Posts Tagged South Elgin and Countryside Fire Protection District

South Elgin and Countryside Fire Protection District news (more)

Excerpts from the DailyHerald.com:

A year after voters endorsed the plan, the South Elgin and Countryside Fire Protection District held a groundbreaking ceremony to build two new stations, one to replace the current headquarters. The ceremony took place Monday morning at the site of the future station at 498 South Elgin Blvd. The other station will be built at 1090 Spring St. The 24-square-mile district also has a fire station at 2055 McDonald Road. The new locations will improve response times and provide equal coverage throughout the district.

Groundwork is expected to start within the next couple of weeks at the Spring Street location, followed shortly after by the South Elgin Boulevard location. Both stations are expected to be done in about a year. 

The district plans to sell the station at 150 W. State St., likely to the village. 

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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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South Elgin and Countryside Fire Protection District news (more)

Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

With two new fire stations and a tax rate hike to operate them now approved by South Elgin and Countryside Fire Protection District voters, it might be a year before the first new station is ready to open, said Assistant Fire Chief Mike Rothecker.

When the second new station opens will depend on the construction management firm’s direction.

The fire district command staff is meeting weekly to start firming up plans and has started preliminary meetings with South Elgin’s development staff to get preliminary applications to the village.

There are two properties set for the new stations — one at 1090 Spring St. for the village’s central area and another on the 499 South Elgin Blvd. on the village’s east side. The third station, at 2055 McDonald Road, opened in 2000. Of the new stations, the east side station will be opened first.

The board will pick the construction firm that gives them the best timeline and cost outlines.  Once plans are finalized, construction could start late this summer, with the east side station ready to open in spring or early summer 2019. Depending on advice from their construction management firm, the second new station might not open until 2020.

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New ambulance for South Elgin & Countryside FPD

From the Foster Coach Sales Facebook page:

Brand new custom Horton conversion on a Ford F550 chassis

new ambulance for the South Elgin & Countryside FPD

new ambulance for the South Elgin & Countryside FPD. Foster Coach Sales photo

new ambulance for the South Elgin & Countryside FPD

Foster Coach Sales photo

new ambulance for the South Elgin & Countryside FPD

Foster Coach Sales photo

interior of new ambulance

Foster Coach Sales photo

chevron striping on back of ambulance

Foster Coach Sales photo

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South Elgin and Countryside Fire Protection District news (more)

Excerpts from the DailyHerald.com:

South Elgin and Countryside Fire Protection District voters Tuesday approved borrowing $10 million to build two new fire stations. They also agreed to increase taxes to pay for more staff and equipment.

Voters faced two referendum questions — one asking permission to borrow money and the other seeking a hike in the fire district property tax levy to create an emergency and rescue fund to pay for additional firefighters and equipment.

With all 23 precincts reporting, 2,139 voted in favor of the tax increase and 1,479 against; 2,177 voted in favor of borrowing money and 1,401 voted against, in unofficial vote totals.

The building loan will increase the tax bill by $62.58 a year for a home valued at $200,000, according to district officials. The emergency/rescue fund tax will add another $66.67 to that home’s tax bill.

The 24-square-mile district has fire stations at 150 W. State St. and 2055 McDonald Road, and employs 30 full-time firefighters/paramedics and 10 part-timers.

The two new stations will be built at 498 South Elgin Blvd. and at 1090 Spring St. The latter will replace the State Street station in downtown South Elgin that also houses the district’s administrative offices.

The district would hire at least nine more full-time firefighters and more part-timers.

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South Elgin and Countryside Fire Protection District news

Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

At the age of 64, Bill Sohn wasn’t ready to retire from the South Elgin and Countryside Fire Protection District, but the 42-year department veteran said recent health problems have made it time for him to move on after four years as chief. In recognition of that service, Sohn was honored Friday with a traditional fire department walk out ceremony complete with uniform review. 

Former chiefs of police, retired firefighters, current and retired office staff, area fire chiefs and the department’s firefighters and staff turned out for the event. Sohn shook every hand and even a hugged a few people who lined up for the formal uniform review. The walk out ended with the final tones coming over dispatch radio.

Sohn started with the South Elgin department as a part-timer in 1976, and was one of the first three full-time employees in 1979.

It was important to Steve Wascher, the new fire chief, that Sohn be saluted for his years with the department with a ritual that hasn’t been done at South Elgin in several years.  Sohn officially retired March 9, and Wascher was sworn in March 10. Wascher is also a long-time South Elgin firefighter. He’s been with the department for 25 years.

While he had cousins who were firefighters, he hadn’t thought about the work as a profession until he ran into Elgin Firefighter Mike Oine, whose own father was the South Elgin chief. Oine told Wascher he should apply, and by the time he got back to his summer job at his family’s appliance store, there was a message from the chief waiting on his desk.

South Elgin is seeking voter approval to sell $10 million in bonds to allow the department to replace its aging fire house at 150 State St. with two new stations. If approved by voters Tuesday, one station would be built on Spring Street on the west side of the Fox River and the other on South Elgin Boulevard, east of the river.

Another ballot question voters to approve a .10-percent tax levy increase to fund operations at those two locations. If approved, taxes would increase $33 on a home valued at $100,000.

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South Elgin and Countryside Fire Protection District news

Excerpts from the DailyHerald.com:

The South Elgin and Countryside Fire Protection District is asking voters March 20 to approve two tax increases to build and equip two fire stations. The first referendum entails borrowing $10 million for building, including a station on the far East Side. The second question asks for a 0.1 percent increase to the fire district levy to pay for equipment and a minimum of nine more full-time firefighters.

For a taxpayer with a $200,000 home the combined increase is $129.25 yearly. Those who claim a homeowner’s exemption would pay slightly less, according to a consulting firm. The district hasn’t had a referendum since 1998, which was successful and addressed staffing needs.The 24-square-mile district employs 30 full-time firefighters/paramedics and part-timers who last year responded to 2,900 calls, 70 percent of which were for emergency services. Part of the plan would be to relocate the existing station on State Street, which is 60 years old and has structural problems that need addressing. That station, adjacent to the village hall, could be sold to the village.

District officials have said the new stations and manpower are needed to deal with future growth, some of it already in the works. Under the plan, the district’s three fire stations would be well-positioned to each cover about one-third of the territory. A new far East Side station could handle multiple new commercial and residential construction projects.

While the overall price might seem steep, the extra $10.77 per month seems reasonable. More strategically located stations will mean quicker response times. When one considers the district also has a hazardous materials response team and a dive rescue team, it’s money well spent. We recommend a yes vote.

thanks Dan

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South Elgin and Countryside Fire Protection District news

Excerpts from the DailyHerald.com:

The South Elgin and Countryside Fire Protection District held an open house Thursday about two referendum questions on the March 20 election ballot. 

One referendum question asks permission to borrow $10 million to build two new fire stations. That would result in an estimated $62.58 annual property tax increase for a home with a $200,000 market value.

The other question asks for a 0.1 percent increase to the fire district levy — technically to create a new emergency and rescue fund — to pay for additional firefighters and equipment. That would result in an estimated $66.67 annual property tax increase for a home with a $200,000 market value.

Those who claim homeowners’ exemptions would pay slightly less. The fire district levy represents about 4.5 percent of property tax bills, with an additional 0.6 percent for firefighters’ pensions.

The 24-square-mile district has two stations, employs 30 full-time firefighters/paramedics and 10 part-timers who last year responded to 2,900 calls — 70 percent for emergency medical services. That’s up from 2,600 calls five years ago.

The plan is to build two new stations, one at 498 South Elgin Blvd. and one at 1090 Spring St., the latter to replace an aging station that also houses administrative offices. The district would hire at least nine more full-time firefighters and more part-timers.

The village anticipates more residential and commercial development on the far east side, including townhouses, a memory care facility and possibly grocery stores. Under the plan, the three fire stations would be well-positioned to each cover about a third of the district.

The fire district has owned the property on South Elgin Boulevard for years; it bought the Spring Street property for $350,000 in December after the price dropped considerably.

If the plan moves forward, the vacated station on State Street, adjacent to village hall, would likely be sold to the village. 

thanks Dan

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South Elgin FPD to evaluate old fire station (more)

Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

The South Elgin and Countryside Fire Protection District board swore in Jeff Theriault as its newest trustee in a special meeting Wednesday night, then proceeded to give Theriault a crash course in fire district budgets.

At the request of Fire Chief Bill Sohn, board member — and former South Elgin Fire Chief — Joe Cluchey provided much of the budgeting background information for the newest board member. The fire district had been without one board member — a county appointment — for more than a year.

He warned Theriault — a Schaumburg police detective who lives in South Elgin — that it will take at least a year of the monthly board meetings to completely understand the department’s budget and funding mechanisms.

Asst. Chief Steve Wascher presented the 2016-17 budget proposal. The district’s fiscal year begins June 1.

Total estimated income for the district for next year sits at $6.4 million — with the bulk coming from property taxes — with a capital expense budget of $4.1 million. The remainder of income goes toward personnel costs.

The district also has about $2 million in its building fund contingency — set aside for future replacement of the fire station at 150 State St. Sarah Dring, of Chicago-based 222 Architects, said last fall that basic fixes and remodeling for the building could reach $1.4 million. Current estimates put the station’s replacement cost at a minimum of $5 million, Wascher said.

In 2000, the district built the station in the Thornwood subdivision on Bowes Road for $2.5 million.

Although the old fire station is in poor shape, the budget does call for $50,000 toward redoing the concrete apron outside the north side of the fire bay doors. The area is sinking into the ground, causing unsafe conditions for firefighters and the public.

South Elgin fire is also waiting to see if it will receive a $400,000 federal grant to upgrade its radio system to StarCom, the satellite-based radio system used by Elgin police and fire. The South Elgin and Countryside fire district is dispatched through the Elgin 911 Center.

That grant, if approved, would provide the infrastructure, radios and base stations needed by South Elgin, Wascher said.

The board also approved some land acquisition from the Fox River and Countryside Fire Protection District.

A few parcels including the Five Islands Park subdivision just south of Vasa Park, a sliver of land in the Thornwood subdivision, and 20 or 30 lots in the Lafarge Fox River Quarry backing up to Randall Road. Those lots are now part of the quarry’s water retention area on the far west side of the property and are only accessible through the quarry or by rappelling down the side of the quarry.

Those parcels were improperly recorded in the late 1970s, Sohn said. Transferring the land into South Elgin brings about $4,000 more in annual taxes to the district, he said.

thanks Dennis

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Fire district and community college discuss trading an ambulance for class time

Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

The South Elgin and Countryside Fire Protection District has an ambulance it isn’t using and is looking to sell.

The Elgin Community College’s Public Safety Training Center, now under construction near Burlington off Plank Road, would like to have an ambulance for training emergency medical technicians and others how to work in real-world conditions.

Now, the two sides are looking at whether or not the South Elgin fire district can donate the ambulance to the college. The fire district board has expressed interest in the trade but wants something for the taxpayers in return, said Fire Chief Bill Sohn.

The ambulance still has some value, Sohn said. He has gotten estimates that the ambulance is worth $5,000 to $9,000.

There have been preliminary discussions between representatives from the college, the Elgin Community College Foundation and the fire board.

A former firefighter paramedic, Dan Walter, one of the foundation board members said he remembers classes in emergency rooms and classrooms in the 1970s but rarely getting time working in an actual ambulance. The Elgin Community College paramedic program often borrows ambulances from other departments in the district but does not have one available for use.

As it is now, there is no location at the college to store an ambulance, said Carl DeCarlo, director of the fire science program at ECC. That will change when the public safety center opens.

The 18,300-square-foot academic building is set to open in spring or early summer 2016. It includes an 11,900-square-foot apparatus building, including classrooms and two bays for training on fire and police equipment, a three-story burn tower used for simulating residential and commercial fires, and other training amenities.

Sohn suggested that if the school would waive some rental time on the training tower — while still having the fire district pay the instructor — that would be a win-win for taxpayers in the fire and college district.

An area veterinarian has also shown interest in the ambulance, Sohn said.

“I would rather get it for the use at ECC,” said fire board trustee Joe Cluchey. But the fire district also needs to make sure taxpayers are getting fair market value out of the deal.

The Elgin Community College representatives said they would bring the proposal back to officials at the school.

The board also approved the 2015 tax levy of $5.7 million. The levy represents a 1.7 percent increase over the previous levy, said Steve Wascher, assistant fire chief.

thanks Dan

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