Archive for category CORONAVIRUS DISEASE 2019 (COVID-19)

Evanston Fire Department news

Excerpts from Chicago.cbslocal.com:

The City of Evanston announced Tuesday that it has secured memoranda of understanding with its police and firefighter unions with regard to a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for city staff.

The policy, which goes into effect Monday, Nov. 15, requires all Evanston city employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or to submit negative test results weekly. 

The City of Evanston is still working with the FOP sergeants and the AFSCME union to reach memoranda of understanding on the vaccine mandate.

To the south, a fight over a COVID-19 vaccination mandate continues between the City of Chicago and some municipal employee unions – particularly Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police. City employees who have not been fully vaccinated have the option of being tested twice weekly for COVID-19 through the end of the year, but all city workers must be fully vaccinated by Dec. 31.

However, enforcement of that vaccination deadline for police officers has been put on hold by a Cook County judge.

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Chicago Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from Fox32chicago.com:

A federal judge on Friday denied a motion by 130 Chicago firefighters and other city employees to temporarily halt enforcement of the city’s requirement that all its workers report whether they’ve received the COVID-19 vaccination or risk being put on no-pay status.

During an hourlong hearing, U.S. District Judge John Lee methodically dismantled arguments made in the lawsuit. He said, for example, that he saw no evidence that either Mayor Lori Lightfoot or Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker exceeded their authority by imposing mandates earlier this year to slow the spread of the deadly virus.

The judge also pointed to a host of problems and shortcomings in the lawsuit, including what he said was a lack of scientific evidence to support the contention that the natural immunity for people who have had the virus is superior to the protection from the vaccine.

Lee said employees were making the same arguments that the Chicago-based 7th Circuit Court of appeals rejected just this summer when it ruled that Indiana University could proceed with its plan to require students and employees to get vaccinated for the virus. And he said the court had rejected the argument made by the students and the city employees that forcing them to receive an unwanted medical treatment was a violation of their constitutional rights.

While the judge said attorneys for the city employees had shown a likelihood that they would ultimately be successful in any of their claims, he did not dismiss the lawsuit and told the attorneys to return by the end of next week to provide more information.

Lee’s ruling comes amid a heated battle over the vaccine mandate ordered by Lightfoot, with the police officers’ union arguing she has no right to penalize officers who defy it.

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Chicago Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from abc7chicago.com:

Michael Pickering, a 45-year-old veteran Chicago firefighter, died from COVID-19 complications Friday morning. Pickering, who joined the Chicago Fire Department in 2003 and was assigned to Engine 29 in the Bridgeport neighborhood, is the fourth member of the department to die from complications of the virus.

His relatives said he got sick a few weeks ago and was eventually hospitalized and placed on a respirator. It’s unclear how he contracted the virus. Pickering, who is also a father to two teenage girls, was escorted Friday afternoon by honor procession to the funeral home where his sacrifice was honored. 

On April 7, 2020, Mario Araujo became the first member of the fire department to die from the virus. Firefighter Edward Singleton died a week later from COVID-19 complications. In December, Paramedic Robert Truevillian died from the virus. 

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Chicago Fire Department news

From CFD Media on Twitter:

Firefighter Michael Pickering age 45, of ENGINE 29 passed away after contracting COVID-19. This will be deemed a Line of Duty Death (LODD) His body will have a full ceremonial escort from McNeal Hospital to Hann Funeral Home at 82nd and Harlem shortly after noon today.

Firefighter Michael Pickering age 45, of ENGINE 29 passed away after contracting COVID-19

Firefighter Michael Pickering age 45, of ENGINE 29 passed away after contracting COVID-19

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Fire Service News

Excerpts from wevv.com:

In Illinois, fire departments impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic are now eligible to receive $1 million in funding.

Governor JB Pritzker and the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal say the grant is meant to help volunteer/combination departments make up for lost revenues due to the lack of fundraising events during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In order to be eligible for the assistance grant the applying fire department must:

  • Be an Illinois combination or volunteer fire department;
  • Operate within a jurisdiction with a population at or less than 7,500 people;
  • Have an approved annual budget at or less than $150,000;
  • Have an OSFM Fire Department Identification Number (FDID); and
  • Be current with their National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) reports at the time of application.

You can find an application for the grant and more information on illinois.gov

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Chicago Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from Chicago.cbslocal.com:

Family, friends, and colleagues are remembering Chicago Fire Department paramedic Robert Truevillian, who died of COVID-19 last year. A 20-year CFD veteran, Truevillian worked on Ambulance 71 in the South Deering neighborhood. He had been battling COVID-19 for about a month before he died last December.

Tuesday morning, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and fellow firefighters were on hand as Truevillian’s badge was added to the memorial wall at the Quinn Fire Academy.

Truevillian was 55 years old. He was the third active member of the Chicago Fire Department to die of COVID-19.

From CFD Media on Twitter:

Paramedic in Charge Robert Truevillian was honored and remembered during a badge ceremony today at the Quinn Fire Academy. “True” as he was known, was the third CFD member to have passed due to complications of COVID-19 in December.

Memorial for Chicago FD Paramedic in Charge Robert Truevillian

CFD Media photo

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Fire service news – Coronavirus COVID-19 (more)

Excerpts from nbcchicago.com:

Chicago FD Paramedic Robert Truevillian, who joined the department in 2000, died from complications of the Covid-19. He was assigned to ambulance 71, which operates out of the firehouse at 10458 S. Hoxie Ave. in South Deering and is the third active CFD member to die from complications of the coronavirus.

On April 7, Mario Araujo became the first fire department member to die from the virus  and  firefighter Edward Singleton died on April 14

From CFD Media on Twitter:

Chicago FD Paramedic Robert Truevillian died from complications of Covid-19

Chicago FD Paramedic Robert Truevillian

Sadly we announce the death of CFD PIC Robert Truevillian due to COVID-19. He joined the CFD as a Paramedic in December of 2000. He was assigned to Amb 71, 10458 Hoxie. He becomes the third active duty CFD member to die of COVID-19 complications. God be with him. 

Mourning bunting and station flags at half mast at Engine 81 Amb 71. 105 and Hoxie for PIC Robert Truevillian who died from Covid-19.

Chicago fire station

Mourning bunting and station flags at half mast at Engine 81 Amb 71. 105 and Hoxie for PIC Robert Truevillian who died from Covid-19.

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Does Chicago have a shortage of ambulances? (more)

Excerpts from Chicago.cbslocal.com:

On Tuesday night, a whistleblower exposed that a critical shortage of city ambulances has been made worse with the COVID-19 pandemic. Eighty ambulances serve Chicago every day. The paramedics often go from one violent crime scene to another.

“Our ambulances are out there,” said Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2 spokesman Pat Quane. “They’re running nonstop, 24/7.”

“They’re doing trauma care – that’s battlefield care,” said Chicago Fire Department Paramedic Field Chief Pat Fitzmaurice. He said the department still does not have enough ambulances. 

For years investigations found chronic concerns with ambulance response times, which he said is a result of the ambulance shortage. One analysis of 700,000 medical 911 calls found in 19 percent of them, it took an ambulance more than seven minutes to get to the scene. Illinois Department of Public Health records show the Chicago Fire Department has committed to a response time goal of six minutes.

Five new ambulances arrived in August 2018 – more than a year Mayor Lori Lightfoot said, “We know that we need more ambulances, and it’s my expectation, when we finalize the new fire contract, there will be more on ambulances coming online.”

The mayor made that comment in December of last year. But the number of new ambulances included in the firefighters’ new contract turned out to be zero.

In a statement, the fire department said they continue to ensure the ambulance fleet meets the needs of residents – which is why the placement of the most recently-added five ambulances was carefully chosen.

thanks Asher

 

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Fire service news – Coronavirus COVID-19

Excerpts from abc7chicago.com:

A Lake County business is creating custom testing and vaccination trailers for counties across the country. When COVID spiked in the U.S. the first time, they stopped making fire safety simulators and started building out mobile units for testing and eventually administering vaccines. A UV light system self-sanitizes the units.

“We’re seeing a collaboration of agencies from the public health agency, to the public safety agency, to emergency management, all working together, because no one had one solution for the problem. So, they’re able to work together and pool their resources to have an asset like the health incident trailer that allows them to then be able to do COVID testing and vaccination, use it as a point of distribution for PPE and other equipment, but also use it as an incident command down the road with health safety protocols,” said Christopher Gantz, JHB Group CEO.

Christopher Gantz is retired from the Skokie Fire Department. Eric Schildkraut is a firefighter in Elk Grove Township. Their companies work together to produce these trailers.

“Everything is technologically advanced. We can have them tune to a radio station, have a prerecorded setting so that way when people approach they’re not confused, they know where to go. We have security cameras so they can see what’s going on inside and out,” according to Eric Schildkraut, SAE Customs President.

The units run on solar power and cost between $75,000 and $100,000 dollars. One is already in use by the Catawba Indian Nation in South Carolina. Another 30 trailers in production right now will eventually go to counties across the U.S., including southern Illinois.

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Fire service news – Coronavirus COVID-19

Excerpts from wcia.com:

Fire departments in central Illinois have created contingency plans in case firefighters are infected with coronavirus.

This week twelve Springfield firefighters contracted COVID-19, including Chief Allen Reyne. The outbreak within the department caused a total of 37 firefighters to isolate or quarantine. The outbreak was traced back to a house party. Reyne said, “Once you get two or three positives, now you have to look back through contact tracing, who worked with who, what calls they ran together. We’ve done that over the last few days. At one point, we were at 48. Pretty quickly, we got that number down to 37.” Despite the big setback the department is still running on a full staff. But with fewer firefighters available, they are racking up the overtime.

The Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshal shares daily stats on how COVID-19 has affected departments in Illinois. Champaign Fire Deputy Chief Tyler Funk said, “Since March 17th, there have been 2,039 firefighters that have been directly affected by this COVID-19 virus, and it effects 182 fire departments across the state. Those numbers include firefighters that have either been placed into quarantine or have tested positive.”

The pandemic has forced departments to prepare if exposure happens in their areas. In June, a Champaign firefighter had to isolate after testing positive for COVID-19. Twelve other firefighters self-quarantined as well. The department has made adjustments to adapt to the health and safety risks since the pandemic started. Funk said, “We’re doing symptom based checks in the morning before they enter the workplace. We’re obviously wearing masks and staying socially distant within the department.”

Smaller villages, like Tolono, have a volunteer department. They have also made changes to operations. Assistant Chief Chris Humer said, “Not as many responders will go inside of a house, for your average medical call, it may just be one or two.” With nineteen firefighters on their force, they can not afford a significant loss in staff. “We have contingency plans set up with mutual aid departments, such as Savoy. We’re in constant contact with their administrative team as well, consistently talking about staffing levels,” said Humer.

Both large and small fire departments have similar plans for coronavirus outbreaks. If they can’t make up for a loss in staff with their own firefighters, they have agreements with nearby departments for mutual aid.

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