Archive for November 7th, 2013

Prospect Heights MVA with entrapment 11-7-13

This from Larry Shapiro:

Prospect Heights had a three ambulance response to an MVA on Schoenbeck Road at Willow Road just before 6PM. They found a Nissan SUV on it’s side with two unbelted occupants precariously positioned inside. They removed the windshield and the rear tailgate to facilitate removal of the victims. Two were transported and the third ambulance was returned.

I arrived a bit late, just as they had finished removing the 2nd patient. Here are some shots of the scene and there are more on my site HERE.

rollover accident in Prospect Heights 11-7-13

The 2nd patient is removed from the car. Larry Shapiro photo

rollover accident in Prospect Heights 11-7-13

Packaging the patient for transport. Larry Shapiro photo

rollover accident in Prospect Heights 11-7-13

Cribbing to stabilize the vehicle. Larry Shapiro photo

rollover accident in Prospect Heights 11-7-13

An overall view of the scene. Larry Shapiro photo

rollover accident in Prospect Heights 11-7-13

The rear tailgate was removed for access to the patients. Larry Shapiro photo

rollover accident in Prospect Heights 11-7-13

The light tower on Squad 9 was deployed to illuminate the scene. Larry Shapiro photo

rollover accident in Prospect Heights 11-7-13

The tow operator pulls the car onto it’s wheels.Larry Shapiro photo

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New ambulance for Wilmington

This from Ron Wolkoff

Found this on Horton’s website.   It replaces a 2004 Horton/Ford F350

Ronald D Wolkoff
Wilmington Fire Department

New ambulance for Wilmington. Horton photo

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Dispatcher faulted for actions during drowning incident

The Chicago Tribune has an article about a Northwest Central dispatcher that was disciplined subsequent to an investigation into an incident from this past July in Arlington Heights.

A dispatcher who mishandled a 911 call from an elderly man as his car sank in a pond was on vacation weeks earlier when her boss requested that all dispatchers review water rescue protocols, officials said.

Henry Laseke, 89, drowned after driving his Cadillac into the pond next to his Arlington Heights home July 25. A recording of his 911 call showed the Northwest Central Dispatch worker who took the call did not advise him to try to get out of the sinking SUV, an apparent violation of the agency’s protocol.

The dispatcher, Dawn Brezwyn, was given a three-day suspension after an internal inquiry and received additional training, according to agency records and officials.

“Your actions exhibit a breakdown in performance along with not adhering to the (National Academies of Emergency Dispatch’s) Code of Ethics and Conduct,” Brezwyn’s disciplinary notice, dated Aug. 27, reads in part.

The inquiry found that Brezwyn repeatedly entered the wrong codes into the dispatch system — later telling investigators that she did not know the proper code, records show. She fumbled with a computer program and didn’t use resources that would have guided her in the call, according to the notice.

Brezwyn, who could not be reached for comment, also had not completed a review of water rescue protocols that had been requested of all dispatchers in late June.

Northwest Central’s executive director, Cindy Barbera-Brelle, acknowledged that supervisors did not track which dispatchers had completed the requested review, which included a practice call for someone in a sinking vehicle.

“It’s really an opportunity for the dispatcher just to refresh their memory,” she said.

After questions from the Tribune, agency officials confirmed late Tuesday that they have begun tracking the completion of self-training exercises.

Agency documents suggest that Brezwyn’s actions did not slow the response time, as other calls reporting the same emergency came in seconds earlier, summoning the police and fire departments.

Pat Dollard, assistant director of technical services, also noted that it was clear from the calls that a bystander had gone into the pond to try to rescue Laseke, “which makes it very probable that he would have been attentive to that person’s attempts at assistance and direction instead of the call.”

No one else at the dispatch agency was disciplined in the incident, officials said.

It marked the second time this year that disciplinary action was taken against Brezwyn, records show. In January, she received a written reprimand for failing to dispatch Rolling Meadows police to a medical call involving an unconscious man, though paramedics were called to the scene, records show. The man later died.

The agency has about 70 dispatchers who field, on average, more than 1,000 calls daily from 16 suburbs.

“(Brezwyn’s) missteps are not representative of the training that she received and the performance of other dispatchers,” Dollard said.

Arlington Heights officials said the village annually pays Northwest Central about $1 million to handle its calls, and there are no discussions about leaving the system.

“The center functions well 99 percent of the time. It is economically feasible for the municipalities and generally serves the public quite well,” said Village Manager Bill Dixon.

After returning from vacation, Brezwyn logged 76 on-the-job hours before taking the call from Laseke. Though she initially told agency officials during the inquiry that she didn’t recall the self-training request, records show, she also said she had been too busy during those shifts to complete the training exercises.

After Laseke’s death, all Northwest Central dispatchers were required to complete a full review of protocols for less-common but high-risk incidents, including water rescues, and this month they will attend a class on the computer system that helps guide 911 calls.

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CFD overtime drives push for new exam (more)

An article in the Chicago Sun-Times now addresses overtime costs by the fire department with alderman grilling CFD Fire Commissioner Santiago.

The Chicago Fire Department will spend $43 million on overtime this year — more than double the amount authorized — because of “legal issues” tied to past discrimination lawsuits that prevented the department from hiring firefighters, a top mayoral aide said Monday.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported Friday that Chicago will hold its first firefighters entrance exam in eight years in 2014 amid runaway overtime that has gone from $13.5 million in 2011 to a projected $35.3 million in 2014. Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s 2013 budget includes $20 million for Fire Department overtime. But Chicago Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago acknowledged Monday that actual overtime spending will be $43 million.

“There was a series of legal issues that the Fire Department had to work through with the Law Department that actually effectively stopped us from hiring. The city of Chicago could not hire firefighters,” said Santiago, on the hot seat at City Council budget hearings.

“We have resolved those issues. . . . Nov. 18, we will have 150 people at the academy to start attacking this overtime. We have a series of classes after that. As soon as one class gets to the halfway point, we will have another class [of] 150 people. And then, another class. This should be able to take care of all the vacancies that are there and any of the people who start to retire later on.”

Santiago projected that 245 firefighters will retire in 2013. Full strength — including uniformed and civilian employees — is roughly 5,100. The Fire Department currently has 4,700 employees.

Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) questioned why there wasn’t more pushback from the Fire Department, considering the minimum-staffing requirement that triggered the bitter 1980 firefighters strike. The firefighters contract requires that every piece of fire apparatus be staffed by at least five employees.

In marathon contract talks, Emanuel has insisted that “double houses” that include both engines and trucks be staffed by nine firefighters instead of 10. The Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2 has strongly resisted the change.

“When you were having discussions with the Law Department, did anybody bring up the fact that you might have to do more overtime to make up for the loss of manpower? . . . Did anybody do a calculation of what that effect might be?” Waguespack said.

First Deputy Fire Commissioner Charles Stewart said no such calculation was done. But Santiago stressed that the alarm was sounded during “many meetings” with the Law Department and the Office of Budget and Management. “We constantly brought up the fact that we have a problem here. We can’t hire. We have people retiring. You’ve got to help us out. We have a hiring plan we put together and we could not implement it,” Santiago said.

“Many meetings were conducted. It was always brought up to them [that], ‘We need help somehow. We need to hire people or the overtime is going to go right through the ceiling,’ which it has.”

Waguespack persisted, wondering whether it was “mandatory not to hire” or optional. Stewart replied, “It was strongly recommended that, until the legal issues are resolved, that we not hire a class. We made sure they were aware of manning needs. But that was their recommendation we had to follow.”

Earlier this year, the City Council agreed to spend nearly $2 million — and $1.7 million more in legal fees — to compensate dozens of women denied firefighter jobs because of a discriminatory test of physical abilities that City Hall has now scrapped. Last year, Chicago borrowed the $78.4 million needed to compensate nearly 6,000 African-American would-be firefighters bypassed by the city’s discriminatory handling of a 1995 entrance exam. The borrowing compounded the cost of a settlement that was twice as high as anticipated.

The city had already agreed to hire 111 bypassed black firefighters. The cash damages went to about 5,900 others who never got that chance.

Older firefighters are not the only problem confronting the Fire Department. There’s also the issue of aging equipment.

The “desired” life span for fire engines and hook-and-ladders is six years. In Chicago, the average for both is just over 11 years. For fire trucks, the ideal life span is 7.5 years. In Chicago, the average age is 15 years. Ambulances are supposed to last 2.5 years but have been on the street in Chicago for 6.2 years.

The city expects to purchase 25 new ambulances this year and has “re-chassised” four others, Santiago said.

Also on Monday, Santiago reassured aldermen that the Fire Department is meeting state mandates by responding to fires in an average of 3 minutes and 35 seconds and to medical emergencies in 5 minutes and 5 seconds.

“We base that measure on how long it takes the first fire company to arrive after the alarm goes out,” the commissioner said.

In a recent report, Inspector General Joe Ferguson measured it differently, then accused the Fire Department of response times that fail to meet national standards.

That prompted Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) to put Santiago on notice.

“I want you to work with the inspector general to make sure that, when the next report comes out, the 9th Ward is not reflected as being last” in response times, Beale said.

“Even though we’re only talking seconds, when somebody’s life is on the line, seconds count. Do whatever you have to do to make sure that, if there’s a problem, it’s fixed. Obviously, there’s a problem with how we’re adding or subtracting these numbers. Fix this problem. Please do not come back next year with the 9th Ward being last.”

 thanks Dan

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