Posts Tagged North Chicago Fire Chief Dell Urban

North Chicago Fire Department news


North Chicago Fire Chief retires after nearly 30 years
Fire Chief Dell Urban was the first full-time female municipal fire chief in Lake County

North Chicago Fire Chief Dell Urban

North Chicago Fire Chief Dell Urban

NORTH CHICAGO, Ill. (June 4, 2021) – North Chicago Fire Chief Dell Urban has announced her retirement from the City of North Chicago.  Urban spent nearly 30 years as a member of the North Chicago Fire Department.  Previously, she worked as a firefighter for the Newport Township Fire Protection District. A public walk-out ceremony is planned for her last day, Friday, June 11, 2021.

Throughout her career, Chief Urban has been a pioneer for women in the firefighting/EMS profession.  When she was hired, Urban was the first female firefighter in the history of the North Chicago Fire Department.  When she was appointed North Chicago Fire Chief in June 2012, she was the first full-time municipal fire chief in Lake County.  Currently, Chief Urban is one of only two municipal female fire chiefs in the state.

Making training and education a priority and expectation, 23 members of the North Chicago Fire Department completed Advanced Technician Firefighter, all but a handful have obtained their Fire Apparatus Engineer.  All fire department officers have completed the Chief Fire Officer program, the highest certification designation through the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

Additionally, under Urban’s leadership, the department underwent an extensive remodeling of both fire stations in addition to the replacement and standardization of nearly all fleet of apparatus.  Physical fitness became a priority for the department, which brought back annual physicals and promoted firefighter physical and mental wellness. As chief, Urban says her biggest challenge turned into a major achievement.  She worked to ensure personnel had the tools, equipment, and apparatus to respond in the most efficient manner.

Through her tenure as chief, Urban worked continuously to find the department alternative funding via grants and other sources.  In addition to millions of dollars in grants, the department received millions more in local and county awards for equipment purchases.

Urban says one of the most rewarding accomplishments was the launch of the Sound Alarm Campaign.  In collaboration with the American Red Cross, the campaign provides free 10-year ion lithium battery smoke detectors for North Chicago residents. Since the inception of the program, the department installed nearly 700 smoke detectors in over 330 homes.

In 2014, Urban and her staff spearheaded a call notification upgrade for the department that led to nearly a 43.5% decrease in response time. When seconds count, this time savings had a critical impact on saving life and property.

During her time in North Chicago, she has seen the fire service evolve into a safer, more structured, and educated profession.     

The public is invited to attend Chief Urban’s Walk-Out Ceremony.

WHAT: Walk Out Ceremony for North Chicago Fire Chief Dell Urban
WHEN: Friday, June 11, 2021
3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
WHERE: North Chicago Fire Station 1, 1850 Lewis Avenue, North Chicago, IL 60064


Tags: , , ,

North Chicago Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

On Saturday friends, family, and colleagues will meet in Waukegan’s Shiloh Baptist Church to honor Mark Alan Miller, North Chicago’s first full-time black firefighter, who died Saturday at age 72.

Doors are scheduled to open at 10 a.m. at the church, 800 S. Genesee St., followed by an 11 a.m. funeral service.

Miller graduated from North Chicago High School in 1963 and served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam from November 1965 to October 1967. In the 1970s, he decided he wanted to be a firefighter.

“His father was city clerk and they had to sue the city because the firefighters test was racially biased,” his wife said, adding that after it was fixed, he passed it and joined the department.

When he started, she said, there was sometimes conflict with white people as he would start to give them first aid. 

He was president of the firefighters union for a year before he suffered an aortic aneurysm on the job at the end of 2001 and retired the following year.

North Chicago Fire Chief Dell Urban said that Miller never talked about any problems in the firehouse he may have had when joining the department on Oct. 1, 1975.

Miller received a number of certificates and licenses during his years on the force, including Firefighter I and II designations, medical technician, and then paramedic, and he was a hazardous materials technician. He assisted on several major fires over the years, including a fire at the North Chicago Wire Mill in the early 1980s and an explosion at the Traco Inc. chemical plant in June 1988.

He also received special commendations during his career, including one for rescuing two children from a house fire in 1995, Urban said. 

Tags: , , ,

North Chicago Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

In an emotional ceremony Monday in North Chicago, Flight for Life officials credited the North Chicago Fire Department with the organization’s most dramatic rescue effort in 2015, honoring local first-responders police officers and firefighters for saving the life of a Chicago woman last autumn.

The 22nd annual Scene Call of the Year Award for 2015 was presented to the firefighting paramedic team of Cmdr. Joshua Rickabaugh, Cmdr. Joshua Monroe and firefighters Danny Roark, Joseph Hernandez and Joseph Schimanski.

Nicole Wood of Chicago, was a passenger in a BMW SUV that crashed into a gravel truck on Route 41 south of Route 137 on Sept. 21. The SUV’s driver was not seriously hurt, but Wood was trapped in the twisted metal of the wreckage, crushed beneath the truck.

Rescue personnel said they went through virtually every extrication tool in their trucks in an effort to free the critically injured, unconscious woman. Route 41 was blocked off to create a landing zone for the helicopter.

“We knew (the victim) had multi-system trauma, and it was important to get her out quickly,” Rickabaugh said, but he added that “with the complexities of the extrication, it took us one hour and 20 minutes,” with the norm being 20 to 40 minutes.

North Chicago officials stressed the mutual aid and invaluable assistance to the call by personnel from Naval Station Great Lakes, Knollwood, Libertyville, the North Chicago Police Department, North Chicago Police dispatch, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, and Flight For Life.

North Chicago Fire Chief Dell Urban said after the ceremony that “this was the call of a lifetime, an extraordinary accident. Several chiefs on location said they’d never seen anything like this, in terms of the lengthy extrication.”

Of some 1,000 calls a year that Flight for Life responds to, only a handful are considered by a panel of judges, based on guidelines for using air medical transport. The submissions were examined for scene safety, triage decisions, critical thinking, complex planning and accident scene management, integration of the helicopter into the call, and use of skills that went beyond the call of duty to treat the patient.

thanks Dan

Tags: , , ,

North Chicago Fire Chief Dell Urban

Excerpts from the

Twenty-five years ago, Firefighter Dell Urban’s greatest challenge in sharing the all-male quarters at the North Chicago Fire Department was simply getting enough sleep.

Urban, then a 22-year-old rookie, [said] the men’s snoring … drove her onto a couch in the station kitchen.

Fast forward to June 2012, when the North Chicago City Council appointed Urban to lead the department, making her the first female municipal fire chief in Lake County, and the fourth in Illinois.

Urban, 46, is one of two female fire chiefs in Illinois. The other, Tracy Kenny in Broadview, was appointed Monday night.

A year after graduating from Warren Township High School in 1987, Urban said she lacked direction until her brother, Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy Lonnie Urban, urged her to volunteer at the Newport Fire Protection District.

At Newport, she said, “They gave you a pair of boots and a coat and said ‘Here’s your gear. Welcome aboard. Now go fight a fire.’ “Since I went on my very first call as a volunteer, I thought ‘This is phenomenal.’ I (then) began my paramedic training, and I don’t think I’ve ever looked back.”

She was hired at North Chicago in November 1991.

“I was just thrilled I got on at North Chicago,” she said. “The majority of the guys were super. We had no issues.”

As chief, she oversees a department of 34 full-time personnel and one paid-on-call firefighter/paramedic. With an annual budget of $3 million, Urban takes pride showing off the department’s $775,000 ladder truck, $400,000 pumper and three ambulances, which run about $160,000 apiece.

She’s equally proud of upgrades at the main station by firefighters who installed cabinets in the spacious kitchen, chest-high partitions in the sleeping quarters and display cabinets in the station entranceway.

“Although it’s hard work and different work, I think I’m better suited now in this position to do administrative work and get the guys the tools, equipment and training they need to do the job,” she said.

Retired North Chicago fire Cmdr. Doug Henderson, whose son, Brian is a fourth-generation firefighter working for North Chicago, said that Urban “was aggressive and did her job. Even if she was tired, she went all the way till the job was done. Nobody can take anything away from her as far as her firefighting ability or being a paramedic.”

“At the end of the day, I still feel like I’m one of the guys,” Urban said. “I grew up with half of them. I’m taking care of them, and they take care of me, too.”

thanks Dan

Tags: , ,

North Chicago Fire Department receives state grant

The Lake-County News Sun has an article about the North Chicago Fire Department receiving a grant for new air packs:

The North Chicago Fire Department has been selected to receive a grant from the Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office in the amount of $26,000. Officials said the funds will assist in the purchase 30 new self-contained breathing apparatus units.

In the world of firefighting, the equipment is essential when entering hazardous atmospheres to control fire quickly and prevent loss of life, according to North Chicago Fire Chief Dell Urban. The equipment includes cylinders, harnesses and face masks that feature heads-up displays and rapid intervention crew universal air connections.

These funds provide a benefit outside of the city as well, because the North Chicago Fire Department shares district borders with the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center and Naval Station Great Lakes. The North Chicago Fire Department is also dedicated to responding alongside neighboring communities through its commitment to the Northern Illinois Mutual Aid Box Agreement System.

“I am sincerely excited for this opportunity, which affords our firefighters the fundamental and critical equipment we use on a daily basis,” Urban said. “This state-of-the-art protective gear gives us the ability to safely perform aggressive interior attacks, accomplish rescues of trapped and injured occupants, and provide protection from the obvious hazards of firefighting.”


Tags: , , , , , ,

North Chicago FD updates

The Lake County News-Sun has an article about the North Chicago Fire Department receiving approval for a new ambulance.

Dell Urban, the first full-time female career fire chief in Lake County, was formally appointed to the post in August 2012. … the council voted this week to unanimously approve requests, including a new ambulance and an increase in the department’s number of lieutenants from six to seven … When Urban, 44, took over the department which hired her in 1991 as its first female firefighter paramedic, her crew numbered 25. By next month, sworn officers will total 34.

Urban on Monday, Oct. 7, asked [for] and received a reversal on a 2011 council decision to decrease by one the number of department lieutenants which, she said, caused an imbalance of command staff on work shifts. “Now we’ll have a shift commander, lieutenant and nine paramedic/firefighters on each shift,” she said.

The increase in personnel came after the department, under Urban, landed $832,741 in Federal Emergency Management Agency funds to hire six trained “front-line” firefighters. The grant pays the first two years of salary for the new hires.

Urban is also psyched about the approval for the purchase of a new, $140,000 [ambulance], a replacement for one of the department’s three.

The council also approved, … a tentative intergovernmental agreement that will allow the department to bill for mutual aid ambulance calls. The agreement, which must also be approved by participating departments in Gurnee, Waukegan, Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, Winthrop Harbor, Zion, and the Newport and Beach Park fire protection districts, will allow for billing at the home community’s rate. In North Chicago, that’s $400 for basic first aid service and $900 …  for advanced life support


Tags: , , , ,