Archive for August, 2016

Rockford Fire Department news

Excerpts from

The Rockford Fire Department has racked up $1.2 million in overtime costs through July of 2016.

This comes as crews battled 18 house fires this year, which is just two shy of the 20 that is the year to year average. Chief Derek Bergsten says that’s not the main reason his department is projected to go nearly $1 million dollars over budget. He says unforeseen things like medical leave or even military leave are the biggest reasons, as many firefighters are working overtime to meet staffing requirements.

“We do reports on a weekly basis of what’s driving the overtime then we address it as best we can, if it’s something that is addressable,” Bergsten said at Monday night’s special city council meeting where aldermen were updated on the state of the 2016 budget. “When you have individuals that are injured our number one goal is to make sure they get healthy and they get back to work in a safe manor.”

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Park Ridge Fire Department news

Media Release 08-30-16 AFG Grant for Engine.doc

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As seen around … O’Hare Airport

This from Larry Shapiro:

I saw CFD Engine 12 during a medical run on the ramp outside Terminal 2 at O’Hare last night.

Chicago FD Engine 12

Larry Shapiro photo

Chicago FD Engine 12

Larry Shapiro photo

Chicago FD Engine 12

Larry Shapiro photo

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Area apparatus orders

This from Josh Boyajian:

Melrose Park – 2017 Pierce Impel pumper – 1250/750/30/30. Delivery in February

Westmont – 2017 Pierce Velocity 105′ RM quint – 2000/500. Delivery in June

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Chicago Ridge Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

The Chicago Ridge village board voted unanimously to approve a three-year contract on Aug. 15 with firefighters.

“Because of the very positive labor/management relationship, we were able to negotiate a three-year extension of the current contract,” said Fire Chief George Sheets. So the new agreement will be in effect through 2020.

“This contract was negotiated by labor and management, and without attorneys.  This alone, saved the Chicago Ridge taxpayers thousands of dollars,” he said.

International Association of Firefighters Local 3098 Union President Chris Schmelzer, who has held that position since 2000, said in a prepared statement that this negotiation was the most amicable, most productive, and least stressful I have ever been a part of.

He said the agreement represents cooperation between labor and management on a scale that we have never enjoyed. He said it literally has something for everyone, and will allow firefighters to serve the residents and visitors to Chicago Ridge for years to come, all while maximizing the productivity of the fire department as a whole.

In a related matter later in the meeting, the board also approved the purchase of a replacement ambulance, a 2016 Ford F450 Demo.

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Glen Ellyn VFD orders two engines

From the Glen Ellyn  VFD Facebook page:

Arriving this fall, Glen Ellyn’s Volunteer Fire Company will receive two new fire engines. Currently being built in Minnesota, these two new engines will become the fire company’s frontline lead engines, replacing the current engines which are over 10 years old.


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New ARFF for Midway Airport

From Gordon J. Nord, Jr.

Chicago FD ARFF 652

New Oshkosh Striker 3000 for 6-5-2 at Midway Airport. Gordon J. Nord, Jr. photo

Chicago FD ARFF 652

Gordon J. Nord, Jr. photo

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An editorial on EMS and active shooter incidents

Excerpts from the

I followed news of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting with one thing on my mind: Where was EMS? As Omar Mateen’s three-hour assault played out, we now know, the 80 medics on the scene were kept more than 100 yards from the club, outside the hot zone. Many of the injured were transported to hospitals in pickup trucks.

The same was true during the Columbine school shooting in Littleton, Colo., in 1999, when crews waited outside nearly an hour for a SWAT team as a teacher lay dying. Medics were also kept from entering the Aurora, Colo., movie theater where 12 people were killed in 2012. Cops took many of the victims to hospitals in their squad cars.

After these tragedies, grieving friends and family have pressed officials for answers — why were the lifesavers kept from the victims?

I understand that frustration. I was a paramedic for nearly 10 years. In that time, my job certainly put me in danger’s way; like many of my co-workers, I believed that saving a patient’s life was worth losing my own. But because EMS departments (rightly) prioritize the safety of their crews, we were encouraged to stay on the periphery of crime scenes.

This approach is outdated. Paramedics must be trained to respond in dangerous environments, and they should be given the tools they need to stay safe. With the uptick in mass shootings across the country, we can’t afford to keep them on the sidelines.

Early in my training, my instructor presented my class with a seemingly simple scenario: man down in the street. But after my partner and I rushed to his side and began rendering care, our teacher yelled that we were both dead. By not confirming that the scene was safe, we’d stepped on the same downed power line that had electrocuted our patient. Now there were three people dying in the street.

The point of that exercise was to drill into our heads that if we don’t protect ourselves, we can’t save anyone else. Our instructors told us that we’re sent into very dangerous situations not to impose order but to save lives.

Yet once I got into the field, I realized how tough it is to follow this advice. Often, a scene considered safe at the time of dispatch quickly and unexpectedly spirals into chaos; just because nobody had pulled a weapon when 911 was called doesn’t mean that won’t happen when we show up.

Which is why it’s time for [EMS personnel] to adopt a new model, one that acknowledges the reality of the job.

Some places are already heeding this call. Departments such as Dallas Fire-Rescue and Pennsylvania’s West End Ambulance Service have ordered bulletproof vests and helmets for paramedics. In states including Michigan, Virginia, and New York, EMS departments are teaching paramedics how to enter violent scenes long before they’re deemed safe in order to speed up treatment and save more lives. In this rescue task force training, endorsed by FEMA, paramedics learn the language and choreography of armed entry.

They learn how to team up with armor-clad cops to enter buildings where active shooters are on the loose. They learn how to identify warm zones — relatively safe areas at a shooting scene where patients can be collected, treated and readied for transport. Rather than diagnosing and treating patients where they’re found, the rescue task force model focuses on rapid triage, stabilizing life-threatening injuries, and getting patients off the scene as quickly as possible. “We have to get in there to stop the dying,” E. Reed Smith, medical director of the Arlington County Fire Department in Virginia, told the Los Angeles Times. “As long as we’re standing outside, we have not stopped the dying.”

The rise in active-shooter situations makes this training all the more important for cops and paramedics. Between 2000 and 2006, there were an average of 6.4 active-shooter incidents a year; that jumped to 16.4 between 2007 and 2013.

In many cases, people died while waiting for help that was just outside the door. Patients treated within 60 minutes of an injury have the best chance of survival. The majority of gunshot victims who receive care within five minutes survive. After the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association attributed the miraculous survival rate — 261 of the 264 casualties — to the fact that EMS units were already on the scene when the bombs detonated and went to work immediately.

It’s good that EMS is shifting to meet the demands of a new, more dangerous world. But as we make this transition, we need to stay focused on our core goal — patient care. Paramedics cannot be cops, and they shouldn’t try to be. Even as we enter crime scenes faster, our goal cannot be helping only the good guys, or working with police to catch criminals.

Imagine if paramedics had entered the Pulse nightclub and started treating patients immediately. Imagine medics in flak jackets and helmets, surrounded by police assault rifles, setting about the critical work of saving lives right there on the dance floor. Would more people have survived if EMS had been able to treat patients sooner? The answer is almost certainly yes.

Another active-shooter incident is all but certain. Maybe next time, the paramedics will be right there, in harm’s way, saving lives. That’s as it should be.

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House fire in Chicago kills 2, 8-26-16

Excerpts from

An overnight fire in the Back of the Yards neighborhood killed two people and hospitalized a third victim.

Investigators believe someone intentionally started the fire that occurred in the 5400 block of South Laflin and was struck out about 2 a.m. Saturday morning.

Officials confirm they found two people dead in the fire, but their identities were not disclosed. A third victim is in the hospital in critical condition.

The Chicago Police Department’s Bomb and Arson Unit are investigating the fire. There is no details yet of what caused the fire.

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Deerfield-Bannockburn FPD news

Excerpts from the

Firefighters rescued three juveniles from the top of the Deerfield water tower near the Kates Road Bridge Friday night after the group climbed the tower and was unable to get down.

No one was injured in the rescue that saw members of the Deerfield Bannockburn Fire Protection District ascend the tower.

Deerfield police were on routine patrol when they saw the three Northbrook minors on the top of the approximately 140-foot tower and called the fire department to assist, said Deputy Fire Chief Ray Larson.

“They climbed to the top of the tower and were too afraid to get down,” Larson said. “We were able to make voice contact with them and phone contact and determined they were not hurt.”

The rescuers were part of the department’s technical rescue team trained to deal with high angle rope rescues, confined spaces, trench collapses and building or structural collapses, Larson said.

Firefighters Jeff Kates and Bill Pauly from the Deerfield Bannockburn district and another firefighter from Prospect Heights participated in the rescue.

juveniles stranded on water tower

Deerfield-Bannockburn FPD photo

juveniles stranded on water tower

Deerfield-Bannockburn FPD photo

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