Archive for April 23rd, 2016

Wauconda looks into outsourcing 9-1-1 call center (more)

Excerpts from

Wauconda plans to save more than $700,000 a year by closing its dispatch center and hiring Lake Zurich to handle police calls and overnight detainees, Wauconda Village Administrator Doug Maxeiner said.

Meanwhile, the Wauconda Fire District will pay slightly more each year for Lake Zurich to handle its dispatch, but expected those costs to rise anyway, Fire District Chief Mike Wahl said.

The Lake Zurich Village Board voted unanimously earlier this month to provide police dispatch to Wauconda for an estimated $222,000 a year, to house overnight arrestees for $75 each per night, and to provide dispatch to the fire district for an estimated $122,000 a year.

Wauconda Village Board and the Wauconda Fire District Board approved the contracts earlier this year. The fees are based on the estimated number of calls the Wauconda police and fire departments handle each year and could rise based on increases in Lake Zurich police and fire salaries.

For Wauconda, closing its dispatch center made perfect financial sense, Maxeiner said … as the village’s net cost to operate the center each year was more than $700,000.

With dispatch and overnight detainee costs, Wauconda will pay Lake Zurich just $225,000 a year, Maxeiner said.

Nonetheless, Wauconda residents needed a little convincing that Lake Zurich dispatchers would know their community well enough to dispatch emergency calls. “The technology is such that you do not have to know the community,” Maxeiner said. “The technology tells you where the calls are originating and exactly how to get there.”

Lake Zurich plans to begin offering dispatch services and overnight accommodations for detainees on May 11, after the new StarCom21 radio system is installed in the village’s dispatch center and Lake Zurich and Wauconda fire departments are linked technologically, Lake Zurich Police Chief Steve Husak said. StarCom21 is a new radio system undergoing the final phases of installation in the Lake Zurich area.

“We are getting the radios programmed and encrypted,” he said. “Hopefully, by May 11 we will have them up and running in Lake Zurich. Then we would be able to take on dispatch for them from here.”

Wahl said technology available at the Lake Zurich dispatch center is three times as great as the GPS technology available on most cellphones.

Our [current] dispatchers don’t necessarily live in Wauconda either. They get to know things the average person doesn’t know, but I suspect after time the Lake Zurich dispatchers will get the same comfort level.”

The fire district had to select another dispatch center when Wauconda chose to close theirs, Wahl said, and given that the village would have increased its fees eventually anyway, Lake Zurich fees will be about the same.

“It’s probably a break-even for us overall,” Wahl said. “It costs a little extra, but we have not had a cost increase from the village for a couple of years. If we had stayed, there most likely would have been a slight increase, for which it would have been a wash.”

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Chicago FD EMS District Chief Pat Ciara

Excerpts from the Windy City Times:

“I was a tomboy from an early age and knew there was something different about me since I was seven,” said longtime Chicago Fire Department (CFD) Paramedic Pat Ciara. She is the highest ranking out lesbian in the history of the CFD.

“I wanted to do traditionally boy things but my mom, who was concerned with what the neighbors thought of our family, kept putting me in dresses and trying to get me to play with dolls,” she said. “I didn’t play with dolls like the other girls did. I used to rip their hair out and carry them by their legs.”

Ciara worked for a number of years after high school and later graduated from Mayfair College ( now Truman College ) in 1975 with an associate’s degree.

“I worked for a private ambulance company after I graduated from Mayfair and, while I was doing that, I went to EMT school in 1975 at Lutheran General, and then paramedic school in 1976 at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood,” said Ciara. “Right after paramedic school, I applied to the CFD not knowing whether I’d get in or not, but I had to try, because that’s what I really wanted to do.

“Before I worked for the CFD, I owned Town & Country Ambulance Company for about 18 months with a straight, male partner named Gerry. We started it in 1978 and then I got my letter from the CFD telling me I’d been accepted into their ranks. This was exactly what I wanted, so I told Gerry I’d have to sever our business partnership. This was in February of 1980.”

Ciara started out at the CFD as a fire-medic. Eight months later, she was promoted to paramedic-in-charge, and stayed in that role until April 1982. After that, she was promoted to field chief. She did that for 12 years and in 1994 was promoted to chief of EMS training.

“As chief, I took care of all the paramedics that were hired and put them through CFD training,” said Ciara. “In 2000, I was promoted to deputy chief paramedic. They assigned me to Field Division One, which is north of Roosevelt Road. I was in charge of 500 paramedics from the lakefront to O’Hare Airport. I did that until 9/11.”

After 9/11, she took over the logistics of the paramedic division.

“When I started at the CFD, I had to bring all of my own equipment including a blood pressure cuff, stethoscope and intubation equipment,” said Ciara. “They had very little supplies on the ambulances…”

While working for the CFD, she completed her education. She earned her Bachelor of Science in business management from National-Louis University in 2001, and her Master of Science degree in industrial relations from Loyola University in 2003.

Ciara was promoted to her final position at the CFD in 2004—district chief, director of personnel. She explained that without her master’s degree she wouldn’t have gotten the job. As district chief, she worked on everyone’s retirement and hiring packets, and medical evaluations of those who were ill or injured on the job.

“In 2005, I had a mild heart attack so I had an angiogram and a stent placed in my heart and went through cardiac rehab,” said Ciara. “I wanted to go back to work but everyone told me I should go on disability. After trying to go back to work, I decided to take the disability payments and technically I’m still an active duty CFD paramedic, but now that I’m 68, I’m looking at officially retiring. I’m proud of my work as a paramedic. I really loved the job and what I accomplished. Some of the people I mentored are now in positions of power. They still call me for advice and that makes me feel really, really good.”

Two of the women who call Ciara for advice are lesbians. She explained that the CFD doesn’t have many lesbians or gay men in their ranks because there’s still a level of homophobia there.

As far as involvement in LGBT organizations, Ciara was a member of LGPA/GOAL Chicago—the LGBT police and fire association. The organization has participated in the Pride Parade in the past and Ciara noted that the reception they got from the crowd was very positive.

“I never really came out to my family or anyone at the fire department,” said Ciara. “I really didn’t have to because, as they say, I’m a hundred footer. I’m very butch-looking.”

Ciara’s brother Michael followed in her footsteps and joined the CFD seven years after she joined.

While working, Ciara said that she talked about her wife the way anyone would talk about their spouse and both women were always included when her co-workers would have social gatherings.

“In 2003, we had a civil-union ceremony in Vermont and got married in Provincetown, Massachusetts, on Aug. 28, 2010, with Michael serving as my best man,” said Ciara. “Since we were already married, all I had to do was send my marriage license to the firefighters pension board to have my status updated when it became legal here.”

thanks Dan

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Area apparatus orders

Rosenbauer-Antioch Fire Department/First Fire Protection District, pumper. Freightliner M2 cab and chassis; Cummins ISL9 350-hp engine; Hale DSD 1,500-gpm pump; UPF Poly 750-gallon tank; 30-gallon foam cell; FoamPro 2001 Class A foam system, Rosenbauer Green Star IRT 8-kW generator. Delivery in December.
E-ONE-Chatham Fire Protection District, wetside tanker. Peterbilt 348 cab and chassis; Paccar PX9 380-hp engine; Hale MBP 750-gpm PTO pump; 3,000-gallon polypropylene tank; three 10-inch electric dumps; Whelen warning light package. Delivery in July.
Pierce-Darien-Woodridge Fire Protection District, pumper. Impel cab and chassis; Cummins ISL9 400-hp engine; Hale Qmax 1,500-gpm pump; UPF Poly 750-gallon tank; top-mount controls. Delivery in October.
Marion-Maywood Fire Department, pumper. Spartan Metro Star cab and chassis; Cummins ISL 450-hp engine; Hale Qmax 1,500-gpm pump; UPF Poly 500-gallon tank. Delivery in August.
Smeal/UST-Sauk Village Fire Department, Heritage Series pumper-tanker. Smeal Sirius cab and chassis; Cummins ISL9 450-hp engine; Hale Qmax 1,500-gpm pump; UPF Poly 2,000-gallon tank; stainless steel body. Delivery in December.

thanks Ron

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New ambulance for Lombard

From the Foster Coach Sales Facebook page:

Brand new custom Horton conversion on a Ford F450 chassis

new ambulance for the Lombard FD

Foster Coach Sales photo

new ambulance for the Lombard FD

Foster Coach Sales photo

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