Posts Tagged Elgin Fire Department

Elgin Fire Department news

Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

Members of the Elgin Fire Department’s water rescue and recovery team tested an inflatable rescue craft made by Colorado-based Creature Craft in April, for water rescues, particularly those involving the Kimball Street dam. The craft has a roll cage to limit its capsizing risk and to make it easier to upright should it tip. It boasts 40 separate inflatable baffles intended to prevent sinking.

More than 15 people participated in the demo including firefighters from East Dundee and Carpentersville. The craft tested and related accessories would cost about $30,000 and weighs around 200 pounds. An advantage the craft has over the one the department currently uses is it can be used both above and below the dam. The current raft is designed for use below the dam only.

The department’s current rescue raft is 20 years old, and the company that made it is no longer is in business. While the raft is in working order, replacement parts are no longer available so they have to be retrofitted. It was used in Elgin about a half-dozen times last year, although they’ve never had to rescue anyone. It is designed so it can also be used as a platform from which divers can get into the water.

The last death of someone going over the Kimball dam was a jet skier in 1995. Two youths went over the dam in a raft in 2012 while a friend videotaped it, but the river was low at the time and no rescue was necessary. When the river high, the dam can be treacherous.

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Elgin Fire Department news

Excerpts from the DailyHerald.com:

Elgin Firefighter Shay Brill was awarded a medal of merit for pulling over while off-duty to help a Cook County sheriff’s deputy hit by a drunken driver on Interstate 90.

He was driving alone on Interstate 90 near Arlington Heights Road when he saw a car zip past him on the right, cross over all three lanes of traffic and crash into two squad cars stopped by the median. The deputies had finished pulling over another driver, who had just left. He says he didn’t do much other than divert traffic, feel the officer’s pulse, and talk to him to try to calm him down. The officer, who had to be extricated from his totaled vehicle, suffered two broken ribs, a concussion, and head lacerations. 

Earlier in the evening, Brill’s kids were injured when the vehicle driven by his daughter rolled over three times after a gust of wind blew it off the road near Hampshire. Brill and his wife rushed to the scene, arriving at the same time as paramedics, and finding their daughter unconscious and their son with a fractured femur and tibia. He helped put his daughter on a board and do a quick trauma assessment. Both kids were transported to Sherman Hospital, where doctors decided the girl should be moved to Lutheran General Hospital.

 

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Elgin and South Elgin Fire Department news

Excerpts from the DailyHerald.com:

The Elgin and South Elgin fire departments have equipped ambulances with automated CPR devices.

Data shows that resuscitation success rates for the Elgin Fire Department nearly doubled in months when firefighters used the devices. The department tested two different brands from February 2017 through May 2017 and equipped all its ambulances in October.

The South Elgin and Countryside Fire Protection District tracked data for about a year as it tested five brands. Elgin and South Elgin bought Lucas 3 chest compression systems at about $15,000 each. 

Elgin data shows that from January 2017 to January 2018, firefighters responded to 76 calls involving cardiopulmonary arrest, and were able to prompt a return of spontaneous circulation in 30 cases.

In months when the devices were not in use, firefighters had a 24 percent success rate on average. With the devices, that jumped to 47 percent.

The Elgin Fire Department’s purchase was helped by a $72,000 assistance-to-firefighters grant through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 

The South Elgin fire district paid out of pocket for the purchase. Firefighters chose to contribute some money from the foreign fire tax fund.

thanks Dan

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Elgin Fire Department news

Excerpts from the DailyHerald.com:

60-year-old Alan Butt has no memory of collapsing on the ice during a recreational hockey league game. All he knows is what he was told when he woke up in the emergency room: His heart stopped and Adam Subleski, an off-duty Elgin firefighter on the opposing team saved his life.

They were playing Dec. 15 in Crystal Lake when Butt slumped face down on the ice. Subleski said his training kicked in immediately. He skated over and, with the assistance of others, rolled Butt over, removed his goalie pads and started CPR. A member of Butt’s team grabbed an automated external defibrillator, which Subleski used to help revive the man while continuing CPR until the paramedics arrived. Without the AED, Butt wouldn’t be alive today, Subleski said.

Butt recently presented Subleski with an Elgin Fire Department Merit Award.

thanks Dan

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New ambulance for Elgin

From the Fire Service, Inc. Facebook page:

Congratulations and thank you to the City of Elgin, IL Fire Department on their order of a new 2018 Wheeled Coach F450 4×4 Type 1 ambulance!. Cool Bar HVAC system, Liquid Spring suspension, Knox Med Vault, and Whelen LED warning systems are some of the features Elgin specifies to benefit their community and membership. We thank Elgin again for their continued confidence in Fire Service, Inc. and Wheeled Coach. Look for delivery in approximately 90 -120 days!

new ambulance on order for Elgin

new ambulance on order for Elgin

drawing of new ambulance for the Elgin Fire Department

new ambulance on order for Elgin

thanks Ron

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Elgin Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

An engine ran out of water before a second engine crew was able to re-establish a water supply to fight a fatal fire in Elgin this year. Elgin Fire Chief David Schmidt said that, according to radio communications, firefighters at the scene were without water for 77 seconds while trying to extinguish the blaze in a mobile home in which a 63-year-old man died.

 “There are multiple variables happening on each and every call that affect the outcome of an incident,” Schmidt said.

Department guidelines recommend the first engine use the water it carries, and when the second engine arrives, it connects a line from a hydrant to the first engine, creating a continuous flow of water, Schmidt said.

According to Elgin Fire Department documents, a neighbor called in the fire just before 6:42 p.m. Jan. 21. Records state it took 77 seconds from dispatch for Engine 5 to bring a crew of three to the burning home along the 400 block of Sadler Avenue. The dispatcher also sent an ambulance from Station 5, a truck and battalion chief from Station 1, and engines from Stations 4 and 2. The second engine arrived 7 minutes, 29 seconds after the dispatch.

Both Schmidt and Joe Galli, president of Elgin Association of Firefighters Union IAFF Local 439, said it is unusual for an engine to run out of water before a second source has been established. Galli told Elgin city officials this month that recent shift staffing cuts contributed to a delay in response to the incident.

Ken Willette of the National Fire Protection Agency said it sounds like the department followed accepted protocols in attacking the fire. He also said mobile homes are some of the worst fires to attack because of their construction materials.

After that first engine arrived, its three firefighters attached a hose to the engine and began putting water on the blaze. The two-man crew from Ambulance 5, the second unit on the scene, attached a second hose to the engine.

The reports note that when firefighters from Station 1 arrived, they assumed they were going to be responding in Engine 1, but CAD/Communications dispatched Truck 1. Truck 1’s firefighters were assigned to enter and search the home with Ambulance 5 firefighters as Engine 5 firefighters worked to extinguish the fire underneath the home and around the entrances.

“Because this was early in the new deployment, it appears there was a little uncertainty on the apparatus recommendation,” Schmidt said. “Our philosophy for the deployment change was to get two engines and one truck on the scene as quickly as possible.”

Firefighters ran out of water, though the fire continued to burn under the home and through the floor, vents and a wall, the report states, and that delayed crews from entering the building.

When Engine 4 arrived, some of its crew worked to connect a hose to a hydrant at Olive Street and Sadler. Engine 4 crew members also assisted in putting out the fire underneath the mobile home after the water was connected.

“There is no way of telling if the resident would have survived had we been given the opportunity to get inside sooner. Running out of water stalled the rescue effort,” Galli said.

Schmidt said Station 6 on West Chicago Street normally would have sent the second engine, but that crew was responding to a medical call. That put Engine 4 from the firehouse near Elgin Community College next in line to respond.

The fire was declared under control 13 minutes, 10 seconds after the 911 call.

Galli said the $700,000 cut to the department’s budget affected how events played out that night. Schmidt disagreed and said Galli was politicizing the death.

“Safety remains a top priority of the city, not only for the community but for our firefighter personnel as well. The city is and remains safe, and to suggest otherwise is misleading,” Schmidt said.

While the National Fire Protection Agency recommends four-man crews on a fire engine, having three on an engine and two in an ambulance is acceptable, based on the organization’s “1710” standard. Elgin also arrived well within the agency’s standards, he said.

“The first arriving engine and ambulance is making the determination to go with an aggressive attack with two hose lines. … They were addressing it as taught at the national fire academy,” Willette said. “The first thing is life, the second thing is incident stabilization, and the third is property conservation.”

The first engine on the scene could have chosen to immediately attach to the hydrant, but Willette noted that making that choice when another engine is en route is hard to make.

“The fact of the matter is we responded quicker to the incident on Sadler Avenue than the industry guidelines provide for an effective response force,” Schmidt said.

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New engine for Elgin

From the Fire Service, Inc. Facebook page:

Final Inspection at E-ONE with the Elgin Fire Department for their new Engine 2.

thanks Danny

new fire engine for the Elgin Fire Department

Fire Service, Inc. photo

new fire engine for the Elgin Fire Departmentnew fire engine for the Elgin Fire Department

Fire Service, Inc. photo

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Elgin Fire Department news

Excerpts from the DailyHerald.com:

The Elgin fire union president says overtime staffing cuts caused a delayed response and gap in water supply to a fire in which a 63-year-man died last month.

David Moncatch died Jan. 21 when heating tape caused a fire at his trailer home on the 400 block of Sadler Avenue. Officials at first said Moncatch died of smoke inhalation, but an autopsy showed he died of a heart attack, International Association of Firefighters Local 439 President Joe Galli said. Moncatch was found in the kitchen, apparently trying to get a fire extinguisher. Two dogs also died.

Fire Chief Dave Schmidt defended the department’s response, saying the first engine arrived two minutes after the call, and 15 firefighters arrived within eight minutes of travel time, the standard set by the National Fire Protection Association. A total of 23 firefighters responded.

At the center of the dispute is how long it took the second engine to arrive and hook up to the hydrant about 150 feet from Moncatch’s home. When the second engine arrived, nearly nine minutes after the initial call, the first engine had run out of water — the first time in recent memory that’s happened, Galli and Schmidt agreed.

The radio recording shows a one-minute gap between firefighters reporting they were out of water and saying water was beginning to pump from the hydrant. Galli said firefighters told him the actual gap was longer. “We are in a business where seconds count,” he said. Firefighters were about to enter the trailer when the water ran out, so they opted to enter after they had water.

The staffing cut enacted Jan. 11 means there are 31 firefighters — two fewer than last year — and a battalion chief on duty at all times across the city’s seven fire stations.

A structure fire calls for three engines, one ladder truck, one ambulance, and more vehicles based on the severity of the fire. The first engine arrived from Station 5 at 804 Villa St. and started fighting the fire. Moncatch’s home is behind the station.

Before the staffing cut, the second engine and ladder truck — if not on another call — would have come from Station 1 at 550 Summit St., two miles away. The staffing cut, however, makes it so crews there jump between the engine or truck. The truck Jan. 21 came from Summit Street, and the second engine came from Station 4 at 599 S. McLean Blvd., nearly four miles away, because the next-closest engine at Station 6 was out on a call.

If the second engine had come from Summit Street, it would have arrived in time to have a continuous water supply, Galli said. “We weren’t able to send the closest engine because of our staffing model. And because of that, we will never know what could have been.”

Firefighting entails juggling the unpredictability of calls, such as the one the engine from Station 6 was on when the fire at Moncatch’s home took place, Schmidt said. “It’s not an exact science, because in any given day, in excess of 50 percent of the time we are running multiple calls,” he said.

Schmidt also pointed out the ladder truck from Summit Street arrived just one minute before the second engine. The second engine that day “was still close enough. It was a respectable response time,” he said.

The cuts are estimated to save $750,000 per year. The union argued the cut would affect the safety of firefighters and residents, and the matter is expected to be decided in arbitration.

thanks Dan

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Fatal fire in Elgin, 1-21-18

Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

Elgin firefighters called to a home in the 400 block of Sadler Avenue about 6:40 p.m. Sunday found heavy smoke upon arrival. Initial reports indicated two people were in the mobile home but it was determined the second resident was not home at the time.

A man found by firefighters searching the house  was transported to Presence St. Joseph Hospital in Elgin, where he was pronounced dead. The Kane County Coroner’s Office is investigating the death. Two dogs perished in the fire.

The fire was ruled accidental after officials determined that heat tape being used to prevent pipes from freezing overheated. Elgin fire investigators received assistance from investigators from the Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office.

Damage to the mobile home was estimated at $30,000, with additional losses to personal property.

thanks Dan

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Elgin Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

Elgin Fire Department shift staffing cuts took effect Thursday following a court ruling against the Elgin Association of Firefighters Local 439, which claimed the changes would put first-responders firefighters at risk of injury.

Judge David Akemann issued an order ruling in the city’s favor late Wednesday afternoon. The ruling denies the 130-member fire union’s motion for a preliminary injunction regarding the shift staffing changes, which were the result of cuts to the city’s 2018 budget. Akemann also canceled a court hearing on the matter scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

In the complaint, the union argued, “If the city reduces shift staffing, the union predicts that the number of injuries will increase significantly,” and Akemann wrote that the union had not shown irreparable injury that would necessitate the intervention of this Court.

The lawsuit followed the Elgin City Council’s Dec. 20 approval of a $259 million budget. The budget includes $700,000 in cuts to fire department overtime by reducing two positions per shift. 

The union filed its case Dec. 22 and staffing levels remained as they were until Thursday. Elgin uses a staffing model that relies on overtime to fill fire department shifts to limit costs such as insurance and pension benefits.

Galli said that firefighters will be learning how to adapt to the changes as they go along.

thanks Dan

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