Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

A long-shuttered Chicago Ridge fire station that reopened with limited hours in spring 2015 will begin operating around the clock beginning Feb. 1.

Mayor Charles Tokar said the full return of the village’s Lombard Avenue station, located at 107th Street and Lombard in the heart of Chicago Ridge’s residential district, will improve emergency response times and bring revenue to the village.

The Lombard Avenue station, which was built by volunteer firefighters in the 1950s was being used primarily for training and equipment storage until reopening part-time in April 2015 to supplement the department’s headquarters on Virginia Avenue in the village’s industrial park. That station is staffed 24 hours.

Since reopening, the Lombard Avenue station has been staffed 12 hours a day by two or three people with an  ambulance.

It took nearly two years to get the station ready for 24-hour coverage due to a combination  adding windows and a fire alarm system that meets code plus Fire Chief George Sheets’ desire to evaluate how operations at the station were working.

Sheets said the ability to deploy an ambulance from the Lombard Avenue station has worked extremely well, cutting response times by two or more minutes in some cases, which in medical emergencies can be the difference between life and death.

Because a patient’s insurance provider reimburses the town whose ambulance service makes the hospital transport, Chicago Ridge was losing out on revenue when another municipality picked up emergency calls in the heavily residential southeastern side of town.

The Lombard Avenue station will only provide an ambulance in the short-term, even after going to 24 hours. The department plans to begin running an engine from that station within the next year.

Prior to that time, the station’s ambulance will be equipped with a Fit-5 fire interruption device — a relatively new technology that’s been compared to a handheld fire suppression grenade – that can be tossed into a burning building and act as an extinguishing agent.

Sheets said he doesn’t anticipate increasing staffing at the Lombard Avenue station and plans to run it as a jump company, which can respond with either the ambulance or the engine depending on the type and location of the call.

Both he and Tokar credited the firefighters union for agreeing to accept part-time firefighter/paramedics into the department in January 2015, which enabled the village to reopen and operate the Lombard Avenue station with part-time staff.

The department currently employs 13 full-time firefighters, 17 part-timers and 10 paid on-call firefighters, Sheets said.

thanks Dan