Excerpts from jwcdaily.com:

A proposal to form an alliance for firefighting and emergency medical services between the Village of Lake Bluff and Rockland Fire Protection District, also known as Knollwood Fire Department, is in the works between the two governmental bodies.

Lake Bluff Village President Kathy O’Hara outlined the proposal to the Lake Bluff Village Board of Trustees February 12 at village hall while Lake Bluff Fire Chief David Graf simultaneously explained his town’s ideas to the Board of Trustees of the Rockland Fire Protection District.

Lake Bluff initiated discussions by sending a Joint Fire/EMS Concept Proposal to Knollwood February 12. As drafted, the plan maintains the fire protection services and staff of both departments in the first year and provides EMS help after the initial 12 months. Lake Forest provides EMS services to Lake Bluff and Knollwood gets them from Libertyville. As written, the plan saves taxpayers in the two areas approximately $520,000 over the first five years of operation.

Lake Bluff’s offer is not the only one to provide services to Knollwood, an area bounded by Highway 176 on the south, Highway 41 on the east, Talbot Street on the north and just east of Bradley Road on the west near the Tri-State Tollway. Lake Forest and Libertyville made a combined proposal to the Knollwood trustees in December. The Libertyville Village Board of Trustees discussed the idea December 12. The Lake Forest City Council has yet to schedule a debate on the idea. 

O’Hara said she sees the future relationship between Lake Bluff and Knollwood as a partnership where the two departments will be greater together than continuing to function separately. Knollwood residents are already part of the Lake Bluff Park District, Lake Bluff School District 65 and Lake Forest Community High School District 115.

Knollwood voters passed a referendum in April changing the board from one appointed by the Lake County Board chairman to one chosen by the voters. The first election for board members will be in April, 2019.

While Knollwood has some paid personnel, Lake Bluff’s department is all volunteer with 45 members. Lake Bluff’s Master Plan calls for its volunteer department to continue. 

As currently drafted, the departments would begin to share on-premises expenses in the first year while maintaining existing staff. They would also give Lake Forest and Libertyville a 12-month notice of termination of EMS services. They would begin the process of hiring paid on-premises personnel and develop their joint governance model. Plans for the second year would be finalized.

In the second year, the two departments would provide their own paramedic services with an ambulance acquired the first year. Both fire stations would be used to keep response time to a minimum.

By the third year, the two departments would continue to tweak their model. They would look at a possible expansion of services and consider whether any excess assets should be sold.