Posts Tagged Winnetka Fire Chief Alan Berkowsky

Winnetka Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

Winnetka trustees have solidified an agreement between the village and the neighboring communities of Wilmette and Northfield that allows each community to make brief use of emergency equipment from the other town, while defining which community is responsible for equipment damaged while being used in that manner

According to Winnetka Fire Chief Alan Berkowsky, the village has had for several decades an unofficial agreement with Northfield and Glencoe, allowing each municipality to borrow pieces of equipment such as ambulances for short periods of time, usually a day or two, when necessary. The ability to do so has been beneficial to each community.

Discussions about making such agreements more official came up during recent meetings of members of MABAS Division 3.

The previous village council approved an initial resolution last October laying out the liability of communities borrowing Winnetka apparatus if the equipment was damaged while it was in their care. At that time, Wilmette asked to join the agreement. Officials in the other towns involved then asked for a reworked resolution that made equipment liability reciprocal. 

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World Series championship trophy visits Winnetka

This from Larry Shapiro:

The World Series championship trophy made a stop in Winnetka Saturday (12/10/16) as part of the Chicago Cubs Trophy Tour (#cubstrophytour). It was on display for photos in the apparatus bay of the fire station for employees of the police and fire departments with their families.

the World Series championship trophy tour

Larry Shapiro photo

people line up for a photo with the the World Series championship trophy

Larry Shapiro photo

the World Series championship trophy

Larry Shapiro photo

Winnetka police and fire chief and mayor with the World Series championship trophy.

Larry Shapiro photo

Firefighter and family with the the World Series championship trophy

Larry Shapiro photo

Winnetka fire chief and deputy chief with the the World Series championship trophy

Larry Shapiro photo

Firefighter and his father with the the World Series championship trophy

Larry Shapiro photo

fire department chaplain with the the World Series championship trophy

Larry Shapiro photo

Firefighter and family with the the World Series championship trophy

Larry Shapiro photo

a photo op with the the World Series championship trophy

Andy MacArthur photo

young girls with the World Series championship trophy.

Larry Shapiro photo

Winnetka police department personnel with the the World Series championship trophy

Larry Shapiro photo

Winnetka fire department personnel with the the World Series championship trophy

Larry Shapiro photo

dozens of people with their cell phones taking a photo

Larry Shapiro photo

Larry Shapiro with the World Series championship trophy.

John Ripka photo

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Winnetka looking for antique engine on July 4th

Attention Readers:

The Winnetka Fire Department is looking for a nice antique fire engine that could be included in our 4th of July Parade.


Alan J. Berkowsky, Fire Chief, Winnetka Fire Department


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Winnetka buys new engine

The Chicago Tribune has this article:

The Winnetka Village Council on Tuesday unanimously approved the purchase of a $568,722 fire engine, and an appreciative local resident stepped up and offered to pay for the new vehicle’s bell.

Winnetka Fire Chief Alan Berkowsky said the purchase of a 2015 pumper fire engine from the village’s sole bidder, Smeal Fire Apparatus Company, is needed to maintain a reliable fleet, as the fire department is retiring a fire engine purchased in 1996.

The village will save roughly $17,000 by using Smeal’s pre-payment option, Berkowsky said, and the fire engine’s price is also less than the $615,000 the fire department had budgeted for the purchase.

The new fire engine will be rotated with a fire engine the department purchased in 2000, while officials hope to sell the 1996 vehicle for roughly $30,000, Berkowsky said.

Stepping up following the council’s unanimous approval of the purchase of the fire engine, Winnetka resident John Roberts expressed his gratitude to the fire department, which he said recently assisted his family during an emergency at their home. “I’d like to provide a bell in honor of the Winnetka firefighters from the past present and future,” Roberts said. “We had an occasion for the fire department to visit, and they were overwhelmingly professional and courteous, and showed kindness and empathy,” said Roberts, who did not specify the amount of his donation, nor the cost of the fire bell.

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Winnetka looking to mandate sprinklers for commercial spaces

The Chicago Tribune has an article about a sprinkler initiative in Winnetka:

A proposed ordinance that would require commercial buildings in Winnetka to have fire sprinklers in the coming years is getting mixed reviews from local business leaders. Those in support of the plan say it’s a life safety issue, but opponents call it an unfunded mandate.

Winnetka Fire Chief Alan Berkowsky said officials mailed surveys over the summer to roughly 500 local business owners and landlords to gauge opinions of the proposed ordinance, which is slated to be discussed at the Nov. 11 village council meeting.

“The village’s downtown business district is in a rather unique situation because there is little or no separation between buildings,” Berkowsky said. “With no separation, the potential for the fire spreading is great,” Berkowsky added, noting a fire in February at a storefront restaurant in a historic building in downtown Mount Prospect, which quickly spread to adjacent businesses.

Some members of the village’s Business Community Development Commission also recently expressed their support for the proposed fire sprinkler ordinance.

Berkowsky said since the 1977 ordinance went into effect, many businesses have already installed fire sprinklers, including roughly 64 percent of those located in the village’s West Elm business district.

But landlord Glenn Weaver, who owns a 3,600 square-foot building in downtown Winnetka in the 500 block of Lincoln Avenue, said the change of use prompting the installation of fire sprinklers has already made it prohibitive for him to find tenants. “Because of the change of use ordinance requiring the installation of fire sprinklers, I’ve had space that has remained vacant for five years,” said Weaver, who said because a previous tenant’s business was considered a professional use, prospective retail businesses would have to install fire sprinklers. “These are scare tactics by the fire chief, who is suggesting that without fire sprinklers, the whole North Shore will blow up in a big fire,” said Weaver, who estimates he has already paid nearly $40,000 to install fire alarms and smoke detectors in his building.

Weaver also said he never received the fire department’s recent survey and questioned the distribution methods.

Berkowsky said officials attempted to mail the fire sprinkler ordinance survey to all the commercial businesses in town, and Winnetka business owners as well as landlords like Weaver also had the opportunity to express their opinions by taking an online survey.

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Fire departments share resources

The TribLocal has an article about the Winnetka Fire Department and the Northfield Fire Department entering into an agreement to share fire inspectors.

Winnetka’s two-person fire prevention bureau will begin providing fire inspections for the village of Northfield under an agreement between the two municipalities. Northfield officials approached Winnetka about providing services on a contractual basis after the village’s longtime, part-time employee recently retired.

At a quick glance it seemed to be a good fit,” said Winnetka Fire Chief Alan Berkowsky. “They had the same codes as us. They had pretty much the same ordinances. And of course their proximity is really close.”

Berkowsky said the agreement builds on an effort to save money by sharing services with nearby communities. Winnetka and Northfield already share fire and emergency medical dispatch with a number of other communities.

Berkowsky said Northfield is getting a “trusted, competent fire prevention bureau at a reasonable cost,” while Winnetka is getting a new revenue source.

The total annual fee to Winnetka will be $21,238, officials said.

Winnetka currently has two-part time inspectors, but one recently retired from the Glenview Fire Department, which will give him more time to devote to fire prevention, Berkowsky said. The work in Northfield is expected take up about 30 percent of the inspectors’ time, according to village documents.

The services include annual inspections of 143 structures in Northfield, responding to fire prevention related inquiries, witnessing system tests, attending special events and coordinating plan reviews.



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