Archive for category Fire Service News

Fire Service news

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More first responders police officers, firefighters, and EMS workers in the US lose their lives to suicide than in the line of duty, according to a study by the Ruderman Foundation.  

Locally, a little known treatment for depression and PTSD is helping those desperate to find help for themselves. The treatment almost looks like hypnosis, but the patient is entirely awake and able to tap into traumatic memories like never before.  It can start to relieve symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD in as little as one treatment

EMDR therapy or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing attempts to mimic the rapid eye movement of deep sleep to stimulate the brain. During a therapy session, the patient recalls a traumatic memory and the therapist guides them through the memory while keeping their eyes moving in a back and forth or bilateral pattern.  No one really knows why this type of therapy works. The EMDR Foundation is located in Chicago, and they are hoping more research will crack the case. 

Broadview Fire Chief Tracy Kenny and Deerfield Firefighter Jon Vaccarello have had very different life experiences but they both agree that EMDR has dramatically changed their lives.  

There are many MDR therapists in the Chicagoland area.  Each session is an hour, and it is covered by insurance.  

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Of interest … Remembering the attacks of 9/11/01

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For students from elementary to high school, the Sept. 11 terrorist attack isn’t a memory. It’s history. A new HBO documentary that debuted on the event’s 18th anniversary treats it that way.

The necessity of her project, “What Happened on September 11,” struck filmmaker Amy Schatz when a third grade girl told her about a playdate where she and a friend Googled “Sept. 11 attacks.”

“When a child does that, what he or she finds are some pretty horrific images that are not necessarily appropriate for kids,” Schatz said on Tuesday. “So I felt a responsibility to try to fill that void and try to give kids something that isn’t horrifying and kind of fills in the gap.”

She worked with the Sept. 11 remembrance museum on the story, filming two men who work there giving presentations to third graders. Stephen Kern, who worked on the 62nd floor of the World Trade Center’s North Tower, talks about being evacuated. Matthew Crawford, whose father was a firefighter who died that day, discusses his experience. 

The film tells of Osama bin Laden and his activism that started with the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. But it never truly answers the whys. Maybe no one can.

The film doesn’t avoid some of the terrible images of the day: the second plane striking the World Trade Center and resultant fireball, the collapse of each tower and the giant clouds of debris that billowed through the canyons of city streets. 

As part of her research, she interviewed alumni of Stuyvesant High School near the World Trade Center site. But the memories of what they saw, heard and smelled that day — and the uncertainty of how they would get home from school — proved too raw. That’s why “In the Shadow of the Towers: Stuyvesant High on 9/11” is a separate film that premieres on HBO three hours after the first one.

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9/11 anniversary ceremony in Chicago

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Palatine FD host 9/11 Memorial Ceremony

Palatine FD hosts 9/11 Memorial Ceremony

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Of interest … American Ninja Warrior

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“American Ninja Warrior” is an individual competition that challenges elite athletes with a series of extreme obstacle courses requiring strength, speed, balance, stamina — and a certain willingness to sacrifice their bodies — until only the winner remains.

Aurora Firefighter Dan Polizzi and Streamwood Firefighter Brandon Mears have become known as “The Towers of Power” since they first met during a taping of the show’s fifth season in 2013. This year, for the first time, each made it to the national finals in Las Vegas. Their individual performances were taped in June for broadcast beginning Monday night.

They have competed on the program for seven seasons. But while Polizzi and Mears each have made it to the national finals in the past, this is the first time they qualified to compete in Las Vegas together. They are among at least six athletes from the suburbs, and 90 overall, to qualify for this year’s finals.

Starting Monday night and continuing for four weeks, America will see how the firefighters did in their quest to win the “American Ninja Warrior” title along with the $1 million grand prize.

Polizzi and Mears each set aside their Ninja Warrior dreams for years to focus on becoming firefighters. They had never met before they both got accepted for the show’s fifth season and competed in Baltimore. They’ve been friends and training partners ever since.

NBC announced the national finals will be shown during four episodes airing at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept, 2, Sept. 9 and Sept. 16. During the finals, the athletes face a four-stage obstacle course with challenges that get progressively harder, including the final 75-foot rope climb. The competitors are prohibited from sharing details about what happened. 

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Fire Service news

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Illinois American Water (IAW) is accepting applications for its 2019 Firefighter Grant Program. Through this program, the company provides financial assistance to fire and emergency organizations in its service areas.

Since 2010, IAW has awarded over $493,000 for over 500 grants to Illinois firefighters. Through this grant program, IAW is able to assist firefighters with critical equipment and training.

Fire departments-districts are eligible for one grant per year. Uniformed professional and volunteer fire departments serving IAW’s service territory are eligible for a grant of up to $1,000 to cover costs associated with the following:

  • Personal protective gear

  • Communications equipment

  • Firefighting tools

  • Water handling equipment

  • Training and related activities/materials used to support community fire protection

  • Reimbursement for specific fire training classes, including training manuals and workbooks

  • Fire departments should send a letter of application by no later than Sept. 10, 2019 to Karen Cotton, manager of external affairs, at


Illinois Fire Service news

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Gov. JB Pritzker has signed into a law a bill doubling death benefits for families of law enforcement officials and firefighters who have died. The cap for state reimbursements of burial costs has been moved to $20,000. It previously sat at $10,000 after previous law was established in 1999.

The law passed the Illinois House and went to Pritzker for his signature on June 14.

The full text of House Bill 2028.

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Storm damage in Prospect Heights/Wheeling 6-27-19

Wheeling and Prospect Heights firefighters were called for an outside fire near a house Thursday evening after a storm passed through the area. Companies arrived to find a primary power line down in the rear posing no threats to any structures. There was some impressive arcing prior to the arrival of crews from ComEd who rendered the situation safe.

Video was provided by Taylor Wallen.

Prospect Heights FD Battalion 9

Larry Shapiro photo

Rosenbauer Commander fire engine

Larry Shapiro photo

Poor line arcing on the ground

Larry Shapiro photo

IHC Altec ComEd bucket truck

Larry Shapiro photo

ComEd lineman at work

Larry Shapiro photo

ComEd lineman at work

Larry Shapiro photo

ComEd lineman at work

Larry Shapiro photo


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2018 NFPA Report on Firefighter Fatalities

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The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) released its annual “U.S. Firefighter Fatalities in the United States” report, which showed a total of 64 U.S. firefighter fatalities while on duty in 2018. This is the eighth time in the last 10 years that fewer than 70 on-duty deaths have occurred; the death toll is half what it was in the first five years that NFPA conducted this study.

Of the 64 fatalities, 34 were volunteer firefighters, 25 were career firefighters, four were employees or contractors for federal or state land management agencies, and one was a prison inmate.

Overexertion, stress, and medical issues accounted for by far the largest share of deaths. Of the 28 deaths in this category, 25 were classified as sudden cardiac deaths (usually heart attacks). While cardiac-related events have accounted for 44 percent of the on-duty deaths over the past 10 years, 2018 represents the third consecutive year that the toll has been below 30.

The second-largest share of on duty deaths typically results from road vehicle crashes, with 11 deaths in 2018. The death toll due to crashes is only slightly lower than the average 13 deaths per year that have occurred in crashes over the past 40-plus years, but in the same time-frame, fire department call volume has more than tripled.

One firefighter was murdered when responding to a fire call in 2018. 

This report only reflects deaths that occur while victims are on-the-job, either as the result of traumatic injuries or onset of acute medical conditions,” said Fahy. “Studies have shown that years spent in the fire service can take a toll on a firefighter’s health, both physical and emotional, and can also result in exposures to toxins that eventually result in job-related cancer, cardiac, and suicide deaths that are not represented in this report.”

A comprehensive study that enumerates all duty-related deaths in a year is not yet possible to accomplish.

This firefighter fatality study is made possible by the cooperation and assistance of the United States fire service, CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the United States Fire Administration, the Forest Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Land Management of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

For this release and other announcements about NFPA initiatives, research and resources, please visit the NFPA press room.

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Of interest … Metro South Medical Center

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Metro South Medical Center located in Blue Island announced to the state Tuesday it plans to cease operations by the end of the year. MetroSouth said patient numbers have dropped since 2014, on average filling a one-third of available in-patient beds. The hospital is the largest private employer in the area with over 800 workers.

A statement from CEO John Walsh, in part, said, “…the data is clear that patient needs have changed – here and across the country. Enormous half-empty hospitals are not what the future of health care looks like.”

MetroSouth points to six hospitals and emergency rooms within 10 miles of Blue Island to pick up the patient loads.

thanks Martin 

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