Archive for category Fire Service News

Of interest … hot weather training

Excerpts from

A Kansas City firefighter is awake from a coma after suffering a heat stroke, and doctors are trying to determine if energy drinks may have played a part in his condition.

The Kansas City Fire Department says he was participating in a training exercise last Saturday, June 10, when he suffered a heat stroke. He was taken to the hospital and was in a coma until Saturday morning, June 17.

The fire department said that the firefighter may have consumed some energy drinks. Temperatures last weekend were in the upper 80s and low 90’s. The training exercise was two hours long and “was a routine, hands-on operation utilizing a vacant home that did not involve fire.”

“Despite monitoring heat conditions and taking regular breaks for hydration, the firefighter collapsed shortly after noon,” the fire department said. “While this was a routine training exercise, it has caused us to reevaluate our temperature restrictions for outdoor training activity … We are actively investigating all aspects of this situation in order to ensure the safety of personnel.”

Dr. Steven Owens, a cardiologist at the University of Kansas Health System, says a young healthy person with a heat-related illness can usually recover with hydration and cooling. 

“The caffeine in an energy drink is actually in a little bit of a diuretic. In other words, it actually causes you to lose fluid a little faster than you would otherwise so you are really working against yourself if you’re just trying to stay hydrated with an energy drink,” he said.

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Illinois Fire Safety Alliance Camp for burn victims

Excerpts from

From June 18-24, nearly 70 burn-injured children between the ages of eight and 16 will attend Camp “I Am Me.” The 27th annual week-long camp is hosted by the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance at YMCA Camp Duncan in Ingleside, Illinois, featuring a wide array of typical camp activities as well as special activities that deal with the specific needs of burn survivors. Generous donations from various groups statewide fully fund Camp “I Am Me,” which would otherwise cost approximately $2,400 per camper.

It is a truly unique camp that allows young children who have been burned by scalding water, chemicals, fire, or electricity to be in a judgment-free environment with others who have shared similar experiences,” says Philip Zaleski, executive director of the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance. “Through our work with hospital burn units, the State Fire Marshal’s Office, and fire departments statewide we hope to reach all burn-injured children in Illinois so they can benefit from the free camp.”

Campers can participate in nearly 50 activities, including horseback riding, swimming, and archery. But the activities that may have the biggest impact are those designed specifically for emotional healing. Through character development, journaling, and therapeutic sessions that help build self-esteem, they are able to take advantage of resources often not available in their hometowns.

“When the children attend camp, they find that they are not alone. The physical and emotional recovery from their burns is taken on from a community approach in which everyone helps and learns from each other. They don’t have to hide or be afraid to be themselves. Instead, they learn how to become more confident and bring that confidence back home,” notes Zaleski.

The positive impact of Camp “I Am Me” is evident as over one-third of camp volunteers each year are former campers. In addition, members of the fire service and medical community, as well as educators and members of the private sector, volunteer their time for a total of nearly one volunteer for each camper.

For more information about Camp “I Am Me,” please visit

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MABAS-Illinois news

Excerpts from MABAS-IL:

Subject: MABAS – Illinois Change in Leadership – Transition Overview 

MABAS CEO Jay Reardon and the MABAS-Illinois leadership have been in discussions for some time regarding his retirement including an organized transition plan. Accordingly, effective June 30 ,2017, Chief Reardon will be stepping down as MABAS-Illinois CEO and Chief Glenn Ericksen, current MABAS Administrative and Finance Section Chief, will assume the duties of the Chief Executive Officer. Chief Reardon will becomes an advisor to the Leadership Team and Executive Board effective July 1, 2017 and serve in the position until December 31, 2017.
Glenn Ericksen retired approximately three years ago as the fire chief for the Village of Arlington Heights after forty years with the village. Upon his retirement, he accepted his current position as MABAS Section Chief.  The MABAS Leadership Team supported Chief Ericksen’s CEO appointment unanimously.
Chief Reardon was elected as MABAS-Illinois President in 1999 while serving as fire chief for the Northbrook Fire Department. Following his election was an invitation for MABAS to become a member of Illinois Terrorism Task Force as the fire services operational and mutual aid advisor for fire, EMS, and special operations teams. On January 16, 2001 MABAS-Illinois and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency signed a first ever intergovernmental agreement allowing MABAS’ local agency resources to fall under the control  of the Illinois governor’s direction as a mobile support team for declarations of disasters. On September 11, 2001 the world changed and so did MABAS-Illinois. Chief Reardon embraced the challenges and expanded citizen service expectations guiding MABAS-Illinois to a statewide mutual aid system which became known as one of the best in the nation. In August 2005, MABAS was tasked through a EMAC interstate mutual aid request to provide operational resources to New Orleans and eleven parishes in Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina. Over the following six weeks MABAS-Illinois successfully  served the Louisiana mission with over 900 firefighters and approximately 250 fire/rescue vehicles. Several years later, MABAS-Illinois assisted Louisiana once again in support of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.  In 2008 Chief Reardon retired from the Northbrook Fire Department and was selected as the first full-time CEO for MABAS-Illinois. Since 1999, the MABAS organization includes over 1180 member fire agencies and 95 statewide response capable Special Operations Teams. Additonal accomplishments include the administrative coordination for over $135 million of federally awarded grants for MABAS capabilities and full ownership of the 74,000 square-foot MABAS Readiness Center, the headquarters for statewide MABAS operations.

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Pierce Manufacturing hit with class action lawsuit

Excerpts from

Charleston along with cities like Champaign are taking part in a class action lawsuit against Pierce Manufacturing Inc. and Global Fire Equipment Inc. claiming that they violated the terms of the warranty on the fire trucks they have made for the cities.

Charleston purchased two fire engines and ladder truck in the early 2000s over a five-year period from the company with a lifetime warranty on the frame of all three trucks for rust and corrosion damage, and currently, all three have varying degrees of rust on the frame.

Despite this, Charleston Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief Tim Meister and the city claim that the company has not repaired or replaced the frames even though it is spelled out in the warranty to do so, as they claim.

“There are multiple cities that have purchased these, same manufacturer, same years we have, and they are having the same issues,” Meister said.

So, the cities of Charleston, Champaign, Decatur, Normal, Bloomington, Peoria and Ottawa are taking action, according to city records. The law firm of Ancel Glink will represent the group of municipalities in the claims suit.

thanks Dan

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2016 NFPA Report on Firefighter Fatalities

From the NFPA’s Firefighter Fatalities in the United States – 2016

Report highlights

  • With 69 on-duty firefighter deaths in 2016, the annual total continued below average, with fewer than 70 deaths a year in five of the past six years.
  • The 15 deaths on the fireground is the lowest total reported in the 40 years of this study.
  • Sudden cardiac deaths and internal trauma accounted for the largest shares of the deaths (26 deaths each).
  • The number of deaths of career firefighters was the lowest total ever reported (19 deaths).

Excerpts from

The National Fire Protection Association has released its annual report on firefighter fatalities in the United States, and a leading cause of on-duty deaths in the fire service remains cardiac issues despite those deaths hitting an all-time low in 2016.

Last year’s total of 69 on-duty deaths marked the fifth time in six years that the number was below 70, according to the NFPA’s 2016 Report.

The 26 deaths attributed to cardiac issues marked the fewest since the NFPA began this study in 1977, but it was still high enough to match internal trauma as a leading cause. Sudden cardiac death has consistently been the leading cause for on-duty deaths year in and year out in the NFPA’s study.

Of the 69 total deaths, 39 were volunteers, 19 were career firefighters, eight were employees of federal land management agencies, one was a contractor with a state land management agency, one was a member of an industrial fire brigade and one was a prison inmate.

“When NFPA began reporting on firefighter deaths 40 years ago, the annual average was close to 150 fatalities per year,” Rita Fahy, NFPA’s manager of fire databases and systems, said in a release. “Over the past five years (between 2012 and 2016), the annual average has dropped to less than half that at 73 deaths, so we’ve clearly seen a significant decline in on-duty firefighter fatality rates over time.” 

The number of deaths attributed to cardiac issues dropped starkly from 51 percent in 2015, while the increase in internal trauma deaths — which was 24 percent in 2015 — could be attributed in part to deaths related to vehicle accidents jumping from 12 percent in 2015 to 25 percent last year.

Although the report has consistently shown a decline in on-duty firefighter fatalities in recent years, the NFPA is quick to point out that this does not provide the full picture of the risks firefighters face even years after the job — particularly with the issues of job-related cancers and PTSD coming to the forefront in the industry.

“While the annual report accurately reflects steadily declining rates among on-duty firefighters,” Fahy said, “it doesn’t capture many of the deaths that occur off duty that are ultimately the result of on-duty activities.”

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Of interest … Charleston Fire Department

Charleston FD Capt. Ryan Delk

Leroy Burnell photo

Excerpts from the

Latoya Riley who lives in Charleston, SC was recently preparing pork chops for dinner when the grease she was heating up caught fire. She quickly moved the pan to the sink, burning her hands in the process. When water hit the grease, flames shot up.

She called 911 and the Charleston Fire Department showed up right away.  Captain Ryan Delk said the firefighters were in the middle of making their own dinner when they got the call.

Riley waited outside for her mother to pick her up and take her to the hospital for the burn wounds on her hands.

After the smoke cleared, Captain Delk noticed something was baking in the oven. He took it out, then decided to grab a new pan and finish frying the pork chops. He put the meal on the table for the kids and even cleaned up the kitchen afterwards.  

“She had two small children, so I didn’t want them to have to wait until 10 or 11 o’clock to eat supper,” he said.

The city of Charleston’s Customer Service Initiative Committee heard the story and recognized Delk’s kindness last month with a quarterly customer service award. 

“In this line of work, you have to be a people-person,” Delk said. “It’s not just spraying water on a fire.”

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State mandated consolidation of 911 dispatch centers

Excerpts from the

The consolidation of 911 emergency dispatch services in Lake County continues following passage of a state law requiring it in 2015, but a separate effort involving a Lake County 911 Emergency Dispatch Task Force is also moving forward.

The task force met to go over a study they commissioned which shows the current status of dispatch services in the county and possible cost savings from consolidation.

Titled the “Complexity of Current Environment” in the report summary, the study found that there are 52 municipalities, 41 law enforcement agencies, 30 fire/EMS agencies, 21 Emergency Telephone System Boards (ETSBs) and 20 communication centers or dispatching centers in Lake County.

The state law, Public Act 99-0006, required any municipality or city with a ETSB board and no dispatch center to consolidate with another system that had a dispatch center. The law did allow governments with more than 25,000 residents to keep their ETSB if they had a dispatch center. Those larger than 25,000 in population but without a dispatch center also had to consolidate.

David Dato, a retired Wauconda fire chief, is chairman of the county task force that is looking to consolidate as many 911 emergency dispatch centers as possible. The study showed how presently there are 20 such facilities with 233.5 full time equivalent (FTE) employees, but if there were nine centers, they would only need 228 FTEs and save about $400,000. If they fully consolidated into just two facilities with 192 FTEs, there could be savings of $2.3 million, he said.

“That’s in the first year,” Dato said. “But the biggest thing is that we have a lot of 911 call transfers (among departments). A person calls and they get center A, they need police or fire at their location and they could be transferred to center B or center C.” 

Meanwhile, because of the state law, entities like Zion and Winthrop Harbor are considering consolidation.

With the county’s ETSB serving 17 communities and approximately 220,984 residents, local officials took the lead to form the task force.  McHenry County has just one ETSB, and Will County, which is very similar to Lake County, also has just one, and six of its dispatch centers were consolidated into three.

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Joliet Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

James Lausch, an apparatus operator with the Joliet Fire Department, died on Dec. 30, 1984, at the station after fighting fires that night.

Lausch was one of 19 former area firefighters who died in the line of duty and were honored at a small ceremony Saturday at the EMS/Fire Science Training Center at Joliet Junior College.

The ceremony also was meant to unveil a small, traveling memorial with all the names, titles, and dates of death for the 19 firefighters. Eventually, Joliet Firefighter Bryan Ogrizovich, a member of the honor guard and pipes and drums, wants to erect a permanent memorial.

The planning began about a year ago for the memorial so he is using the traveling memorial to show that there is an interest in establishing a permanent one.

There are not any specific plans as of yet for the location, construction, and funding for the memorial, but Ogrizovich wants to continue honoring the fallen. This was the first time such a memorial has been held for the local fallen firefighters.

The earliest firefighter honored was William Gardiner, a Lockport volunteer firefighter who died on Dec. 17, 1897. 

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Evanston Fire Department news

On Thursday, May 11, 2017, the Evanston Fire Department lost 29-year veteran Captain Ron Shulga to a long battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Captain Shulga was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2000, which was linked to a transformer fire containing PCBs at the Varsity Theater in downtown Evanston. The Illinois Fire Chiefs Association (IFCA) and Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois (AFFI) has ruled this a job-related/non-traumatic line of duty death, which will entitle Captain Shulga to full department honors.

“Captain Shulga was a beloved member of the department who always went above and beyond to make things a little better for the next guy,” said Fire Chief Brian Scott. “He was always willing to help move the department forward. His presence will truly be missed by all.”

Captain Shulga was instrumental in maintaining the department’s self-contained breathing apparatus and radio communications, keeping others safe and connected.

Arrangements for Captain Shulga are as follows:

Wake: Thursday, May 18, 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., at Donnellan Funeral Home, 10045 Skokie Blvd., Skokie

Visitation Services: Friday, May 19, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., at Donnellan Funeral Home

To Church Procession: Friday, May 19, departing at 10:10 a.m. from Donnellan Funeral Home to St. John Brebeuf Catholic Church, 8307 N. Harlem Ave., in Niles. The procession will travel east into Evanston on Central Street to Fire Station 5, 2830 Central St., before traveling south on Green Bay Road and Asbury Avenue and west on Emerson Street to Fire Station 1, 1332 Emerson St. The procession will then continue on to the church. View procession map.

Funeral Mass: Friday, May 19, 11 a.m., St. John Brebeuf Catholic Church

Donations: In lieu of flowers the family wishes donations be made to, Evanston Firefighters Local 742 Benevolent Fund. C/O Captain Shulga, P.O. Box 1275, Evanston IL. 60204

For more information, contact Division Chief Paul Polep at

This found at Mike Cklamovski on Twitter

O’Hare coworkers pay respect to 29-year Evanston Fire Department Captain Ron Shulga with a CFD water cannon salute. 

Photos from Tim Olk:
firefighters honor fallen brother arriving by plane

Tim Olk photo

firefighters honor fallen brother arriving by plane

Tim Olk photo

firefighters honor fallen brother arriving by plane

Tim Olk photo

firefighters honor fallen brother

Tim Olk photo

firefighters honor fallen brother

Tim Olk photo

firefighters honor fallen brother

Tim Olk photo

firefighters honor fallen brother

Tim Olk photo

firefighters honor fallen brother

Tim Olk photo

firefighters honor fallen brother

Tim Olk photo

(click on the announcement for a larger download)


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2017 annual Illinois Fallen Firefighter Memorial and Medal of Honor awards ceremony

Excerpts from

Tuesday morning, firefighters from across the state came together to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Governor Bruce Rauner honored fallen firefighters at the annual Illinois Fallen Firefighter Memorial and Medal of Honor awards ceremony.

The invocation was held earlier outside the capitol followed by a processional to the Prairie Capital Convention Center.

The following was sent by Gov.Bruce Rauner’s office in regards to Tuesday’s ceremony:

“Every day, our firefighters put their lives on the line to protect our families,” Governor Rauner said. “Today we honor and remember the sacrifice of two hero firefighters who paid the ultimate sacrifice to keep our communities safe. Our firefighters are true public servants, and like all our first responders, are among the best and most honorable men and women in our state. “

Governor Rauner and Illinois State Fire Marshal Matt Perez joined firefighters from across Illinois to honor firefighters for their service. The memorial honored Captain Eric Kohlbauer of Freeport and Firefighter and Paramedic Kenneth Harris of Oak Park who both lost their lives during or as a result of their service. State Fire Marshal Perez awarded their loved ones with the Duty Death Gold Badge for their service.

“Our firefighters are the best of the best who serve with courage and bravery,” said State Fire Marshal Perez. “Today we recognize those who went above and beyond the call of duty of service. They are heroes who performed lifesaving measures in the face of tremendous danger. We honor our fallen comrades who gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect their fellow firefighters and Illinoisans. We will never forget their bravery and legacy.”

The Illinois Fallen Firefighter Memorial and Fire Fighting Medal of Honor Awards recognize outstanding firefighters for acts of courage, bravery and heroism. This year, the Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office awarded 36 firefighters and units for their acts.