Posts Tagged Countryside Fire Protection District Chief Jeff Steingart

Countryside Fire Protection District news

Excerpts from

A change is coming for Countryside Fire Protection District Fire Chief Jeff Steingart, who recognized his life’s dream as a boy and stayed with it until retiring last week. Steingart, 55, started with Countryside as a paid-on-call firefighter in 1982 and was hired as a full-time firemedic in January 1986. He steadily advanced, serving as a lieutenant and fire prevention bureau director, captain and shift commander, and assistant and deputy chief before being named to the top spot in 2006.

Last week was Steingart’s last in the office. A Change in Command ceremony with a traditional fire department walk-out is scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 17, at district headquarters, 600 N. Deerpath Drive, Vernon Hills. Deputy Chief Chuck Smith will be sworn in as the new chief.

Steingart grew up in Hawthorn Woods and became a Mundelein Fire Department Explorer at 13. After graduating from Stevenson High School in 1981, he took an EMT class, worked for a private ambulance company, and then the Highwood Fire Department before joining Countryside full-time.

Countryside covers 24 square miles, including portions of Vernon Hills, Hawthorn Woods, Long Grove, Kildeer, Indian Creek and unincorporated Lake County. Activity has increased significantly since 1982 when Countryside personnel responded to 1,391 calls. Last year, the total was 4,918.

Steingart’s resume includes dozens of awards, recognitions, certifications, and affiliations. He has been a member of the MABAS (Mutual Aid Box Alarm System) Division 4 all-hazards incident management team since 2014 and president since 2016.

He is proud of Countryside’s ISO rating improving from Class 5 to just shy of Class 1, and the department’s recent reaccreditation by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International for a fifth consecutive year.

A 30-year resident of Vernon Hills, Steingart plans to stay put and will remain involved in the fire service. He’s been hired as director of strategic planning and administration for the Wauconda Fire Protection District, a part-time civilian position.

Tags: , , , ,

Countryside Fire Protection District news

Excerpts of a commentary found at

The Countryside Fire Prevention District has supported fire and life safety education since its 1959 inception. Its mission has helped instill this practice: “The district dedicates its activities to the preservation of human life and the conservation of property. To this end the district invests its personnel in the education of its public and the maintenance of a safe environment.”

To pursue that mission, Fire Chief Jeff Steingart created a full-time public education coordinator position with the fire prevention bureau in 2007. Hired by the district in 2000 as a firefighter/paramedic, Tony Rodkey filled the position and eventually increased staffing in the bureau. Among its accomplishments, Countryside has assisted many state-level activities which include teaching and hosting a public fire and life safety instructor course. At a time when departments were cutting prevention and inspection programs, Rodkey bolstered staffing. He believes emergency response should not be the first line of defense though it is the only option after prevention and education fail. Reducing risk via education to the community is paramount in saving lives and protecting property. Home fire sprinklers are an important part of this model.

Countryside has made it a point to bolster education on this technology. The district has had a long campaign in the villages and unincorporated areas to adopt residential fire sprinkler ordinances in all buildings, specifically new homes, townhouses, and condominiums. The district passed a residential sprinkler requirement in 2004. To help promote this technology, Countryside has showcased fire sprinkler demonstrations and fire behavior lessons to five middle schools for the last 10 years. To date, 11,000 students have received fire safety education as part of their science curriculum since the creation of the public education coordinator.

Tony Rodkey plans to complement these teachings by visiting each of the five schools this September and showcasing a fire sprinkler trailer. This mobile tool provides information on fire sprinklers, the fire triangle, fire behavior, and smoke alarms. By bringing the concept of fire sprinklers to school-aged children, the fire service is able to demystify this technology at an early age while promoting its importance.

thanks Dan

Tags: , , ,

Box alarm fire in Libertyville, 7-5-16 (more)

Excerpts from the

Firefighters folded an American flag outside a fire-damaged Libertyville home Tuesday at the scene of a house fire in the 500 block of Fairhill Road.

Grayslake firefighter/paramedics Mike Higgins, Ian Mandigo and Ryan Schaefer removed the flag from the front of the home after Countryside Fire Protection District Chief Jeff Steingart told the men to take down the flag because it was in the way.

“Out of respect for the flag, we started to fold it,” Higgins said.  “We had it nice and tight … we wanted to give it back to the homeowner that way.”

Jeff Rudolph posted the photo of the firefighters folding the flag on Facebook.

“They could have left it hanging and it probably would have gotten torn down by crews walking in and out or they could have removed it and just balled it up and set it somewhere, but they knew the respect the flag deserved. They went the extra step … in a day and age when many disrespect our flag, the members of our nation’s fire service always respect and honor what that flag means.”

thanks Dan

Tags: , , , , , ,

Group to research consolidation of 911 dispatching Lake County

Excerpts from the

As Wauconda officials wrestle with a plan to shutter a local 911 dispatch center and join a regional service group, a new Lake County task force has formed to examine the issue on a broader scale.

Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor is among the task force members. He supports consolidating 911 centers. “It has been done successfully elsewhere, and I’m confident we can do it here.”

The group created by the county board in August includes Countryside Fire Protection District Chief Jeff Steingart, former Mundelein Fire Chief Tim Sashko, Vernon Hills Police Chief Mark Fleischhauer, Round Lake Beach Mayor Rich Hill and Lake Zurich dispatcher Leah Kelly.

In Lake County, no 911 center has been in the news as much as Wauconda’s. Officials and residents have squabbled over its future for more than a year. Under the current plan, a regional organization called CenCom would handle 911 calls for Wauconda police and the Wauconda Fire District. Trustees could vote on a consolidation deal Oct. 6.

The other agencies served by Wauconda’s dispatchers, the Tower Lakes and Lakemoor police departments, would need to find new service providers if the center closes.

Since Wauconda’s 911 battle began, state lawmakers have approved legislation that calls for dispatch centers to consolidate significantly in the future.

Lake County’s Lawlor said 911 consolidation has been a top issue since a 2014 local leadership summit. “This presents tremendous opportunities to improve quality (and) efficiency and provide cost savings.”

thanks Dan

Tags: , , , , ,