Posts Tagged Elgin Fire Department

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.

 

Tags: ,

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.

 

Tags: , ,

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.

Tags: , ,

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.

Tags: , ,

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.

Tags: , ,

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

Tags: , , , ,

Elgin Fire Department news

Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

Elgin may revise its requirements for firefighters to attract a more diverse group of applicants. The city council unanimously moved forward on changing firefighter application requirements. The city requires 60 college credit hours as a prerequisite for hiring but that would become optional if the city follows through on its proposed changes. A final vote is scheduled for June 13. The testing fee will be reduced from $40 to $20 for the next applicantion sessions, and candidates can have the fee waived if they are in financial need.

The department tests for new members every two years and plans on doing so sometime in July. Elgin gives job candidates preference points for various certifications and military service. Candidates with 60 or more college credit hours will receive points as well.

In 2016, 203 people tested to become Elgin firefighters, with 170 of them identifying as white, 22 Hispanic, two black, and five Asian. Five of the 203 applicants were women.

The college credit requirement was cited by some in the community and the city’s diversity consultant, as a possible barrier to attracting a diverse group of applicants. Some people may have to go to work directly after high school, which would take them out of the talent pool.

The department has 133 members with 40 percent of firefighters eligible to retire if they so choose. The department is predominantly white and male. With recent retirements and a few firefighters out on permanent disability, the department has hired 12 new firefighters since January 2017. Those hired must complete an EMT basic class available at local community colleges within a year of being hired.

thanks Dan

Tags: ,

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.

Tags: ,

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.

 

Tags: , ,

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

Tags: , ,