Posts Tagged Barrington Fire Chief Jim Arie

Barrington Fire marshal retires

Excerpts from the DailyHerald.com:

Lt. James Feit retired from the Barrington Fire Department after 43 years on the job, a feat believed by fire officials to be among the longest tenures in the village’s history.

Starting as a part-time employee in his early 20s, Feit, now 65, rose through the ranks to become the village’s fire marshal, a job that Barrington Fire Chief Jim Arie said Feit excelled at.

Arie said Feit was instrumental in the village’s passing of a 1995 ordinance that required all Barrington construction projects to come installed with a sprinkler system.

“It is a huge safety improvement in terms of protection and minimal loss,” Arie said. “We were the second village in the state to adopt it after Long Grove.”

Arie said among the things that the department will miss about Feit is his dedication to safety.

“He always had in the back of his mind the concern and the safety of the firefighters,” Arie said. “He always provided our guys with feedback if he thought something was a safety concern. He always very attuned to that and sensitive to that.”

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Fire Departments express concerns about hazardous cargo

Excerpts from a Daily Herald article:

A continued spike in oil trains and recent high-profile explosions and pollution spills across the United States have suburban fire departments playing defense.

[Firefighters] interviewed by the Daily Herald for this series of reports on railway hazardous materials releases said they train continually and have mutual aid agreements for worst-case scenarios. But all the forethought in the world could be trumped by issues beyond their control, authorities warn.

It’s more than theoretical in places like Glen Ellyn, where a 1976 derailment spilled ammonia, leading to a massive evacuation and 14 injuries.

And fuel isn’t the only hazardous material emergency firefighters face, records show. The Daily Herald reviewed 15½ years of hazmat reports involving trains and found 345 occurrences in the metropolitan region. The types of chemicals and fuels firefighters could battle on any given day include toxins that pose a health threat with significant exposure such as hydrochloric acid, ammonia or the solvent xylene, and highly flammable liquids such as ethanol or Bakken crude oil.

As one of Illinois’ largest cities, Aurora has about 195 firefighters. There are about 30 hazmat specialists on hand.

Union Pacific spokesman Mark Davis noted that the railroad annually trains about 2,500 local, state and federal first-responders on ways to minimize the impact of a potential derailment. “In 2014, Union Pacific has trained 314 emergency responders on crude oil safety.”

BNSF spokeswoman Roxanne Butler said the railroad trained 8,619 first-responders this year. “We’ll go to any fire department along our railroad and host a hands-on training,” she said.

The Federal Railroad Administration proposes phasing out older DOT-111s that transport ethanol and crude oil within two years. But the policy gives the industry an out, firefighters say, by limiting the restrictions to trains with 20 or more high-hazard flammable cars.

“The (BNSF) railroad goes through almost all of our central business district … if we had a train that was transporting Bakken oil and we had an accident and spill and a few of the containers caught fire — it would have a significant long-term impact on the community,” Lisle-Woodridge’s Krestan said.

The American Association of Railroads said its members support modernized, more durable tank cars.

With busy Union Pacific tracks bisecting his community, Glen Ellyn Volunteer Fire Company Chief Jim Bodony knows trains carrying hazmat will pass through town frequently. What he balks at are trains potentially carrying ethanol or crude oil idling on tracks for hours on end.

His fears aren’t unprecedented. Before dawn on May 16, 1976, a Chicago and North Western Railway (now UP) train derailed after hitting another freight train on a curve just west of Glen Ellyn, causing a carload of ammonia to gush out, injuring 14 people. Parts of Glen Ellyn and Glendale Heights were evacuated for hours, and the chemical went into the sewers, polluting Lake Ellyn and killing fish.

If there’s a serious release from a tank car, the faster firefighters know what substances are or could be involved, the better, Barrington Fire Chief Jim Arie said. Existing policies — where a paper manifest is handed over to first-responders — just aren’t pragmatic, he thinks. He wants real-time electronic access from the railroads as to what chemicals are on the train. So far, that hasn’t materialized.

CN’s Waldron said the railroad’s police communications center can email or fax a train manifest to first-responders when requested during an emergency.

CN and other railroads are offering a mobile app for emergency response officials that “provides immediate access to accurate, near-real-time information about railcars carrying hazardous materials on a train,” Waldron said.

The BNSF’s Butler said the railroad has an emergency number for firefighters to call and get critical information.

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Barrington & Barrington sign auto-aid agreement

The Daily Herald has an article about an automatic aid agreement that has been signed between the Village of Barrington Fire Department and the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District.

Nearly six months after their acrimonious breakup, the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District and the Barrington Fire Department have reached an automatic aid agreement governing when, how and where each will respond to emergencies in the other’s jurisdiction.

The deal, ratified by both sides Monday evening, calls for the district to respond to all commercial fire alarms in the village of Barrington that occur west of Route 59. In return, the Barrington Fire Department will provide fire and emergency medical service coverage to sections of the district that are in the vicinity of the village’s fire station at 400 N. Northwest Highway.

The agreement was negotiated by district Fire Chief Jeff Swanson and Barrington Fire Chief Jim Arie.

“We are confident that (the agreement) improves public safety for residents of both the district and village, and ensures that the aid we provide will be reciprocated when we need it,” Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District board President Thomas C. Long said.

Prior to Jan. 1, the fire district paid the village of Barrington to provide fire protection services to its 48-square mile jurisdiction, which includes the towns of Barrington Hills, South Barrington, Lake Barrington, Inverness and unincorporated Cook, Lake and McHenry counties. But after disputes over staffing and equipment needs, the fire district ended the relationship and launched its own department at the start of the year.

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Barrington touts ISO upgrade after split

The Daily Herald has an article

An imminent upgrade of Barrington’s fire insurance rating is being hailed by village officials as validation of their fire department’s realignment after the Jan. 1 split from the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District.

Effective Aug. 1, the Insurance Services Office will upgrade the village’s public protection classification from a 4 to a 2 — putting it in the top 1.5 percent of all fire departments in the U.S., according to the village

While it’s less likely the improved rating will make an impact on homeowners’ insurance rates, Barrington Fire Chief Jim Arie is encouraging commercial property owners to tell their insurance agents of the change. The Insurance Services Office’s classifications are based 50 percent on the resources of the local fire department, 40 percent on access to water and 10 percent on communications, Arie said.

Prior to Jan. 1, the village’s fire department provided services for properties within the fire protection district, which covers 48 square miles in parts of Barrington Hills, Lake Barrington, South Barrington, Inverness and unincorporated Cook, Lake and McHenry counties. With the split, the fire protection district formed its own department to serve those areas.

As a result, Barrington’s fire department no longer covers large areas outside the village that don’t have fire hydrants.

Barrington officials say the upgraded rating also attests to the reconfigured fire department’s ability to do its job competently.

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Barrington & Countryside FPD responds to village critique

The Barrington-Courier Review has a brief article on the relationship between the two Barrington fire department.

Despite last week’s clash between the Barrington Fire Department and Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District about the way a recent fire was handled, the two sides are still working to forge a mutual aid pact.

“Slim as it might be, it will still be an operational relationship,” Fire District Trustee Paul Heinze said Wednesday during a report to the Barrington Hills Village Board. “The essence of the difficulty is that they [Barrington Fire Department] want enormous free support from us.” Heinze noted that district’s 46-square-mile territory proves much more costly to serve than the department’s 5 square miles. He listed the costs of manpower, wear and tear on equipment, and exposure to hazardous conditions as ongoing points of contention.

“We’re interested in drafting something that is equitable and balanced,” he said.

The differing service demands were among the factors that led the agencies to split effective Jan. 1.

Heinze also provided Barrington Hills officials a report about the district’s first 100 days operating independently. Its crews responded to 398 calls during that time, including requests for 198 ambulance services and 43 vehicular accidents. The district doubled its manpower at each of its two stations and purchased a new ambulance during the first 100 days, he added. The district’s ability to get water to areas without hydrants also has improved.

“You’ll be pleased to know we have two, 3,000-gallon tenders, one at each station,” he said, adding that the district acquired a backup tanker.

While there is no aid agreement in place, the two entities remain on the same box alarm system. District crews will be dispatched to serious emergencies in the village.

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Barrington chief questions fire district response

The Daily Herald has an article about tensions between the Barrington Fire Department and the Barrington Countryside Fire District.

Barrington’s fire chief is publicly questioning the procedures of the recently formed Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District’s department after a recent house fire just blocks from the village’s border.

[Barrington] Chief Jim Arie said his firefighters could have made it to the scene of the April 9 fire at 1025 S. Grove St. in nearly half the time that it took Barrington Countryside, but were never called to assist in battling the blaze.

Arie reported at a recent public meeting of the Barrington village board that the first fire engine on the scene from Barrington Countryside arrived in five minutes and 34 seconds, whereas an engine from the Barrington village station, located less than two miles from the fire, would have arrived in less than three minutes. The Barrington Countryside engine first on the scene had to travel just over 3½ miles.  Arie said the more than two minute time difference was important.

“Fire doubles in size about every minute,” he said, noting that the blaze initially was reported to have started in the garage, but was fully involved fire by the time Barrington Countryside firefighters arrived.

It’s extremely unusual for neighbors not to work with each other regarding when an emergency call goes on, such as the case here,” Arie said. “(It) is very unfortunate for everybody, especially the public.”

Barrington Countryside Fire Chief Jeffrey Swanson refuted Aries’ claims that his district handled the call improperly. He said he is proud of his firefighters’ work in the April 9 fire, adding that their efforts saved about $200,000 in property damage to the home.

When a fire occurs, it’s standard practice for emergency dispatchers to inform departments in neighboring jurisdictions. Which departments are called, and when, is determined by lists prepared by each agency and aid agreements worked out among the departments.  Barrington Countryside does not have the Barrington Fire Department in the first group of neighboring departments to be contacted when a fire south of Lake-Cook Road is reported. Instead, departments in Carpentersville, East Dundee, Hoffman Estates, Cary and Long Grove are notified first.

Swanson said the district is satisfied with its list, and noted that the Barrington Fire Department is in the second group of agencies to be called. He added that the fire district will review the call list. “If we need to change it, we will change it,” he said

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Barrington FD & Fire District update

The Daily Herald has an article about the separation of the Barrington FD and the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District as the split nears:

An exchange of letters between the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District and village of Barrington in late September 2012 began a 15-month process of separating their fire services that becomes real at the stroke of midnight this New Year’s Eve.

Only then will the true test of both agencies’ preparations begin, during a transitional period that will last anywhere from a minute to a year, depending who you ask. It will take a year to fully measure the finances of the fire district’s newly independent fire department, but the test of its operations should take only a few months, board President Tom Rowan said.

“To me, the measure of success is to provide even better service than we did before,” Rowan said. “That’s our goal, for people to say, ‘Wow, that’s a great operation!'” For Barrington Countryside Fire Chief Jeff Swanson, the obligation to be a great operation starts the moment his crew begins its first shift.

In addition to fire protection and ambulance service, the fire district will aim to be more community-focused — providing outreach and education through schools, churches, senior centers and other venues, Rowan said. The fire district covers 48 square miles that include parts of Barrington Hills, Lake Barrington, South Barrington, Inverness and unincorporated Cook, Lake and McHenry counties.

The district has two fire stations, one in Barrington Hills and one in Lake Barrington. It has begun looking for a third location that will improve response times. The district has automatic-aid agreements with several neighboring departments, but Barrington is not one of them.

The two agencies will provide one another with the more standard form of mutual aid — in the case of a big fire, it’s all hands on deck — but they don’t have an auto-aid agreement that spells out the specifics of going above and beyond mutual aid.

Countryside is trying to staff itself so it can depend less on mutual aid than before, Rowan said.

Barrington, however, considers the lack of an automatic-aid agreement with its old partner to be unfinished business, Barrington Fire Chief Jim Arie said. While the Barrington Fire Department is narrowing its focus to the village’s five square miles with the more experienced half of its staff, the lack of an auto-aid agreement with a neighbor ignores a basic tenet of emergency service, Arie said. “It takes some of our closest resources off the table,” he said. “That’s a change I’d prefer didn’t happen.”

The fact that fire district equipment will be passing through Barrington to reach areas of its jurisdiction flies in the face of using the closest available resources, Arie said. He just hopes it’s not at the expense of anyone’s well-being in the meantime.

The separation initially was sparked by fire district trustees’ frustration that their requests for more equipment and staff were regularly denied by Barrington officials, who ran the fire service for both jurisdictions. Now, Countryside trustees say they are satisfied with their starting staffing level. They will study whether their two water tankers are enough, since a large area of their territory is without hydrants, Rowan said.

Both Barrington and Countryside will experience a slight increase in their staffing levels relative to their jurisdiction size — Barrington to 18 firefighters and Barrington Countryside to 34.

Barrington Countryside’s staff will consist of 19 firefighters laid off by Barrington, with the rest hired from private contractor Paramedic Services of Illinois.

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Also, from the Barrington-Courier Review:

The Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District announced Friday that it will assist the village of Barrington’s Fire Department through the regional response program, but said it is no longer seeking an automatic aid pact with the village.

Reporting that negotiations are at a stalemate, district officials said they will rely on aid agreements with other neighboring agencies when independent fire operations begin Jan. 1.

“The [protection district] will gladly provide assistance to our neighbors in the village of Barrington through [the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System] whenever they need us,” District Chief Jeff Swanson said. “As we move forward, we will work with all our neighbors to continuously improve the levels of service provided to area residents and revise our current agreements when opportunities arise.”

“If Barrington needs us, all they have to do is make the call and we’ll send the cavalry,” District President Tom Rowan added. “We will provide whatever personnel and apparatus they may need that we have available.”

Starting Jan. 1, the Barrington Fire Department will serve its 5-square-mile area while the district focuses on its 46-square-mile area.

MABAS, a regional mutual aid system formed in 1968, includes more than 1,500 fire departments and districts across Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan and Missouri. MABAS allows firefighter/paramedics to pool resources in situations such as multiple-alarm fires or weather-related disasters that exceed the capabilities of a single department or district.

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Palatine Rural FPD begins communication with the two Barrington fire departments

The Daily Herald has an article about the administrative changes which need to be addressed regarding automatic aid agreements between the Palatine Rural Fire Protection District and the Barrington Fire Department and Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District.

Palatine Rural Fire Protection District’s board of trustees has voted to terminate its automatic-aid agreement with the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District and the Barrington Fire Department.

Palatine Rural Chief Hank Clemmensen said the move becomes effective Dec. 31, giving all parties ample time to work out “possible” new agreements before Countryside officially splits from Barrington to operate as an independent fire department.

“We’ll need two auto-aid agreements after Jan. 1,” Clemmensen said. “Now we can sit down with both agencies to renegotiate.”

Palatine Rural’s vote to end the agreement is somewhat of a formality.

Barrington Fire Chief Jim Arie said the village had already planned to work out a new agreement with Palatine Rural that recognizes the separation from Barrington Countryside.

Clemmensen emphasized that any future auto-aid agreement, which is designed to provide immediate initial responses to an emergency by the closest fire station regardless of jurisdiction, would need to be fair and equitable for all sides.

Currently, Palatine Rural’s jurisdiction generally covers the eastern two-thirds of Inverness. Western Inverness and north of Dundee, including the area by Ela Road just 1.5 miles north of the Palatine Rural station, are in Countryside’s district. Clemmensen said Palatine Rural responds to those areas with an engine for most calls, essentially subsidizing service. A fee could help make up the difference when there’s not much opportunity for reciprocation of service. “My board doesn’t feel we’re getting the same return,” Clemmensen said. “It’s not fair to our residents to support another fire district for daily operations.”

A Barrington Countryside spokesman said the district isn’t surprised or concerned with the termination, and added that both districts are discussing other options for aid should any be necessary considering the Countryside’s increased staffing in 2014.

Clemmensen maintained it would “behoove” residents of western Inverness to have Palatine Rural always respond since its station is closer. However, he said he can’t take resources away from his own district’s residents. If a satisfactory auto-aid agreement can’t be reached with Barrington Countryside, he said an alternative could be for Palatine Rural to expand its jurisdiction. For that to happen, residents of Barrington Countryside would have to petition for a referendum to annex into Palatine Rural.

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