Posts Tagged Elgin Fire Department

Elgin Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

Elgin Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief Robert Cagann, a 27-year veteran of the of the department, has been named interim chief until a replacement is found for retired Chief David Schmidt. Cagann started his career as an Elgin firefighter in 1993 and was promoted to lieutenant in 2001, captain in 2008, battalion chief in 2015, and assistant chief in 2017. During his time as assistant chief, he distinguished himself as a leader in implementing department efficiencies and advancements. He will run a department of 133 fire and emergency personnel at seven fire stations that cover 38 square miles. The department’s annual operating budget is nearly $30 million.

 

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Elgin Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from the Dailyherald.com:

When now-former Elgin Fire Chief Dave Schmidt started his career in Elgin in 1989, he was like a kid in a candy store whose only goal was to make a difference. Thirty years later, during his retirement ceremony Friday afternoon, he said he was honored to have worked for what he called the best fire department in the country.

Family members, residents, and colleagues showed up to say goodbye during the open house and retirement flag ceremony held at Fire Station 1.

Schmidt starts Monday as fire chief in Carrboro, North Carolina, which will allow his family to be closer to his son who lives in Tennessee. 

After the ceremony, the city manager announced that Assistant Chief Robert Cagann will serve as interim fire chief, effective immediately.

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Elgin Fire Department news

Excerpts from the DailyHerald.com:

After 20 months at the bargaining table, the City of Elgin and the firefighters union have agreed on a contract that largely mirrors the previous one.

The contract, approved by the city council without discussion Wednesday night, is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2018, and calls for 2.5% pay increases across the board for the 127 members of the International Association of Firefighters Local 439. That’s the same pay increase received by other city employees, both union and nonunion. The new contract ends Dec. 31, 2021.

Starting Jan. 1, the salary range for firefighters will be $72,347 to $96,426. The range for lieutenants will be $103,934 to $113,035, and for captains it will be $123,109 to $142,514.

The city wanted to impose a cap on unused vacation days that firefighters can roll over into the next year. In return, the union mainly wanted the city to give the firefighters more notice — currently it’s 30 days — about any cuts to daily staffing, and also wanted more time — currently also 30 days — for the union to respond to such notices. In the end, both parties agreed to walk away without those changes.

The new contract has the same salary increases and health insurance provisions as the last one, and minor changes about things like assignments that the firefighters are pleased with.

Union members have voted to accept the contract.

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Elgin Fire Department news

Excerpts from the DailyHerald.com:

Elgin Fire Chief Dave Schmidt will leave Jan. 3 after 30 years with the department and start Jan. 6 as chief of the Carrboro Fire Department in North Carolina .

Schmidt became a lieutenant in 2000, captain in 2005, and assistant chief of operations in 2011.

He is particularly proud of the changes in technology he helped implement. When he started, he was teaching firefighters what a personal computer was and how to use it. Now all Elgin fire vehicles are equipped with mobile computers and Wi-Fi hot spots. Cardiac monitors, for example, can send reports wirelessly to paramedics’ tablets for importation into reports rather than having to print out long strips of paper that would be taped to a piece of copy paper.

He is also proud of his 15 years of work with the department’s academy, which trained firefighters for Elgin and other cities.

Asked for an example of how he learned from a bad call, Schmidt recalled the April 2001 mass shooting at JB’s Pub, in which a man shot 18 people, killing two of them. His ambulance was the second on the scene and ended up taking the shooter to a hospital for treatment.

thanks Ron

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Elgin Fire Department news

Excerpts from the chicgaotribune.com:

The Elgin Fire Department’s 911 notification system to alert firefighters to calls, is becoming automated. The software and hardware improvements will get call information to firefighters seconds earlier. Elgin’s seven fire stations receive more than 12,000 dispatch calls a year.

When someone makes a 911 call, a tele-communicator enters the location and nature of the incident into a computer-aided dispatch system and then manually alerts the fire stations by setting off an alarm and giving a verbal dispatch over the radio with details on the nature and location of the incident.

While the tele-communicator is getting information, he or she may have to mute the emergency call to start the alert process, which can cause callers to hang up or get upset about having to wait.

It’s also a problem when call takers need to perform multiple tasks, like assisting callers with basic first aid instructions, and can’t always put callers on hold during those critical moments in order to enter information into the alert system.

Using the automated system, operators essentially click a button and a computer voice will alert fire stations and dispatch firefighters. The 911 operators will be able to stay on the call to get more information.

Monitors will be in stations to provide visual cues when a call is received as lights will flash to let firefighters know the type of emergency, which will give them more time to respond.

Elgin is receiving a $20,000 donation for the interfacing software from the Village of South Elgin, which gets 911 dispatch services from Elgin, and the remaining $5,000 will be paid by the city of Elgin.

The $445,000 cost of the software will be funded through the area’s E-911 Emergency Telephone System. The purchases will save the department about $375,000 over a five-year period.

The Elgin City Council approved both expenditures Wednesday. The system should be operating by 2020.

 

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Elgin Fire Department news

Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

Elgin Fire Barn No. 5 Museum officials unveiled designs Saturday for a new memorial plaza and launched an effort to raise the $170,000 needed for the project, a vision that’s coming together after decades of planning.

When former Fire Chief John Henrici started thinking about the memorial, he had a grand vision to construct something similar to Springfield’s firefighter monument that could be a focal point for the annual service and would serve to honor firefighters. There have been various artist renderings and thoughts of what should be placed in the George Van deVoorde Firefighter Memorial Park. The park is located on the museum grounds.

The plans call for expanding an area to include three flag poles, a seating area and a water feature. The names of Elgin and other area firefighters killed in the line of duty would be listed as would firefighters who die each year.

Museum officials hope plans for the plaza will be finalized by October, however construction won’t start until the funding is in place.

The Firefighters’ Memorial Service is filled with traditions including a reading of the Fireman’s Prayer, the last alarm and a benediction. New this year was an honor guard presenting the flag of every department attending including Algonquin, East Dundee, Hampshire, Hanover Park, Hoffman Estates, and Streamwood.

 

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Elgin Fire Department news

Excerpts from the Dailyherald.com:

The Elgin Fire Department is undergoing major changes as people who were part of a hiring wave in the late 1980s and early 1990s have retired, and officials have ramped up efforts to increase diversity among new hires.

The latest change will affect one of two assistant fire chief positions. Assistant Fire Chief Bryan McMahan will retire Friday and Battalion Chief Richard Carter, a 28-year veteran, will be promoted to the post next week. That will trigger three additional promotions within the ranks, Fire Chief Dave Schmidt said.

Fifteen people retired in just under three years. One person with 40 years of experience and another with 30 years of experience retired this year, and another one with more than 40 years is retiring in August.

Like most suburban fire departments, Elgin’s is predominantly white and male. In an effort to increase the pool of candidates, the 133-firefighter department last summer dropped a requirement, first established in 2000, that firefighter candidates have 60 college credit hours. Six firefighters were hired in January, including one woman and one who is Hispanic, Schmidt said. The top candidate on the eligibility hiring list was a woman who ended up taking a job elsewhere.

Efforts to increase diversity within the Fire Explorer program have been successful, and the hope is that the program’s youths will apply to work within the department when they turn 21.

Carter, the future assistant chief for administration, is a product of the department’s succession planning, which encourages firefighters to rise through the ranks. Carter was a paramedic and on the technical rescue team and has been on the training division for 15 years. He also was director of the former Elgin Regional Fire Academy.

The promotion ceremony for Carter and the others is at 3 p.m. April 10 in the Heritage Ballroom of the Ed Schock Centre of Elgin, 100 Symphony Way, Elgin.

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Elgin Fire Department news

Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

The Elgin Fire Department needs to end the practice of paying firefighters overtime to cover shifts when there isn’t enough staff, Elgin Mayor Dave Kaptain said.

“We’re in a good position for the next two or three years, but this is not sustainable anymore,” Kaptain said during a special city council meeting Wednesday at which overtime expenditures in all city departments were discussed.

The department was directed to study the scheduling system and return to the council in six to nine months with a model that does not rely heavily on overtime to cover vacancies when someone is sick, injured or attending training.

Elgin’s 2017-18 budget calls for the fire department to save $700,000 in overtime by reducing two positions per shift, going from 34 to 32 firefighters on call. By restructuring how the 32 firefighters are deployed for service calls, employees did not have to be laid off, the budget said.

At the Wednesday meeting, Fire Chief Dave Schmidt said his 133-member department is on track to meet the number and will spend close to the $1.1 million budgeted for overtime. The challenges in keeping overtime inline come when firefighters are unable to work for legitimate reasons and someone must be tapped to take their place to ensure there are enough people available, Schmidt said.

About 75 percent of the fire department’s calls are for ambulance service and the department is looking at what other cities do to control their costs. They’re also exploring programs that might be able to meet the needs of people who call for ambulances frequently or provide more efficient ways to deal with calls that are more minor.

Kaptain said the fire department has been using an overtime model for at least 15 years, and he is concerned about factors that could make it less dependable or effective. Younger firefighters aren’t as enthusiastic about working overtime, he said, and over-relying on overtime could increase the likelihood of mistakes happening.

Beyond that, Elgin’s population continues to grow — 500 homes and 250 apartments are on the drawing board and there’s more residential and commercial development on the horizon — but the city has not added any new firefighters.

Whatever staff might find, Kaptain said, the International Association of Firefighters Local 439 will need to be part of the discussion. Noting past tensions between the union and city management, he said, “Us versus them has to stop. The union needs to be at the table, and we all need to push forward together.” Fire union President Joe Galli said they want to be involved in such discussions. Their concerns are not about preserving overtime pay but doing what’s safest for their members.

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Elgin Fire Department news

Excerpts from the DailyHerald.com:

With a new round of eligibility list testing set for next month, the Elgin Fire Department has dropped its requirement that candidates have 60 college credit hours in an effort to increase diversity. Like most suburban fire departments, Elgin’s is predominantly white and male, and the last round of testing in 2016 didn’t do much to change that. The decision to lower the educational requirement came after conversations with a diversity consultant and community groups.

The fire department has 133 firefighters, including four women and eight minorities. The last hiring eligibility list comprised 42 men and two women; 35 were white and three were minorities, with eight who didn’t specify their race.

Elgin created a Fire Explorer program for youths ages 14 to 20 about four years ago to increase diversity. One-third of Explorers are minorities, but so far, the only two who plan to take the test are white males. The department also is reaching out to middle school students and college female athletes.

Eligibility list testing applications are being accepted through July 13 at cityofelgin.org/98/employment. Applicants must be 21 and 35 years old and have an EMT basic certification. They get preference if they have 60 college credit hours or degrees, military service, city residency, and more.

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New ambulance for Elgin (more)

From the Fire Service, Inc. Facebook page:

Elgin, IL Fire Department has completed their final inspection on their latest Wheeled Coach Type 1 F450 ambulance. This is the 14th Wheeled Coach ambulance for Elgin. We are grateful for the long term confidence Elgin has with our products and our company. Look for final delivery pictures with graphics very soon. If you have any questions about this or any other Wheeled Coach or Road Rescue ambulances please contact your Fire Service, Inc. sales team member.

Elgin FD ambulance

Fire Service, Inc. photo

Elgin FD ambulance

Fire Service, Inc. photo

new ambulance interior

Fire Service, Inc. photo

new ambulance interior

Fire Service, Inc. photo

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