Archive for category Fire Service News

REV Group buys Ferrara Fire Apparatus

Excerpts from finance.yahoo.com:

REV Group (REVG), a $2+ billion manufacturer of industry-leading specialty vehicle brands and leading provider of parts and services, today announced the acquisition of Ferrara Fire Apparatus, Inc. (“Ferrara”), a leading custom fire apparatus and rescue vehicle manufacturer that engineers and manufactures vehicles for municipal and industrial customers. The Ferrara product portfolio includes multiple fire apparatus configurations tailored to the specific requirements and demands of the fire service industry – including custom-builds on their own chassis as well as solutions on commercially available chassis such as Freightliner and International. This acquisition enhances REV’s product offering in its Fire Group within its Fire & Emergency segment, particularly with custom chassis pumpers, aerials, and industrial apparatus.

“We are pleased to welcome Ferrara to the line-up of our premier portfolio of fire brands which includes E-ONE and KME,” said Dan Peters, President of REV Fire Group. “The Ferrara brand has a long history of product innovation built around a commitment to heavy duty vehicle construction.” Peters added, “The addition of Ferrara to the REV Fire Group enables a number of new growth opportunities including expansion of our reach nationwide and adding new geographical regions and key accounts. We look forward to building upon the success of the Ferrara brand with an emphasis on driving new product innovation and exceeding customers’ expectations.”

Tim Sullivan, CEO, REV Group, Inc. commented, “We are extremely pleased to have Ferrara Fire Apparatus join our team at REV. Ferrara further strengthens our brand offering of fire apparatus vehicles and market presence, adding a diverse product portfolio that is complementary to our line of great American-made specialty vehicles. Ferrara will immediately contribute strategic value by expanding the REV Fire Group national footprint, dealer sales network, service and after-market parts revenue as well as enhancing our robust line of custom chassis and aerial products for multiple market segments.”

Headquartered in Holden, LA, Ferrara employs more than 450 employees with annual revenue of approximately $140 million. The acquisition of Ferrara Fire Apparatus, Inc. closed on April 25, 2017. Contemporaneous with the acquisition, REV has refinanced its debt facilities to include a new $350 million Asset Based Lending (ABL) revolving credit facility and a $75 million 5-year Term Loan. Details are available in the 8-K filed today with the SEC.

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Fire Department license plate for Illinois departments

The Secretary of State will issue a fire department license plate to vehicles owned by a unit of local government. The numbering is standardized as MABAS Division Number then a hyphen/dash then up to four numbers locally designated. No letter allowed. Go to the SOS website for details

thanks Drew

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Fire Service news

Excerpts from the DailyHerald.com:

More than a dozen suburban fire departments will receive free smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to distribute to residents in need.

In all, 1,600 smoke alarms and 250 CO alarms will be given away through Operation Save a Life, a partnership between ABC 7 Chicago and Kidde, a leading manufacturer of fire safety equipment. Operation Save a Life is designed to get lifesaving smoke and carbon monoxide alarms into the hands of at-risk families and provide fire and carbon monoxide safety education.

Departments receiving alarms include Des Plaines, Mount Prospect, Bartlett, and the Greater Round Lake Fire Protection District.

Illinois currently ranks second in the nation, trailing only New York, for fire deaths in 2017.

thanks Dan

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Illinois Fire Service Institute receives grant

Excerpts from Illinoishomepage.com:

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) awarded $410,397 to the UI’s Fire Training Academy.

The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program is administered by the DHS’ Federal Emergency Management Agency, in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration.

As with anything, practice makes perfect. The same motto that’s being followed at the Illinois Fire Service Institute.

“Our statutory requirement is to train both public and private firefighters in the full spectrum of skills whether that be basic skills fire fighting or technical rescue.”

The institute prides itself on the training they provide. And Director Royal Mortenson wants to extend their reach.

“The goal of this grant request was to expand our delivery across the state.”

A federal grant will let them do that. They plan to buy some new mobile equipment. Things like an air compressor and and a fire simulation trainer.

“All with the purpose of taking training on the road to meet the needs of volunteer departments across the state that can’t or don’t have the resources to come here and take advantage of the training we have on site.”

thanks Dan

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Chicago Fire Department news

Excerpts from npr.org:

In a lot of cities across the country there’s a good chance that [when] you call 911 for an ambulance, a firetruck — with a full fire crew including a paramedic — will arrive. But that doesn’t mean they can deliver the emergency care you might need.

In Chicago, like many cities, the fire department oversees both firefighters and paramedics.

When a medical call comes in, dispatchers prefer to send ambulances. But there are half as many of those as there are firetrucks. And fire department spokesman Larry Langford says those ambulances can be super busy. Meanwhile, firetrucks are often much less busy and parked in firehouses, just minutes away from any given emergency. So the 911 dispatchers make a choice.

“They save valuable time by sending the closest vehicle, which is usually a firetruck that has at least one paramedic” Langford says.

That sounds logical until you ask why Chicago’s fire department still has twice as many firetrucks as ambulances, especially when the department gets 20 times more medical calls than fire calls.

Getting answers can be difficult. That has a lot to do with the political power of fire departments and their unions — and the challenge of trying to change that.

Chicago’s not alone in facing these challenges. Most cities are seeing big drops in fire calls and big jumps in medical calls. But few are really reforming their departments to meet this changing landscape.

Portland State researcher Phil Keisling thinks that’s a mistake. He looked at why fire departments don’t just admit that they’re mostly medical services these days.

“And I keep getting answers that are really not a whole lot more than, ‘Well, that’s the way we’ve always done it,’ ” he says. Keisling says that’s not a good answer “in a world that has limited resources and you want to try to optimize the resources you’ve got.”

As more cities see the drawbacks of using giant firetrucks for medical issues, they’re facing calls for reform. That’s what Misty Bruckner found when she researched the problem at the Public Policy Center at Wichita State. While she didn’t find agreement on everything, she said there was some consensus.

“I think everybody can agree that the ladder truck responding to someone who may have a sprained ankle is not the best use of our public resources,” she says.

Langford disagrees. And he thinks people shouldn’t get so hung up on what kind of vehicle arrives.

[but] firetrucks aren’t equipped to transport to a hospital. Only ambulances are. And this transport part can be crucial, according to veteran Chicago Paramedic Rich Raney.

“When you get a stroke patient or a trauma patient, the most important thing is that they be transported to the hospital as quickly as possible,” he says.

Each city runs its emergency services differently, so solutions are going to vary. In Chicago, for example, paramedics want more ambulances and staffing.

New York and Wichita recently started deploying medics in SUVs for less urgent calls. And Washington, D.C., is trying something called nurse triage lines. They let callers talk through their problems with a nurse on the phone. But Keisling says some proposals should also look at moving resources from large firefighting staffs.

“And it’s not anti-firefighter, it’s not anti-union, and it’s not anti-government,” he says. “It’s just, why aren’t we taking limited resources and deploying them in a smarter way?”

While there’s no agreement on exactly what that smarter way is going to be, most agree it doesn’t involve sending a firetruck to treat someone with heartburn.

thanks Dan

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Illinois General Assembly – Bill Status for SB1335

From ilga.gov:

Short Description:  PENCD-DNST FIRE-SECONDARY EMPT

Senate Sponsors
Sen. Melinda Bush and Omar Aquino

Last Action

Date Chamber  Action
  3/9/2017 Senate Placed on Calendar Order of 2nd Reading March 14, 2017

Statutes Amended In Order of Appearance

40 ILCS 5/4-118 from Ch. 108 1/2, par. 4-118
30 ILCS 805/8.41 new

Synopsis As Introduced
Amends the Downstate Firefighter Article of the Illinois Pension Code. Requires a unit of local government that employs a firefighter who is a full-time firefighter in a different downstate firefighter pension fund to make specified contributions to that downstate firefighter pension fund. Requires a specified additional contribution to the pension fund from that firefighter’s primary employer. Establishes reporting requirements. Authorizes the State comptroller to intercept State funds in the event the unit of local government does not make its required contribution to the primary employer’s downstate pension fund. Amends the State Mandates Act to require implementation without reimbursement. Effective immediately.

Senate Committee Amendment No. 1
Removes provisions requiring the primary employer to make an additional contribution. Adds a provision requiring the secondary employer to deduct an amount equal to 9.455% of the salaries and wages paid to the secondary employee and, concurrent with the certification of a specified report, shall contribute an amount equal to 9.455% of the salaries and wages paid to the secondary employee to the primary employer’s pension fund for deposit to the credit of the pension fund. Specifies that the required contributions apply beginning on the first day of the primary employer’s pension fund’s first fiscal year beginning on or after the effective date of the amendatory Act.

thanks Scott

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Fire Service News

Excerpts from ilnews.org:

With the state’s deficit spending on autopilot because of the 21-month-long budget standoff in Springfield, Illinois’ backlog of bills is climbing toward $13 billion.

Some local governments have taken steps to work together to create efficiencies, resulting in savings to taxpayers.

Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti recently identified the shared fire protection services in Rolling Meadows and Palatine as an example of local taxing bodies doing it right.

“Eliminating duplication, sharing of services, and consolidating entire governmental bodies should be considered at all levels of government from the bottom to the top,” Sanguinetti said. “You share personnel, you share equipment, you share expertise, and that translates into savings. It’s a win-win situation.”

The city of Rolling Meadows, the Village of Palatine, and the Palatine Rural Fire Protection District are doing exactly that with their intergovernmental agreement to operate as a single entity, according to the Rolling Meadows Fire Chief Scott Franzgrote.

“We’ve been working on this project that we call RPM, which stands for Rural Palatine Meadows, for about five years now,” Franzgrote said. “Our guiding principles are to leverage our combined resources to provide better service to our combined communities, to provide a safer work environment for the firefighters in our three jurisdictions, and to see if there are ways that we can do better for the taxpayers by finding efficiencies within our operations.”

One of the ways the three departments have streamlined operations is by changing the way their personnel train on the job.

“Everyone is now trained the same way,” Palatine Mayor Jim Schwantz said. “With the equipment, Rolling Meadows might use one type of saw to cut through a roof in a fire, whereas Palatine uses a different one, so now we are purchasing all the same equipment and we are all trained on the same equipment so there are no missteps on the scene. A Palatine fireman can now go to a rural rig and be able to know exactly where the equipment is.”

Each department also champions different specialized services to eliminate duplication.

“Rolling Meadows is where the hazmat team is,” Schwantz said. “In Palatine, we house the dive team. We pay a stipend to Rolling Meadows as does Rural to handle, train, and equip their hazmat team. The same is true with Rolling Meadows and Rural towards Palatine with the dive team.”

While creating efficiencies and improving services were the driving force behind the arrangement, it also has resulted in cost savings.

“In 2016, we were scheduled to replace a technical rescue van that we’ve had since the 1970s and, because of this effort we are working together here, we were able to downsize the purchase,” Franzgrote said. “It was going to be a medium duty rescue squad for the City of Rolling Meadows, which was going to cost about $300,000, but we were able to reduce that to a light-duty squad and we probably saved around $125,000.”

And while the local governments haven’t quantified the total savings, they offered other examples of how they have reduced costs.

“Rolling Meadows and Rural, they each make a payment to Palatine to provide the dive rescue. So we make roughly $25,000 a year in revenue and for those communities, it’s far cheaper to pay us than to try and staff their own dive and rescue program,” Palatine Village Manager Reid Otteson said. “For us, it’s a revenue enhancement, which means I don’t have to go levy $25,000 more in property taxes.”

thanks Dan

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DU-COMM news

Excerpts from the DailyHerald.com:

DuPage Public Safety Communications (DU-COMM) has outgrown its facility in Glendale Heights and plans to create a new communications center that will occupy 33,454 square feet of renovated space and new construction at the former DuPage Juvenile Detention Facility at 420 County Farm Road in Winfield. They broke ground Monday and construction is expected to start within a few weeks and be completed by fall 2018. The plan calls for renovating existing space in the former youth home and a roughly 13,400-square-foot addition.

drawing of new communications center for DU-COMM

DuPage Public Safety Communications

The $15.87 million project is possible because of an intergovernmental agreement DU-COMM reached with the county and the DuPage Emergency Telephone System Board (ETSB).

The ETSB is contributing $4 million to the project, and DU-COMM is using $4.3 million from its cash reserves. DuPage is financing the remaining $7.5 million that DU-COMM will repay during a 25-year lease agreement with the county.

“The portion of the building that will house DU-COMM is going to be built to last,” said county board member Sean Noonan, vice chairman of the board’s public works committee. He said it will be designed to resist 250-mph winds, have added lightning protection and meet standards for the construction of storm shelters.

There are already offices in the building for the DuPage Emergency Telephone System Board and the county’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

DU-COMM started operations on the county campus in 1975 before moving to its current location in 1995.

thanks Dan

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Fox River and Countryside Fire Rescue District news (more)

Excerpts from the Kane-Chronicle.com:

Voters defeated the Fox River and Countryside Fire Protection District’s second attempt at a rate increase with 1,451 no votes to 935 yes votes, a difference of 516 votes, according to unofficial results in Kane and DuPage counties the night of the April 4 consolidated election.

The district sought an increase to nearly 53 cents, up from 27 cents, per $100 of equalized assessed value. The new rate would have boosted its levy to nearly $5 million and would have helped replace an aging fleet and equipment, provide for adequate staffing, and reduce its debt.

As this is the second failure – a similar request in 2015 was defeated – district officials will have to consider being dissolved and the area it serves divided among other fire districts.

The district covers 38 square miles and serves about 25,000 residents in Campton Hills, Wayne, and St. Charles townships.

Fire district attorney Kenneth Shepro said the board faces some tough choices.

“The board will have to take a hard look at the available options,” Shepro said. “The dilemma remains that there is not enough money to buy new equipment and sustain existing staffing levels – something has got to give. I think the board will have all options on the table.”

Still, Shepro said he preferred to think of the current defeat as nearly doubling its support from the previous failed referendum.

“In our journey of a thousand miles, we went from 25 percent to 40 percent in support … with a turnout of a thousand fewer voters,” Shepro said. “We improved by over a thousand votes.”

thanks Dennis

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Pennsylvania court says firefighters can negotiate minimum staffing

Excerpts from the morning call.com:

ALLENTOWN — The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Allentown firefighters, finding that their union can negotiate the minimum number of firefighters on a shift because it has a direct impact on safety.

In a unanimous decision Tuesday that affects municipalities with professional fire departments across Pennsylvania, the court rejected Allentown’s argument that shift staffing was an issue for managers to decide because of its impact on city finances.

The court found that the city had not presented convincing evidence that an arbitrator’s award setting the minimum number of firefighters per shift at 25 unduly infringed on its managerial responsibilities.

“The testimony and documentary evidence from the arbitration proceedings … clearly establishes an unambiguous and powerful link between shift staffing and firefighter health and safety,” Justice Debra McCloskey Todd wrote for the court.

The city’s claim that a minimum staffing requirement interferes with its management by driving up overtime and pension costs does not show an impact as direct as that on firefighter safety, Todd said. She noted that even with the minimum number of firefighters required to be on duty dictated by the contract, the city still controls the total number of firefighters employed.

“The city retains the ability to dictate the level of fire protection it provides to its citizens and continues to possess ultimate decision-making regarding budgetary matters,” Todd wrote.

While the decision has little immediate impact in Allentown, where the current firefighters’ contract remains in effect until 2020, it makes shift staffing a negotiable item for firefighters across the state.

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