Posts Tagged West Dundee Fire Department

West Dundee Fire Department news

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West Dundee is searching for a new fire chief after a potential deal to share the leadership position with a neighboring entity fell through. The village board recently approved a $19,250 contract with GovHR USA to help find a replacement for Chief Randy Freise when he retires in the next two to three months. Initiating the recruitment process is a change of plans for West Dundee officials, who had been working toward a joint fire management services agreement with the Rutland-Dundee Fire Protection District.

The intent was to have Rutland-Dundee Chief Richard Thomas take over the leadership of both departments after Freise’s departure. He announced his retirement in August 2018, but agreed to stay on until negotiations were finalized. But before a deal was reached, Rutland-Dundee officials informed West Dundee in late September that they were no longer interested in pursuing the shared chief option — a decision made largely out of concern that Thomas would be spread too thin.

The recruitment process is expected to take 60 to 90 days. It will include an initial review of applications and a first round of interviews before narrowing the pool to three or four finalists. The final candidates would then be interviewed by village staff members and trustees. The job posting lists the position’s annual salary at $102,000 to $124,000, depending on qualifications.

Starting in 2017, Freise also spent two years overseeing both West Dundee and the East Dundee and Countryside Fire Protection District as part of their ongoing consolidation efforts. East Dundee fire board members eventually decided to terminate the agreement for budgetary reasons.

The two departments, as well as Rutland-Dundee and Carpentersville, have taken strides the past several years to share resources, unify training programs and standardize operations.

thanks Ron

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West Dundee Fire Department & East Dundee and Countryside Fire Protection District news (more)

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West Dundee is forging ahead with efforts to consolidate local fire departments. Trustees voted 4-1 to continue discussing a possible intergovernmental agreement with the Rutland-Dundee Fire Protection District that would have both departments working under one management team.

Monday’s discussion follows on the heels of the East Dundee and Countryside Fire Protection District’s decision to terminate an intergovernmental agreement with West Dundee that was approved in 2016 and had West Dundee Fire Chief Randy Freise taking the helm of both departments which began Jan. 1, 2017.

The agreement called for the cost of the chief position to be shared equally by each village. In terms of hierarchy, the East Dundee Fire Protection District’s deputy chief began reporting to Freise, and Freise reported to both the West Dundee village manager and the East Dundee Fire District board. West Dundee officials had hoped the two agencies could then work with Rutland-Dundee in coordinating joint fire management services.

But citing budget concerns, the East Dundee and Countryside Fire Protection District board voted in September to give 90 days notice of its intent to opt out of the agreement.

The proposed structure for the new joint fire management services concept would include utilizing the existing management staffs of the two departments, as well as the creation of a three-member board, with one member from Rutland-Dundee, one from West Dundee, and one to be agreed upon by the respective elected officials of both organizations, to serve as an oversight committee.

The chief and deputy chief would report directly to the board in regards to operations and day-to-day management issues, and the individual board members would report back to their respective full boards. West Dundee’s village manager would also serve as an ex-officio member to aid the fire staff in its day-to-day responsibilities.

The discussion does not exclude Carpentersville, which has been part of the effort in recent years to share resources and standardize operations. Carpentersville has expressed its desire to further evaluate the concept and leaders from both villages plan to meet in the coming weeks to discuss it.

Several West Dundee board members expressed their support for moving the concept forward for discussion.

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West Dundee Fire Department news

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A new ambulance for the West Dundee Fire Department will replace a 14-year-old ambulance with a well-documented history of mechanical problems. The lifespan of an ambulance is generally about a decade.

West Dundee was part of a class action lawsuit in 2009 against Ford for an alleged defective engine in the ambulance for which the village received some money back for repairs. Due to the numerous mechanical problems, Ford ultimately discontinued the 6.0-liter engine. In April 2017, about $5,000 was spent to fix the ambulance’s oil leaks. Village officials have also fielded patient complaints about the fumes and diesel smells coming from the rescue vehicle’s patient compartment.

While the going rate for ambulances is between $250,000 to $265,000, the new unit has a price of $199,000 by agreeing to let it be built as a demo unit. The price includes removal and reinstallation of the existing power load system.

Under the agreement, the 2019 ambulance can be used for demonstration purposes for approximately one month and at the conclusion West Dundee will purchase the vehicle. Officials will try to sell the 2005 ambulance on the open market. Delivery of the new ambulance is expected in January.

The fire department recently received a grant to outfit the ambulances with power cots and lift systems, as well as a Lucas Chest Compression System.

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West Dundee Fire Department news

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West Dundee firefighters on Wednesday rescued a man who became stranded without a paddle while kayaking on a portion of Fox River that was still closed by recent flooding.

Firefighters responded at 3:17 p.m. to West Dundee’s South End Park, where a 24-year-old man in a kayak had become stuck against a tree and wedged under a foot bridge.  When firefighters arrived, the man had lost his paddle and was struggling to break free from the tree.

Officials pulled the man and his kayak to a nearby shore and explained the river is still at flood stage and closed to recreational boaters.


Fire departments to share resources

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The Carpentersville, East Dundee, Rutland, and West Dundee fire departments have agreed to share expenses for equipment that will be used for incidents involving hazardous materials, water, and technical rescues, and special investigations in all four areas.

Rutland’s decommissioned squad will carry needed equipment and be housed at one of the Carpentersville fire stations.

“Carpentersville is firmly committed to the implementation of interdepartmental cooperation with the possible goal that at a future date we will merge the departments to provide economies of scale through better use of equipment, better use of staff, shared leadership and creative new ideas,” said Carpentersville Village President Ed Ritter.

According to West Dundee Fire Chief Randy Freise, Carpentersville Fire Chief John-Paul Schilling has offered to send personnel as needed for the special-incident teams and will coordinate with all other fire departments.

A committee of representatives from the four departments has met. Their plans include that initial crews from each department will respond to incidents, with the special-teams vehicle used as an additional resource for large incidents when needed,” said Freise.

This is an excellent way to combine resources for the betterment of the community. According to the agreement, the four fire departments involved will be sharing expenses associated with equipping, maintaining, insuring and storing the squad. It will remain titled in the name of Rutland-Dundee.

With smaller communities in the Rutland Dundee Township Fire Protection District like Sleepy Hollow struggling to make ends meet, this agreement could be the start of continuing partnerships with larger municipalities to provide shared services.

thanks Dan

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West Dundee Fire Department & East Dundee and Countryside Fire Protection District news (more)

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Two area fire departments are taking a positive step forward in their pursuit of a functional consolidation.

At Monday’s meeting, West Dundee trustees approved an intergovernmental agreement allowing the village to share the services of its fire prevention officer, Rick Paul, with the East Dundee and Countryside Fire Protection District. He will work three days a week in West Dundee and twice a week in East Dundee.

Per the agreement, he will remain an employee of West Dundee. The village will charge East Dundee $35 per hour to cover expenses such as insurance and vacation time. East Dundee will provide office space and a vehicle for the days Paul works in that village.

Paul served the Carpentersville Fire Department for more than 35 years will begin his new role Jan. 1.

The approval follows on the heels of an intergovernmental agreement reached in August which will have West Dundee Fire Chief Randy Freise taking the helm of both departments beginning Jan. 1.

“It is an effort to use our resources in the most cost-effective method while raising the bar for both departments,” he said. “West Dundee is offering the skills of an experienced fire inspector and East Dundee has some technological advances that would benefit West Dundee.”

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Fire departments consider sharing a fire chief

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Calling it a tremendous step toward the pursuit of functional consolidation, East and West Dundee fire departments will consider sharing a chief once the head of East Dundee’s department retires later this year. East Dundee Fire Chief Steve Schmitendorf is set to retire in December.

At Monday’s village board meeting, West Dundee officials approved executing an intergovernmental agreement with the East Dundee and Countryside Fire Protection District for joint management services. The measure now has to be approved by members of the East Dundee Fire Protection District board.

The East Dundee Fire District board met twice, once in April and again in May to discuss options for replacing Schmitendorf upon his retirement, West Dundee Fire Chief Randy Freise said in a memo to the West Dundee Village Board. Members were very interested in signing an intergovernmental agreement with West Dundee to have Freise take the helm of both departments.

At Monday’s West Dundee Village Board meeting, Freise went more in-depth as to what that consolidation would look like. He said a main advantage would be the cost savings realized by sharing a chief. East Dundee has proposed a salary of $125,000, including benefits, which would be shared 50/50, he said.

Freise would oversee both departments, with East Dundee’s fire deputy chief being directly responsible for East Dundee personnel. The deputy chief would report directly to Freise. Freise, in turn would continue to report directly to West Dundee Village Manager Joseph Cavallaro as well as the East Dundee Fire District Board.

Freise said the main goal will be to bring both departments together to function as one department, and other cost savings would come from sharing vehicles, training, and programs.

He added the agreement is very low risk due to an opt out clause that can be incorporated stating either party can terminate the agreement with a written 90-day notice.

Last December, citing nearly impossible hurdles at the state level, the Carpentersville Fire Department, East Dundee Fire Protection District and West Dundee Fire Department opted not to seek a legal consolidation.


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West Dundee firefighter frees deer from from ice

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A West Dundee resident reported a deer trapped in the ice on Thursday morning. West Dundee fire Lt. Dave Strossner arrived at the scene and found the animal trapped.

“The deer probably went out on the island, and when he walked back, he fell through,” Strossner said. “He was able to get his front feet on the ice but couldn’t get his back legs up.”

Strossner, in full gear, attempted to walk on the river toward the deer. “But when I got about 10 feet from him, the ice started breaking,” he said. Instead, Strossner began breaking up the ice in front of the deer. “It was thin enough that if I laid on it, I could break big chunks of ice, and enough broke away so the deer could free itself,” he said.

West Dundee fire officials have had to rescue a number of animals on the Fox River.

thanks Dan

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Fire department consolidation proves complex

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Citing nearly impossible legal hurdles at the state level, the Carpentersville Fire Department, East Dundee Fire Protection District and West Dundee Fire Department will not seek a complete consolidation at this time.

However, the fire chiefs do agree it should be a goal for the future. “It doesn’t mean we’re stopping and just not doing anything,” West Dundee Chief Randy Freise said. “We’re just not jumping in all at once. We’re breaking it down into smaller pieces.”

In November of 2014, members of the Carpentersville Village Board, East Dundee and Countryside Fire Protection District Board, and West Dundee Village Board shared the $30,908 expense to initiate the study by Emergency Services Consulting International. In October of this year, results from that in-depth study concluded consolidating fire services would make sense.

However, Freise said during a presentation at Monday’s board meeting, when the fire chiefs were tasked with analyzing the study and discussing the results with their respective boards “we came to the conclusion a complete legal consolidation at this time would be too difficult to do.”

Freise said a state law passed in the last year and a half requires more hurdles in order to make consolidations possible. “Now we have referendums and court appearances and all these different things we have to do in order to do this,” he said. “It kind of takes the decision away from the local boards and makes it much more difficult.”

They plan to keep working toward the ultimate goal of a potential full consolidation. That includes the possibility of forming work groups represented by members of each department and municipality and tasked with developing a regional approach to providing the best outcome, and a regional board that would include a fire chief from each of the respective towns and a trustee from that town to consider the recommendations of the work groups.

The fire chiefs are also meeting with Sen. Karen McConnaughay this month to discuss the roadblocks in state law considering consolidation, Freise said. “One of our goals is to meet with local legislators to make them aware the state is making it more difficult and to see if we can’t change the legislation and make it more streamlined,” he said.

Freise said in the last few weeks he has also heard from the Rutland-Dundee Township Fire Protection District chief who is interested in joining the conversation of a possible future consolidation. “A big piece of our regional puzzle that has been missing from the onset is participation of Rutland-Dundee Township Fire Protection District,” he said. “Through all of this we’ve continued to work closely with them and will most likely continue to do so in the future, no matter what it holds.”

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West Dundee will study options for consolidation of fire services with neighbors (more)

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The West Dundee and Carpentersville fire departments and the East Dundee Fire Protection District engaged in a cooperative services feasibility study with the goal to improve services while saving taxpayers’ money, West Dundee Fire Chief Randy Freise said.

The results of the study, which began in January, were presented to fire officials and their governing bodies Monday.

Kent Greene, of Oregon-based Emergency Services Consulting International, said the three entities already have worked well together in certain operational areas, such as sharing an automatic aid agreement. However, further and more formal methods of consolidating could save costs and expand services, he said.

The departments have three options: merge into a single fire department, maintain separate entities while combining some efforts, or decide to make no changes.

The study determined the departments are efficiently serving their intended areas with “very good response performances,” Greene said.

Merging the three departments, however, could streamline the use and efficiency of resources. The number of administrative and support positions, for example, wouldn’t change significantly. But instead of having three fire chiefs, they could allot resources to a training officer and an inspector — positions that currently don’t exist.

There are also ways to join efforts without becoming one entity, such as developing a pre-incident planning process used by all three departments so they have the same emergency strategies. They could also combine training and fire prevention education programs.

“I’m 100 percent behind some form of (consolidating), and they gave us a lot of things to think about,” East Dundee Fire Chief Steve Schmitendorf said.

Freise said fire officials had been discussing consolidation possibilities for years before deciding last year to conduct the study for $30,908, a cost that was split among the three entities.

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An in-depth study has concluded consolidating fire services makes sense.

Now, members of the Carpentersville Fire Department, East Dundee Fire Protection District and West Dundee Fire Department have to find out if elected officials and the community agree.

On Monday, Kent Greene, senior vice president with Emergency Services Consulting International, unveiled the results during two different presentations with the fire chiefs and emergency services employees.

“The study was not intended to be a merger study,” Greene said. “It was never our intention to come in and say, ‘Let’s take these departments and make them one.’ I don’t want anyone to think we came in to merge your organizations. It was more to give you the information you need to make changes in the future to help you work better.”

Already, the fire departments are served by QuadCom Regional Dispatch Center, the multi-agency dispatch center in Carpentersville that also covers East Dundee and Rutland Dundee Fire departments.

He said there are several options for even more cooperative efforts, including a functional consolidation, an operational consolidation, or a legal unification. Officials could also choose autonomy, where the fire districts stay as they are.

Greene noted a consolidation would not mean reducing personnel. He said the amount of firefighters for the combined 24.82 square miles the three departments serve is lower than the national and regional average.

However, he said rather than having three chiefs, positions can be reallocated. “You could fill positions that should be filled so services can still be delivered at the current or higher level without a significant cost increase.”

Other cooperative efforts include working together to adopt a shared capital replacement plan that adequately funds the purchase, replacement or rehabilitation of future apparatus, combine their administrative and support services, jointly purchase equipment and apparatus, and consolidate training programs.

Now, elected officials have to decide whether to authorize a continuing investigation into the cooperative efforts that may or may not result in the consolidation of the local fire departments.

thanks Dan

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