Posts Tagged Peoria FIre Department

Peoria Fire Department news

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The continued dwindling of tax revenue flowing into city coffers has prompted the Peoria city manager to put together a budget proposal that raises revenue through increased taxes and fees while lowering costs through cuts to close a projected $6 million deficit in the 2019 budget. Among those cuts currently under consideration are two fire trucks and 22 firefighters — a $2.2 million reduction in the Peoria Fire Department budget.

The department cut $1.1 million this year, including the elimination of some unfilled positions. If the proposed 2019 cuts pass, the result would be a 15 percent decline in manpower at the Peoria Fire Department during the past two years. Two classes of new firefighters hired and trained in 2018, under a plan to help diversify the department, would be laid off if the proposed cuts go through. The call load for firefighters has tripled and the variety of their training and responsibilities has significantly expanded in the last few decades, while the personnel at the Peoria Fire Department has remained relatively flat.

According to the president of the local firefighters union, Ryan Brady, lives will be at risk if budgets get balanced on the backs of his members.

“Fire doubles in size with every minute that goes by,” Brady said. “If you couple fire doubling in size with longer response times and less resources to respond, undoubtedly, you are putting citizens and firefighters at a greater risk and increasing property losses and injury.”

The Peoria Police Department, which has lost more than 50 officer positions over a span of time in which firefighters lost none, also faces cuts under the 2019 proposal, though the additional police losses appear to be covered by attrition.

Both departments, which represent the largest share of wages and pension payments covered by the city, are comparably staffed at about 200 employees apiece.

City officials often point to pension obligations as the top drain on city resources and an area in need of urgent reform. Brady, however, countered the city’s public safety pension costs are so high because of how long the accounts were underfunded.

“Approximately 25 years ago, the Peoria fire pension fund was effectively 90-plus percent funded,” Brady said. “However, due to the misappropriation of funding or lack of funding by previous mayors, city managers and councils, we are faced with dealing with the situation present day.”

A special meeting to discuss budget proposals is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday at City Hall. 

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Peoria Fire Department news

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The Peoria Fire Department is joining the fight against human sex trafficking in Central Illinois through new training. The Center for Prevention of Abuse in Peoria reports 80% of sex trafficking survivors in the Land of Lincoln are from Central Illinois, not Chicago. 

“The goal of this training is to help our firefighters recognize the signs of someone who may be a victim of sex trafficking.” explained Peoria Fire Chief Tony Ardis. Between paramedics, EMTs, and firefighters, his people go into hundreds of houses each day. He hopes this new training will allow them to recognize those signs and ensure people feel safe and protected. 

Joyce DeRenzy, Associate Executive Director, for the Peoria CPA outlines alarming statistics. “Since January, we’ve seen about 30 and those numbers are really high, but when we think about the number who aren’t reported, it’s really just the tip of the iceberg. Some of the indicators would be ‘does a person have freedom of movement?…Who’s in possession of their documents?” The signs are subtle, but training bridges the gap between them being ignored or mistaken.

Ardis highlighted how crucial it is that his department be trained to have multiple skill sets; that way they’re constantly meeting the needs of local families, at all levels. “Whether it’s recognizing signs of domestic violence or whether it’s sex trafficking, it is imperative that we’re trained in every aspect in the issues that we may face.”

The Center says the survivors they’re seeing here at home, range from the tender age of 12, all the way to age 62.

The Peoria Fire Dept’s training goes from September 23rd-26th at the Central Fire House. Center for Prevention of Abuse also hosts training session for community groups. For more information on how you can spot a potential victim of human trafficking, please visit their Facebook Page 

If you or someone you know may be at risk or vulnerable to human sex trafficking, please call 1-888-373-7888 for the National Human Trafficking Hotline. 

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Peoria Fire Department news

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City Hall and the union that represents Peoria firefighters are at odds over an ordinance that could change the way public safety employees are compensated after an injury.

At the crux of a lawsuit filed this week in Peoria County Circuit Court by the International Association of Firefighters Local 50 is the definition of a catastrophic injury. The city, in a June 12 ordinance, sought to define the term to cut down on abuse, according to a document issued to the council.

“While the General Assembly did not define ‘catastrophic injury’ in the legislation, they do allow cities to establish a procedure for reviewing these types of claims and providing some definition to catastrophic injury,” said City Manager Patrick Urich.“This ordinance provides that procedure for Peoria. The city believes catastrophic injury means being severely injured to the point of never being able to work again, in any field.”

The union, however, doesn’t see it that way and believes the city’s action is unlawful and blatantly wrong.

“The issue is, what the city of Peoria is doing is against the law. Every citizen should be concerned when a municipality decides they are going to ignore the rule of law and create their own law,”  said the union’s attorney, Jerry Marzullo.

Under the Illinois Public Safety Employees Benefit Act, a firefighter or a police officer who is injured so severely that they can’t continue could have a change in their benefits if they are awarded a line of duty disability benefit from a pension board. Such a benefit covers health care costs and other issues. 

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Peoria Fire Department news

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The quarterly financial report at Tuesday’s Peoria City Council meeting turned into a call for further cuts at city hall. City Manager Patrick Urich told council members that the city was in danger of not being able to put $2 million back into the city’s general fund, a move needed to ensure the city has the liquidity it needs to get good rates when it gets bonds in the future. Revenue wasn’t flowing in as the city expected in the first quarter.

The fire department, already down 10 positions, is burning through its overtime budget at a rapid rate. Fire Chief Ed Olehy told council members that the department has already used up 90 percent of what was allocated for overtime. Olehy outlined cutback plans that the department has under consideration. If all 10 slots were filled, it would take nine weeks to get them on the street. 

Urich said he plans to come back to the council at the June 26 meeting with a $3.5 million reduction plan — one that would enable the city to shift $1.5 million to the fire department and $2 million to the general fund.

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Peoria Fire Department news (more)

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34-year-old Peoria Firefighter Nick Riordan was diagnosed with Neuroendocrine Cancer Stage IV last summer and it spread to his liver. Peoria firefighters say he died Tuesday afternoon from the illness.

Riordan’s Facebook page is now filling up with condolences to his family. He is survived by his wife Sarah and his three children. The youngest child was born around the time he started chemotherapy. Riordan said his strength came from his family and friends. 

Peoria firefighters are planning a fundraiser for the family this Saturday at Knights of Columbus, 7403 N. Radnor Rd in Peoria. The fundraiser is $15 dollars and includes dinner and live music.

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Peoria Fire Department news

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Peoria Fire Chief Chuck Lauss will leave the position of chief effective January 31st. In the short term, he will help his daughter work on her house in Portland, Oregon. Long term, the 58-year-old intends to look for employment in emergency service outside the central Illinois area. He has been chief in Peoria for two years. Prior to that, he headed Caterpillar’s fire department for five years, and preceding that was fire chief for seven years in Pekin. City manager Patrick Urich is responsible for naming a replacement. Current Assistant Chief Ed Olehy is an expected candidate for the job.

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Peoria Fire Department news

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Nick Riordan had a smile on his face as he watched the dozens upon dozens of people fill the Knights of Columbus hall on Wednesday to help raise money for him.

To those who know him, Riordan, a 3 1/2-year veteran of the Peoria Fire Department, would do nothing else than smile. Not even a possibly life-threatening diagnosis of neuroendocrine carcinoma got him down, say his buddies on the department.

For weeks, firefighters have worn bracelets for Riordan. Some even shaved their heads to show solidarity with the father of three who is undergoing chemotherapy to combat the stage 4 cancer. He was initially given months to live but his wife, Sarah Riordan, who was holding their 1-month-old daughter, said they had gone to a doctor in Denver and had gotten some encouraging news. Still, it’s an uphill battle with the medical bills, the time off work and just the stress for Nick Riordan, whose children are still too young to understand completely what is going on. “They just know Daddy’s sick and taking medicine to get well,” he said.

The firefighter-paramedic learned of the cancer in May when he went to the doctor for stomach pain. He thought it was a gall bladder issue.

People filled the social hall, wolfing down plates of food donated by area businesses. Others bid on one of the items on nearly a dozen tables in a silent auction. A woman who won a share of the 50-50 raffle donated her portion back to Riordan. 

Riordan said he’s taking things day by day. He’s hopeful the chemo will work. He paused and smiled as people came up to him and wished him well. His friend Lindholm has already told him he’ll get through it.

A GoFundMe page called “Relief for the Riordans” has been set up for the family.

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Area apparatus orders

From Fire Apparatus Magazine –

E-ONE-Aurora Fire Department, two top-mount pumpers. Cyclone cabs and chassis; Cummins ISL 330-hp engines; Hale Qmax 1,500-gpm pumps; UPF Poly 780-gallon tanks; 50-gallon foam cells; Akron foam eductor foam systems. Sold by Greg Hansen, Fire Service, Inc., Naperville, IL. Delivery in November.

E-ONE-Bloomington Fire Department eMAX rescue-pumper. Quest severe-duty cab and chassis; Cummins ISL9 450-hp engine; UPF Poly 750-gallon tank; “Bloomington” low hosebed; Onan 6-kW generator; Command Light KL415 light tower; Whelen warning and scene lighting. Sold by Craig Hamrick, Banner Fire Equipment, Roxana, IL. Delivery in December.

E-ONE-Buffalo Grove Fire Department pumper. Typhoon cab and chassis; Cummins ISL 450-hp engine; Hale Qmax 2,000-gpm pump; UPF Poly 780-gallon tank; Will-Burt Night Scan Chief NS1.8 light tower; Smart Power 6-kW generator. Sold by Greg Hansen, Fire Service, Inc., Naperville, IL. Delivery in December.

E-ONE-Buffalo Grove Fire Department 78-foot aerial quint. Cyclone II cab and chassis; Cummins ISX12 500-hp engine; Hale Qmax 2,000-gapm pump; UPF Poly 400-gallon tank; Smart Power 10-kW generator; two hydraulic cord reels with Holmatro CORE Technology™ hose. Sold by Greg Hansen, Fire Service, Inc., Naperville, IL. Delivery in December.

Pierce-Clarendon Hills Fire Department heavy-duty rescue. Enforcer cab and chassis; Cummins ISL9 450-hp engine; 15-foot walk-around rescue body; Will-Burt Pow X NS6.0 light tower; Harrison 20-kW generator. Sold by John Kenna, Global Emergency Products, Aurora, IL. Delivery in July 2017.

E-ONE-Gurnee Fire Department 95-foot rear-mount platform quint. Cyclone II cab and chassis; Cummins ISX 500-hp engine; Hale Qmax 1,500-gpm pump; UPF 300-gallon tank; 20-gallon foam cell; FoamPro single-agent foam system. Sold by Andrew DiVerde, Fire Service, Inc., Naperville, IL. Delivery in February 2017.

E-ONE-Gurnee Fire Department heavy-duty rescue. Typhoon cab and chassis; Cummins ISL 380-hp engine; 20-foot walk-around rescue body; Will-Burt LED light tower; SpaceSaver cascade system and fill station; ladder tunnel for ground ladders. Sold by Andrew DiVerde, Fire Service, Inc., Naperville, IL. Delivery in May 2017.

Alexis-Fox Lake Fire Protection District, Ingleside, pumper. Spartan Metro Star cab and chassis; Cummins ISL9 450-hp engine; Hale Qmax 1,500-gpm pump; Pro Poly 1,000-gallon polypropylene tank; Will-Burt Night Scan 5.4 light tower; Smart Power 10-kW generator. Sold by K. Jeffrey Morris, Alexis Fire Equipment, Alexis, IL. Delivery in May 2017.

E-ONE-Long Grove Fire Protection District pumper. Typhoon cab and chassis; Cummins ISL 450-hp engine; Hale Qmax 2,000-gpm pump; UPF Poly 780-gallon tank; 50-gallon foam cell; FoamPro 2001 single-agent foam system; Will-Burt night Scan Chief NS1.8 light tower; Smart Power 10-kW generator; stainless steel pumper body; SpaceSaver SCBA fill station; four-bottle cascade system; Whelen LED scene lights. Sold by Greg Hanson, Fire Service, Inc., Naperville, IL. Delivery in July 2017.

E-ONE-Peoria Fire Department, two Extreme Duty pumpers. Typhoon cabs and chassis; Cummins ISL9 450-hp engines; Waterous CS 1,250-gpm pimps; UPF Poly 500-gallon tanks; three quarter side body with Zico ladder rack; Amdor roll-up compartment doors; Firetech Hiviz LED lighting. Sold by Craig Hamrick, Banner Fire Equipment, Roxana, IL. Delivery in June, 2017.

Pierce – Brookfield Fire Department PUC pumper. Enforcer cab and chassis; Cummins ISL9 450-hp engine; UPF Poly 500-gallon tank; 30-gallon foam cell; Pierce 1,500-gpm single-stage pump; Husky 3 Class B foam system; Harrison 10-kW generator. Sold by John Kenna, Global Emergency Products, Aurora, IL. Delivery in April 2017.

Pierce – Marengo Fire Protection District top-mount pumper. Enforcer cab and chassis; Cummins ISL9 380-hp engine; Waterous CSU 1,500-gpm pump; UPF Poly 1,000-gallon tank; Will-Burt Chief NS2.6 light tower. Sold by Tracie Madden, Global Emergency Products, Aurora, IL. Delivery in February 2017.

Pierce – Western Springs Fire Department pumper. Saber cab and chassis; Cummins ISL9 450-hp engine; Waterous CSU 1,500-gpm pump; UPF Poly 750-gallon tank. Sold by John Kenna, Global Emergency Products, Aurora, IL Delivery in March 2017.

thanks Josh

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East Peoria Fire Department news

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The East Peoria Fire Department now has four certified arson investigators on its staff; that’s twice the number of the Peoria Fire Department, a department five times its size.

“We’re happy to have our newest certified arson investigator and are comfortable with the staffing (number),” East Peoria Fire Chief Al Servis said Thursday. “It allows us to have an arson investigator on every shift.”

According to Assistant Chief John Knapp, the East Peoria Fire Department investigated 30 to 40 fires in 2015. Of those, 25-30 percent, or about nine or 10 fires, were suspected arson.

Firefighter Eric Duckworth completed the five-week Southwestern Illinois Police Academy’s Basic Arson Investigator Course at the Downers Grove Fire Department last week.

On July 5, the Peoria City Council will vote on a resolution classifying Duckworth as a peace officer for arson investigations. The designation gives Duckworth the same powers of arrest and search and seizure as a police officer, and authorizes him to carry a firearm while investigating arson or arson-related crimes. The tuition includes the 40-hour mandatory firearms training and certification.

“Illinois law allows local agencies to have arson investigators that are sworn peace officers. Their powers as a peace officer are restricted to when they are in the process of an active arson investigation,” said Jacquelyn Reineke, spokeswoman for the State Fire Marshal’s Office. “They cannot make traffic stops or any other police action outside of the scope of an arson investigation.”

Duckworth has been a member of the East Peoria Fire Department for 16 years and a fire investigator for seven years.

The department’s three other arson investigators — assistant chiefs Knapp and Rick Ward and firefighter Mike Menssen — are also designated peace officers. A fifth member of the department, Firefighter Tony Piraino, is a fire investigator, a designation and position that lacks the policing authority to carry a gun and arrest people.

In February, the city bestowed peace officer designation on one of its code enforcement officers, believed to be the first of its kind in Illinois. Like the arson investigator, the designation allows the code enforcement officer to arrest people and carry a firearm while on duty. The code officer was a retired East Peoria police officer and had already completed the firearms certification. City officials said at the time that it was a unique situation, and that the city wasn’t going to start sending or paying for its code enforcement officers to attend firearms training.

The Peoria Fire Department has two fire investigators and two fire inspectors. The department has more than 200 sworn firefighters and responded to more than 19,000 emergency calls last year. The East Peoria Fire Department has about 40 firefighters and responded to 3,737 calls in 2015.

thanks Dan

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Peoria Fire Department news

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The turf war between Advanced Medical Transport Inc. of Central Illinois and the Peoria Fire Department, dormant for many years, could be heating up again.

Nearly a decade ago, the two sparred over which entity would provide paramedic service and patient transport within the city limits. AMT reached an agreement with the city in which it was to pay $85,000, adjusted annually for inflation, for exclusive patient transport in Peoria. The agreement was modified in 2009 to allow the fire department to have three advanced life support engines.

Now the department wants a fourth ALS engine for House 19 on the city’s northwestern edge, which is near the new Louisville Slugger complex and The Shoppes at Grand Prairie. The cost is about $5,000. But [some] say … Peoria is fine with the services it has now.

Both Peoria Fire Chief Charles Lauss and Rick Waldron, president of Peoria Firefighters Union Local 50, said this is not an attempt to replace AMT

We have an agreement in place. … We cannot get into transport. There is a five-year notice that the Peoria Fire Department has to give to AMT to say we are getting into transport. We want to enhance our services and enhance what we are giving our community,” Lauss said.

Peoria firefighters can provide basic life support, and at present, only the three paramedics assigned to the ALS engines and AMT are at the ALS level. The union and the chief think adding a fourth ALS engine is a benefit for everyone and actually strengthens the relationship with AMT.

“We believe it is the best service possible for our citizens. It comes down to whether we get there first or AMT. As long as we get a medic there, that’s what counts,” said Waldron, who is a firefighter-paramedic.

But officials from AMT, a not-for-profit company that has provided ambulance service to the Peoria area for years, disagree. They say having too many paramedics can actually degrade services as there simply isn’t enough work to keep everyone proficient.

“Doing the best for the community isn’t doing everything, it’s doing the right things,” said Andrew Rand, AMT’s executive director.

He and others at AMT point to two letters written by the head of the Peoria Area Emergency Medical Services system last year addressing the so-called saturation of paramedics.

“Peoria currently has a paramedic saturation level of around 6.4 paramedics per 10,000 population, which is much higher than many other cities in the United States,” wrote Dr. Matthew Jackson last July in a letter to former Fire Chief Kent Tomblin. “It has been well studied and documented that increased paramedic saturation can actually lead to overall worse patient outcomes in key clinical situations such as cardiac arrest. The reasons for this primarily revolve around skills and knowledge degradation due to dilution of experience.”

Lauss disagrees and said the department’s 40-odd paramedics are well-trained.

“Our paramedics are getting all the training hours and the exposure that is required, for one thing. And even beyond that, a lot of these guys work for other agencies on their off days so they can practice some of those skills,” he said.


The request is pending before the PAEMS director and, after that, the City Council will likely take the idea up at a future meeting.

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