on new fire engine

Rosenbauer America photo

Rosenbauer America fire engine

Rosenbauer America photo

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New tender for Crystal Lake (more)

From the Interstate Emergency Vehicles Facebook page:

Crystal Lake Illinois new UST Kenworth T-800 chassis with 3,000-gallon tank leaving for its new home. Delivered by Ted Ellison of IEV. Thank you for your business. — in Delavan, Wisconsin.

new fire truck for the Crystal Lake FPD in Illinois

Interstate Emergency Vehicles photo

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Fire departments train for water rescues

Excerpts from

The Fox River can be a dangerous place, as illustrated by two recent incidents. In Geneva, two boaters went into the river but were able to get themselves out of the water by the time firefighters arrived at the scene. In St. Charles, a kayaker went into the water and was helped by another boater and brought to shore.

The Aurora Fire Department’s 24-member dive team is trained in deep-water rescue and often practices on the Fox River, said fire department spokesman Lt. Jim Rhodes. Each month, the team trains for a different skill. Usually when the river is higher, we will do more swift water rescue training,” Rhodes said. This includes drills on how to retrieve or rescue someone who is caught in a situation where the river is running quickly.

The Oswego Fire Department has a technical rescue team with 23 members that specialize in swift water rescue, said department spokesman Battalion Chief Dan Schiradelly. “You have to understand the power of water,” Schiradelly said. In order to operate well in water rescues, it’s important that firefighters don’t fear the water.

Further up the Fox River, Elgin firefighters recently trained for swift water rescues near the Kimball Street dam, a spot that reminds how treacherous the Fox River can be. “Training here reinforces the challenges of river rescues and the dangers the river poses,” Elgin Fire Lt. William Nangle said. “It puts what we do in perspective and points to a harsh reality.”

That harsh reality happened on June 2, 1974, when Elgin Fire Department Capt. Stanley Balsis, 45, and firefighter Michael Whalen, 25, died while trying to save a young man from drowning. The two firefighters used an aluminum row boat with a motor attached to the back to attempt the rescue. The boat typically was used to drag the river for drowning victims, not for saving lives. But it was the only equipment the two had when they tried to save 20-year-old James Krueger of Stone Park, who had gone over the dam.

Firefighters went over how to rescue someone who had fallen into the fast-moving river below the dam, with Nangle discussing the finer points of “reach, throw, row and go.”

He explained that if possible, first, if the person in the water can’t help himself, rescuers can try to pull the person to shore by reaching out with a pole or other object onto which the victim can grab. If not, the next option is to toss a rope with a throw bag that floats in front of the person in the water for that person to grab. Past that, rescuers next option would be to use a boat to reach a victim, and finally, to enter the water to make a rescue.

…  alcohol plays a role in many water-related craft accidents and drownings …

… the Elgin Water Rescue Team typically is called into action about a dozen times a year, with many of those false calls.

…  drones … for water rescues are being used to survey the stretch of water where an incident is happening, for locating victims and obstacles.

thanks Dan

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