Bill Post submitted the following thoughts

On the 6PM Channel 2 Chicago News tonight (Friday) the opening story was about possible cuts to the Chicago Fire Department. Reporter Jay Levine mentioned that out of over 90 fire stations, 11 of them were older, single company stations that were said to be “old inefficient and going away” according to “fire department sources”.  It was also cited that 5 or 6 stations could possibly be closed and the approximately 150 men that are assigned to them would “not be replaced but would instead be used to make up for the difference for firefighters who are retiring.”


Engine 78’s station was used as an example. Engine 83’s station was also used as an example. However it was a poor example as the said “merging slower fire houses” like Engine 83 on Wilson Ave in Uptown could save the city money, similar to the Mayor’s idea of closing some police stations. Since when is Engine 83 a “slower” house? Police stations and fire stations are like comparing apples and oranges. Most of the policemen assigned to the stations are out on the streets in their cars on patrol and assigned to beats while firefighters and paramedics are at their local fire station so they can protect the neighborhood that they serve. It is necessary for them to be there so they can be on the scene in less then 5 minutes.


Other sources of potential savings cited  were “duty availability pay” costing about $15 million dollars, the clothing allowance costing about $5 million dollars annually and the specialty pay for hazardous materials specialists, scuba divers, and paramedic training that cost an extra 5%  added to the firefighter’s salary.


I personally have a question. Who were the “fire department sources” that had said that single company stations were “old inefficient  and going away”. It’s hard for me to imagine that anyone from the Chicago Fire Department would say that, as it is a known fact that in all major fire departments the ratio of Engine to Truck companies is always higher and therefore there are always more Single Engine Stations to multi company (Engine and Truck) stations in just about every major fire department.

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