Posts Tagged the Red X program

Rockford Fire Department news

Excerpts from

Red X’s have been popping up on vacant homes all over Rockford as part of a new program by the fire department. The Red X program is designed as way to let firefighters know that the building has some structural weaknesses before going inside.

“The roof structure did collapse and narrowly missed some of our firefighters. That’s a situation where a sign like this would have warned our firefighters this building has some structural issues and would help drive our tactics a little bit more,” says Rockford Fire Department Division Chief Matt Knott.

The Red X also defines some of the buildings as being on a demolition list and helps neighbors keep an eye on what’s happening next door.

Emergency responders Firefighters say there haven’t been any fires in the marked buildings since the program started six months ago, which is something that doesn’t surprise Curtis.

Right now, there are more than 80 structures with the ink. The fire department hopes to have over 100 within the next two months.

Rockford currently has more than 4,000 vacant homes, though not all vacant homes qualify in the international fire code to have a red x.

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Chicago labels dangerous buildings with red ‘X’ (more)

WBEZ radio has an updated article about Chicago’s Red-X program for labeling dangerous buildings:

Earlier this year, Curious City reported on a small symbol with a big impact on Chicago’s built environment. Now we’ve got an update.

In June we brought you the story of Chicago’s red “X” — sturdy, metal signs that the Chicago Fire Department affixed to 1,804 vacant properties between June 2012 and July 2013. Not every vacant building received a sign, just those that could pose a hazard to firefighters and other first responders in the event of an emergency there.

Chicago firefighter Edward Stringer lost his life when a vacant laundromat collapsed during fire.

Since our story ran in June, several city officials have said they wanted to see the program continue. Ald. Debra Silverstein, who sponsored the original red “X” ordinance, told us she wanted to find more money for the program. At least since WBEZ first reported that the program had run out of money, Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford says they’ve been hunting “anywhere [they] can” for more grant funding. But now the department talks about the program in the past tense.  “We have not seen where any such money is readily available,” says Langford. “We did not get new funding and expanded the electronic side of the system to continue the awareness for first responders.”

The city affixed 1,804 red X signs to buildings deemed structurally unsound. The fire department won’t put up any new red “X” signs for now, Langford says, but it will continue to register dangerous and structurally unsound buildings in an electronic database called the CAD, or Computer Aided Dispatch system, administered by the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC).

Langford says the electronic system works like this: When dispatch is alerted of a fire at a specific address, they pull up information on that location using the OEMC database. Firefighters print out that information before they leave the firehouse, but it will also appear on firefighters’ mobile terminals on site — in red letters. So from the firefighter’s perspective, Langford says, the electronic information communicates the same information as the red “X” was designed to provide.

The electronic alert system is not dependent on grants, unlike the red “X” program, which was funded through a $675,000 award from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

… Langford says, the electronic database is enough. “The OEMC system allows us to achieve the goal of protecting firefighters,” Langford says, “without having to mark buildings.”

And just like the red “X” signs, the information communicated by the OEMC system isn’t meant to rule out entry for first responders, just to advise caution in certain circumstances.

thanks Dannis

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Chicago Red-X Program ran this article earlier this year explaining the Red-X initiative in Chicago:

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) –

Big red “X’s” have recently gone up on more than a thousand buildings across Chicago, prompting lots of questions.

Residents of the South Side Auburn Gresham neighborhood complained that no one has explained the meaning of the big red “X’s” and one result has been some very wacky rumors.

“Some people think, you know, it reminds them of Katrina, New Orleans after Katrina, and the amounts of deaths and properties,” says Carlos Nelson of the Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corp. “Other people have mentioned World War Two and the Nazis and how they labeled Jewish homeowners.”

“The first response that I heard, that everybody thought that all these “X’s” meant all these buildings were coming down,” says Rev. Michael Pfleger. “And there was a sense, ‘Well, there’s gonna be a ton of abandoned lots in the neighborhood! What does this mean? We’re seeing it all over our neighborhood.'”

FOX 32 News traced this “X”-estential mystery to deputy Chicago Fire Commander Rich Ford, who had a dozen of them in his trunk. He said they’re posted as a warning to firefighters and other first responders that the building is vacant and could collapse. They should not enter, unless they have specific evidence someone’s inside and in danger.

Borrowed from New York, the Red X program was a response to the deaths of two firefighters killed in 2011 when a vacant South Side building’s roof collapsed on them.

“Almost immediately, we started getting strange calls,” Ford adds.

The Chicago Fire Department’s Richard Ford said up to 1,800 dangerous buildings will be marked and so far, 1,222 have been. A few have been repaired and won’t be torn down.

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