Posts Tagged East Joliet Fire Protection District

New engine for the East Joliet Fire Protection District (more)

This from Scott Matthews:

Update on our new Ferrara Cinder MVP Rescue Pumper

Photos are from Ferrara Fire Apparatus.

Production: H-6138
Ferrara MVP Rescue Pumper

Cinder chassis
Extruded aluminum body
Waterous CSU 1750 pump
750-gallon water tank
fire truck being built

Ferrara Fire Apparatus photo

fire truck being built

Ferrara Fire Apparatus photo

fire truck being built

Ferrara Fire Apparatus photo

fire truck being built

Ferrara Fire Apparatus photo

fire truck being built

Ferrara Fire Apparatus photo

fire truck being built

Ferrara Fire Apparatus photo

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East Joliet FPD Open House

click the flyer for download

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East Joliet FPD news

This from Scott Matthews:

After 21 years of service, Monday Engine 52 (a 1996 Pierce) was decommissioned after finding out recently her pump gave out. Chief Kelly wanted me to post some final pictures as many current and former members have fond memories of her as Engine 531 & Engine 52.

East Joliet FPD fire engine

Dennis McGuire, Jr. photo

thanks Dennis

East Joliet FPD Engine 531

Larry Shapiro photo

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New engine for the East Joliet Fire Protection District

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East Joliet Fire Protection District news

From the East Joliet FPD:

We are selling our 2002 IHC/Alexis squad in a bidding process. 

click on either page for a downloadable file

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New ambulance for East Joliet FPD

This from Scott Matthews:

At the end of May, we received delivery of a new Ford F-450/Horton ALS ambulance. The new ambulance replaced our reserve ambulance, a 2002 Freightliner/Road Rescue. New Ambulance 52 was placed in service on July 1, 2016 at our Station 52 at 102 E Zarley. The ambulance that was serving as Ambulance 52, a 2007 Ford F-450/Medtec, was moved into a reserve role as Ambulance 53.

Firefighter/Paramedic Scott Matthews
East Joliet Fire Protection District
Assistant EMS Coordinator
East Joliet FPD Ambulance 52 is a Ford F-450/Horton Type I ALS unit. Scott Matthews photo

East Joliet FPD Ambulance 52 is a Ford F-450/Horton Type I ALS unit. Scott Matthews photo

Ford F-450/Horton ALS ambulance in East Joliet IL

Scott Matthews photo

Ford F-450/Horton ALS ambulance

Scott Matthews photo

Ford F-450/Horton ALS ambulance

Scott Matthews

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New ambulance for East Joliet

From the Foster Coach Sales Facebook page:

Brand new Horton conversion on a Ford F450 chassis

East Joliet FPD ambulance

Foster Coach Sales photo

East Joliet FPD ambulance

Foster Coach Sales photo

rear of brand new abulance

Foster Coach Sales photo

new ambulance interior

Foster Coach Sales photo

Type I ambulance on Ford F450 chassis

Foster Coach Sales photo

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Public Duty Doctrine in Illinois (more)

Excerpts from the

The group representing firefighters and municipalities hopes to revive a law that protects first responders police officers, firefighters, and EMS personnel from getting sued by people they try to help.

The so-called public duty rule dates to the 1800s and provides firefighters and paramedics broad immunity from lawsuits stemming from their on-the-job actions.

But earlier this year, a divided Illinois Supreme Court struck down the public duty rule when it took up a case involving the 2008 death of a Will County woman who had called 911 while home alone after going into cardiac arrest and later died.

According to a lawsuit her family filed against the East Joliet Fire Protection District, paramedics arrived at home of the 58-year-old woman, but when she didn’t come to the door they decided not to force their way in because police were not present. The responders firefighters eventually returned and entered the home after the woman’s husband came home, but by then 41 minutes had gone by since the initial 911 call. The lawsuit alleged that the delay in providing emergency care to the woman contributed to her death.

The lawsuit was initially dismissed but was eventually appealed to the state’s high court.

In sending the case back to the lower court, justices said in part that the public duty rule is confusing and misused. They also noted that another law, known as tort immunity, provides first responders emergency personnel similar protection against lawsuits. But tort immunity is more limited in that it doesn’t apply to willful and wanton conduct, meaning intentional wrongdoing.

Two groups representing firefighter unions and mayors seeking to get a public duty law on the books in Illinois are worried that its absence could open the door to frivolous lawsuits that will cost municipalities — and therefore taxpayers — money to get such legal claims dismissed in court.

A bill proposed in the Illinois Senate, first introduced in February, would bring back the public duty rule, though it has yet to be heard in a committee.

The public duty rule “protects public safety employees who need to be doing a service, not worrying whether or not they’ll be getting sued,” said Brad Cole, Illinois Municipal League executive director. “This has been common law for 160 years. We’re not reinventing anything new.”

The philosophy behind the law is that “public entities owe a duty to the public at large, and not any one individual. This meant that first responders could prioritize their responses based on available resources without the fear of lawsuits when a service didn’t meet expectations,” according to joint release on the bill from the Illinois Municipal League and the Associated Firefighters of Illinois.

But Chris Hurley, president-elect of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association — a group that opposes the bill — said the public duty law wrongly protected first responders public safety employees from being sued for misconduct, and the court was right to strike it down.

“As a society, we don’t want this,” he said. “You want a situation where there’s no consequence for willful and wanton misconduct? That can’t be the law in this state.”

The Supreme Court ruling, he said, “eliminates a lot of confusing case law and doesn’t do anything to harm local governments or their employees.”

Those advocating for the return of the law, Hurley said, “ought to just come out and say what they really want. They don’t want (government) employees sued for willful and wanton conduct. And they ought to tell the people what that means. They don’t want any consequences for their behavior, ever, no matter how egregious it is.”

But Cole denied that’s the intent of the bill and said current immunity law for first responders emergency personnel does not offer enough protection. That law, unlike the public duty rule, can be offered only as a defense in court. That translates to government entities wasting taxpayer money to defend themselves, he said.

thanks Dan

Excerpts from

An Illinois Supreme Court ruling has united two groups that often are at odds when it comes to legislation pending at the Statehouse.

The Illinois Municipal League and the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois, the state’s largest firefighters union, are backing a bill they say would shield local governments and public safety employees from being sued over the way they prioritize services.

The bill, sponsored by state Sen. James Clayborne, D-Belleville, would codify the public duty rule that the Supreme Court struck down in January. The longstanding rule held that units of government and their employees have a duty to protect the well-being of the community as a whole rather than that of individual people.

Coleman, 58, called 911 because she was having difficulty breathing. There was a series of delays and miscommunication among emergency personnel, and by the time Coleman’s husband arrived home and let paramedics in, more than 40 minutes had passed. She was found unresponsive inside and was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Coleman’s family sued the East Joliet and Orland fire protection districts, Will County, and their employees who were involved in the response.

Citing the public duty rule, lower courts ruled in favor of the defendants. But the high court overruled them in a 4-3 decision, abolishing the rule it had established in previous decisions.

“Obviously, if the legislature determines that the public policy requires it, it may codify the public duty rule, but we defer to the legislature in determining public policy,” Justice Thomas Kilbride wrote in the majority opinion.

That’s precisely what the Municipal League and the firefighters union are urging the General Assembly to do.

“In the Coleman case, the court decided to abandon the public duty rule and to abandon the public safety employees who the rule supports and defends,” said Brad Cole, the Municipal League’s executive director, calling it a “dangerous decision.”

For example, Cole said, it could expose local governments and their employees to lawsuits resulting from how they decide to prioritize numerous calls for help at the same time.

While there hasn’t been a flurry of new lawsuits since the ruling, supporters noted the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association opposes the measure.

Perry Browder, president of that association, said the proposed legislation is overly broad and could block an important check on how public safety agencies operate.

“We certainly don’t want to encourage frivolous lawsuits,” Browder said. “But at the same time, we don’t want to encourage reckless conduct or intentional disregard (by public safety employees) because that harms the public, harms our citizens and puts people at risk.”

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IL Supreme Court abolishes Public Duty Rule

Excerpts from

For decades, Illinois cities, villages, fire protection districts, and others providing police, fire protection, and ambulance services have enjoyed general immunity from lawsuits brought by plaintiffs who may accuse paramedics, firefighters, and police officers of failing to provide the level of protection or response individuals may believe they should have.

On Jan. 22, however, a majority of justices on the Illinois Supreme Court decided the time had come to undo the judicial rule underlying that immunity, finding in a 4-3 decision that the so-called “public duty rule” should be discarded.

Essentially, justices Thomas L. Kilbride, Anne M. Burke, Charles E. Freeman, and Mary Jane Theis banded together to abolish the public duty rule, while Chief Justice Rita B. Garman, Robert R. Thomas, and Lloyd A. Karmeier joined in a dissent to the majority position.

However, the issuance from the state Supreme Court included three separate opinions: a lead opinion, authored by Kilbride, to which Burke concurred; a second, concurring opinion from Freeman and Theis; and a scathing dissent, authored by Thomas.

“We conclude that the underlying purposes of the public duty rule are better served by application of conventional tort principles and the immunity protection afforded by statutes than by a rule that precludes a finding of a duty on the basis of the defendant’s status as a public entity,” Kilbride wrote in the lead opinion. “Accordingly, we hereby abolish the public duty rule and its special duty exception. Therefore, in cases where the legislature has not provided immunity for certain governmental activities, traditional tort principles apply.”

The case arose out of Will County, where the East Joliet Fire Protection District and other local emergency response services and dispatch agencies were sued by the family of a woman who died in her home when paramedics were unable to render aid quickly enough to her call for help with breathing problems.

According to court documents, Coretta Coleman called 911 in June 2008 from her home in an unincorporated Joliet neighborhood and asked for help, as she was experiencing respiratory problems. Her 911 call was promptly transferred, following standard protocols at that time, from the Will County 911 center to an operator at the Orland Central Dispatch, who would then dispatch an ambulance to the home. When the Orland dispatcher attempted to speak with Coleman, however, the court documents said Corretta did not respond to his questions. He then placed Coleman’s call into a “line for ambulance dispatch” for an “unknown medical emergency.”

Paramedics then went to her house, but received no response to knocks on the door and shouts of “Fire Department!” and saw nothing when they looked in through windows. After speaking with neighbors, they said they could not force entry, unless police were present. The first ambulance then left the scene, prompting a number of neighbors to call 911 to report the departure.

A second ambulance was dispatched to the scene, and, as those EMS personnel pondered whether to force entry, Coleman’s husband purportedly returned home and let them in, 41 minutes after Coleman’s initial 911 call. Coleman was found unresponsive and was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

Coleman’s husband then sued, alleging willful and wanton misconduct and negligence against the various defendants. The case was filed in Cook County Circuit Court, but transferred to Will County.

There, a judge dismissed the lawsuit, saying the various EMS agencies were protected by the public duty rule. That finding was upheld by an appellate court.

Under the public duty rule, which dates to the 19th Century, local municipalities are presumed to “owe no duty to individual members of the general public to provide adequate government services, such as police and fire protection.” Generally, this rule has long immunized local governments from certain kinds of personal injury lawsuits.

In this case, the Coleman family challenged the rule itself, saying it allows governments to be treated differently than its citizens in injury litigation.

While each set of two justices differed in their reasons for believing so, a majority of Illinois Supreme Court justices agreed the public duty rule needed to go, saying the state constitution’s rejection of the concept of “sovereign immunity” meant immunity laws enacted by Illinois lawmakers should hold sway in deciding the conditions under which plaintiffs can sue municipalities and their associated EMS agencies. Should lawmakers wish to specifically immunize EMS agencies and municipal governments against such suits, they were free to do so, the justices said.

“Our constitutional provision abolishing sovereign immunity and the passage of various statutes providing for certain immunities with regard to official conduct of local governmental entities constitutes a comprehensive scheme for balancing the private and public interests at stake in assessing municipal tort liability,” wrote Freeman and Theis in their special concurring opinion. “Scrupulous application of the immunity statutes enacted by the General Assembly is the best way to achieve and maintain that balance.”

Dissenting justices, however, said the two-plus-two majority erred deeply in rejecting a principle the state Supreme Court had twice found did not conflict with either the state constitution or the state’s tort immunity laws. Dissenting justices, led by Thomas, blasted the majority for abandoning long-established legal precedent upholding the public duty rule without any new, “compelling legal rationale” to do so.

Thomas wrote he understood justices may “strong disagree” with past court decisions and “therefore wish that they had been on the court when” those cases were decided.

“But that ship has sailed,” he said. Under the doctrine of stare decisis, precedent should rule.

“This court has been emphatic that ‘stare decisis … ‘expresses the policy of the courts to stand by precedents and to not disturb settled points’ and therefore we ‘will not depart from precedent ‘merely because the court is of the opinion that it might decide otherwise were the question a new one,’” Thomas wrote. “Yet that is precisely what the concurring justices are doing here.”

He said emergency responders encounter situations in which they must respond “in the midst of unfolding emergency situations when every decision they make is fraught with uncertainty and their own safety may be at risk” and they must be free to respond free from the risk of lawsuit from those questioning their actions “in hindsight.”

“Local public entities often provide needed services for their communities where the risk of potential liability to individuals would discourage local public entities from providing those services,” Thomas said.

The case attracted the attention of public policy groups and associations statewide, as a number of them, including the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, the Illinois Association of Fire Protection Districts, Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel, Illinois Municipal League and the Illinois Public Employer Labor Relations Association, among others, submitted briefs on the questions in the case.

Attorney Roman R. Okrei, a former Will County judge, of Lockport, argued for the Coleman family before the state Supreme Court.

Attorneys Stephen H. DiNolfo, of the firm of Ottosen, Britz, Kelly, Cooper & Gilbert, of Naperville; Kimbley A. Kearney, of Clausen Miller P.C., of Chicago; and Kevin J. Clancy, of Lowis & Gellen, of Chicago, argued on behalf of the defendants, including the East Joliet FPD, Will County and Orland Fire Protection District.

thanks Dan

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Fire departments receive federal grants

Excerpts from the

Mount Prospect’s fire department could have its staffing restored to 2010 levels, thanks to a $1.3 million federal grant that would allow the village to hire six additional full-time firefighters. But now village officials face the challenge of paying for the new hires once the two-year grant ends.

At Tuesday’s joint meeting of the village board and the finance commission, Mayor Arlene Juracek and trustees gave Fire Chief John Malcolm the signal to accept the grant.

Although the grant brings benefits, it also poses challenges, as outlined by Acting Village Manager David Strahl. At the end of the grant period, the full cost of the additional personnel will amount to $922,000 during 2018.

Strahl suggested funding options for 2018, including pre-funding through the property tax, using reserves, boosting ambulance fees, and increasing the business license fee from $75 to a minimum of $100, with the fee based on overall square footage, to more accurately reflect the cost of a fire inspection.

Additional revenue could be generated by charging for responding to a fire, something that is done on the West Coast, although no departments in the immediate area do so, he said.

Besides providing funding for six more firefighters, the grant would allow the department to promote three current firefighters to the rank of lieutenant and reinstate Engine 13. That engine, based out of downtown Station 13, was put out of commission in 2011 as a result of budget cuts. With Engine 13 out of service, the department has been using a tower ladder to respond to routine calls.

Excerpts from

… the Federal Emergency Management Agency has awarded a $216,667 grant to the East Joliet Fire Protection District for operations and safety. The funding is provided through the Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, which seeks to strengthen the nation’s overall level of preparedness and ability to respond to fire and fire-related hazards.

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