Archive for August 3rd, 2016

Northeastern Illinois Public Safety Training Academy news

Excerpts from the

A delegation from Indiana toured the Northeastern Illinois Public Safety Training Academy (NIPSTA) in Glenview, the 21-acre site for first responders police officers and firefighters, which is run by an intergovernmental agency of municipalities, fire protection districts, and other organizations.

When Jill Ramaker first became executive director two years ago, she was determined to expand NIPSTA’s reach.

“When I first came here, about 70 percent of what we did was fire service training,” Ramaker said. “Really, the vision that I had for NIPSTA was to [include] all the different types of agencies and training that’s required for a full-scale disaster response,” she said.

So in only a couple of years, NIPSTA has become a comprehensive training center for personnel in disaster health care, law enforcement, public works, and much more.

She also wasted no time in bringing in the latest technology to be used in diverse training exercises, said several instructors. One of Ramaker’s most ambitious additions was the Center For Disaster and Emergency Medicine.

“We really are on the ground floor of this program,” Ramaker told her tour group. “There was a gap that existed, and once you get through paramedic school, nothing was really out there to challenge people to use their skills and get really, really good at what they do every day.”

It isn’t just a matter of increasing the kinds of first responders personnel that are trained at the facility, although NIPSTA certainly has done that, Ramaker said; it’s also about making sure they train together.

“What we’ve tried to do here at NIPSTA is to say, ‘Who are all of the different types of agencies and individuals and organizations that are going to be required to respond in a disaster, whether it’s a small-scale or catastrophic event,'” Ramaker said.

Voting members of NIPSTA include towns from Arlington Heights, Winnetka, Deerfield, Skokie, Evanston, Park Ridge and more — nearly two dozen representatives in all.

The Indiana visitors, were there because they want to develop a public safety training center in their own state.

They saw firefighters working to free “victims” in car crashes in extrication exercises; a new mobile ambulance with state-of-the-art technology; a training room in the new Center For Disaster and Emergency Medicine. They toured the sprawling grounds to see firefighter training towers and an area for trench disasters and an old rusted out commuter train that can serve as a venue for rescue training.

Inside, they saw how law enforcement personnel work with virtual reality technology. In a demonstration, an officer headed to the backyard of a domestic incident that instantly turned more serious than originally believed; in another, he entered the scene of a school shooting where a student is down and a virtual officer beside him is suddenly shot.

A nearby driving simulator allows trainees to hone their driving skills in all kinds of weather conditions and emergency circumstances.

Shortly after Ramaker took over the top spot at NIPSTA, she hired former Broadview Fire Chief Tom Gaertner as deputy director. These two make up half of the four full-time staff members at NIPSTA, overseeing some 450 instructors who are experts in their fields, they say.

Some of the trainers are retired from public safety jobs, while others do this work in addition to jobs with police or fire departments or other agencies.

“We are about 35 percent higher in revenue than we were at this time last year,” Ramaker said. “From a business perspective, to me, that says we’re growing very fast.”

Ramaker said the new Center For Crisis Leadership is on tap for next year. NIPSTA hired a new director of campus safety. The agency will be working with Chicago in a new partnership. Public works employees can now train in techniques to safely plow snow here. NIPSTA is taking on a bigger role working with school districts on their emergency plans. And it can train those in private industry as well.

The nature of confronting emergency situations in the 21st century — both large and small — require proper training and most importantly, a coordinated and comprehensive response, she said.

“When someone calls NIPSTA and asks if we can help, we respond always with a yes,” Ramaker said. “If we don’t have a program in place, we build one. We put it together. We won’t turn anyone away because every part of society — every part of business — is impacted by serious changes in our world today.”

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Oak Forest Fire Department news

From the Village of Oak

Fire Department receives more than $285,000 to purchase new equipment

Thanks to a $285,819 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Oak Forest Fire Department will be able to replace mission-critical gear that is more than 10 years old.

“We are extremely grateful to receive this award, which fills a tremendous safety need for our emergency responders, “said Oak Forest Fire Department Chief Jack Janozik. “I am very proud of our staff, who worked incredibly hard on the grant application.”

As part of the grant’s requirements, the fire department will contribute $28,581 toward the purchase of 28 breathing air pack harnesses, 56 cylinders and 44 air masks. In addition, 44 firefighters will receive a complete set of personal protective clothing, including helmets and boots.

FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters Grants program enhances the safety of the public and firefighters with respect to fire-related hazards by providing direct financial assistance to eligible fire departments, non-affiliated emergency medical services organizations, and state fire training academies for critically needed resources to equip and train emergency personnel to recognized standards, enhance operations efficiencies, foster interoperability, and support community resilience.

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Cherry Valley Fire Protection District news

Excerpts from

Three Cherry Valley Fire Protection District engines all wound up in the shop [at once]. “Everything broke at the same time, it seems,” said Allen Geeser, battalion fire chief for the district. One of the district’s trucks was in the shop for scheduled service. Then the oil pump went on another, and the springs and rear axle went on the third.

So for $500 a day, Cherry Valley is leasing a reserve fire engine from Rockford. The Rockford City Council Monday approved a short-term contract so the village can use a truck from the city’s reserve fleet.

“In order to ensure adequate protection for citizens of Cherry Valley, we graciously accepted an offer from the City of Rockford to loan us apparatus,” said Geeser.

Rockford Fire Chief Derek Bergsten said the city has several reserve engines, … but they aren’t typically leased to other departments.

“When I heard they didn’t have any engines, I called up last Wednesday and said we have one I think you could use,” Bergsten said. “We just wanted to make sure they had the same level of fire protection.”

The fire engine breakdowns in Cherry Valley are likely to bring an equipment review for the person hired to replace Chief Craig Wilt, who retired May 24.

“One of the things we’re going to be asking the new district chief to do is to put together an apparatus plan,” said Gary Maitland, president of the fire protection district’s board, who noted the district’s fire engines were purchased in 1988, 1997 and 2008.

He said it may be time to start planning to replace the 28-year-old engine with a new model that could cost from $450,000 for a base model to about $600,000 for one with with all the bells and whistles.

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Chicago 2-11 Alarm and Level I Haz Mat, 7-25-16 (more)

A few more images from Gordon Nord of the Chicago 2-11 Alarm and Level I Haz Mat, 7-25-16 (more)

Chicago FD Engine 127

Gordon J. Nord, Jr. photo

ARFF unit on expressway at truck fire

Gordon J. Nord, Jr. photo

ARFF discharging Purple K

Gordon J. Nord, Jr. photo

Chicago FD ARFF 652 Oshkosh Stiriker

Gordon J. Nord, Jr. photo

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