Archive for September 22nd, 2018

Champaign Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

As the Champaign Fire Department gets ready to push-in its new ladder truck, Chief Gary Ludwig and Lt. Brian Ball provided a quick look at what firefighters now have at their disposal. At noon Saturday, the new truck will be wetted down, dried, and introduced to its new home at Station 4 on John Street.

The 107-foot 2018 Ferrara aerial ladder truck has a front bumper housing 100-foot hydraulic reels with hydraulic rescue tools to cut through a steering wheel, pop a door open, or split a car roof. And with four high-powered LED floodlights, a midnight interstate wreck can be illuminated as in broad daylight.

From the very beginning, Ludwig said firefighters should be the ones designing it for their needs. A committee of Champaign firefighters worked over a year with Holden, La.-based Ferrara Fire Apparatus to build a truck that matched the department’s needs. It was the committee that recommended adding the LED floodlights.

The $1.1 million truck has a pump and a 300-gallon booster tank. 

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Elgin Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

The Elgin Fire Department needs to end the practice of paying firefighters overtime to cover shifts when there isn’t enough staff, Elgin Mayor Dave Kaptain said.

“We’re in a good position for the next two or three years, but this is not sustainable anymore,” Kaptain said during a special city council meeting Wednesday at which overtime expenditures in all city departments were discussed.

The department was directed to study the scheduling system and return to the council in six to nine months with a model that does not rely heavily on overtime to cover vacancies when someone is sick, injured or attending training.

Elgin’s 2017-18 budget calls for the fire department to save $700,000 in overtime by reducing two positions per shift, going from 34 to 32 firefighters on call. By restructuring how the 32 firefighters are deployed for service calls, employees did not have to be laid off, the budget said.

At the Wednesday meeting, Fire Chief Dave Schmidt said his 133-member department is on track to meet the number and will spend close to the $1.1 million budgeted for overtime. The challenges in keeping overtime inline come when firefighters are unable to work for legitimate reasons and someone must be tapped to take their place to ensure there are enough people available, Schmidt said.

About 75 percent of the fire department’s calls are for ambulance service and the department is looking at what other cities do to control their costs. They’re also exploring programs that might be able to meet the needs of people who call for ambulances frequently or provide more efficient ways to deal with calls that are more minor.

Kaptain said the fire department has been using an overtime model for at least 15 years, and he is concerned about factors that could make it less dependable or effective. Younger firefighters aren’t as enthusiastic about working overtime, he said, and over-relying on overtime could increase the likelihood of mistakes happening.

Beyond that, Elgin’s population continues to grow — 500 homes and 250 apartments are on the drawing board and there’s more residential and commercial development on the horizon — but the city has not added any new firefighters.

Whatever staff might find, Kaptain said, the International Association of Firefighters Local 439 will need to be part of the discussion. Noting past tensions between the union and city management, he said, “Us versus them has to stop. The union needs to be at the table, and we all need to push forward together.” Fire union President Joe Galli said they want to be involved in such discussions. Their concerns are not about preserving overtime pay but doing what’s safest for their members.

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Bridgeview Fire Department history

This from Mike Summa:

For TBT- The Bridgeview Fire Dept. once ran this 1960’s Ford C/Darley as Engine 410.  Here it sits after being placed out of service, destination unknown.
Mike Summa
1960s Ford C/Darley fire engine

Mike Summa photo

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Merrionette Park Fire Department news

Merrionette Park Fire Department 2018 open house