Archive for December 19th, 2013

Off the beaten track … again

Something rather unusual for the site: (again)

Larry Shapiro has some camera equipment for sale … and thought about site readers before listing the items on eBay:

1 – Canon EOS 5D camera body (rebuilt shutter) … cap/battery/strap/original packaging/books/disc/charger

1 – Canon EOS EF 70-200mm 2.8L IS USM lens … both caps/original packaging/tripod mount/soft lens case/lens hood ET-86

If you’re interested, send an email to the webmaster and he’ll hook you up.

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Decatur FD to reduce staffing

News Channel 15 has an article which states that the Decatur FD will be reducing the number of firefighters:

The city of Decatur is reducing staff to avoid a budget deficit. The total projected budget shortfall is $1.6 million. A big part of the city’s plan to fill that shortfall is the elimination of 20 positions across the city, six of those being firefighters.

“We’ve eliminated 20 positions in the fiscal year 2014 budget,” said City Manager Ryan McCrady. “10 of those were individuals that were laid off, and 10 of those positions are vacant positions that are either currently vacant or will be vacant by the end of the year.”

All six of the fire positions fall into the latter group, with four of them currently open positions. “Two more firefighters have declared an intent to retire,” said McCrady. “So there won’t be any layoffs in the fire department. We just won’t fill  those six positions.”

That will mean one less engine company operating out of Fire Station Number 1, which basically means the one fire truck and its crew.

“The optimal solution is to have nine companies, but our resources don’t allow for that,” said Assistant City Manager Billy Tyus. “And the only time we anticipate there might be a questionable response, is if you have multiple events going on throughout the community.”

The department will go from nine total companies to eight. Over the last two years, they’ve been operating part of that time with only eight companies, in a process called brownouts. “What we know from the past from running browouts is that we can adequately cover the city,” said McCrady.

City officials believe that even in a rare situation of multiple complicated events, they can still adequately respond.

“We do have good mutual aid agreements with neighboring districts,” said  McCrady. “Since 911 there’s been something set up called MABAS, which is a mutual aid box alarm system.”

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Barrington FD & Barrington CFPD still negotiating mutual aid

The Barrington Courier-Review has an article with states that as the year-end separation nears, there is no mutual-aid agreement yet between the Barrington Fire Department and the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District.

With less than two weeks until the Village of Barrington’s Fire Department and the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District begin operating independently, the two sides have still been unable to come to terms on a mutual aid agreement.

The Barrington Village Board previously set a goal to have a deal in place by its Dec. 16 meeting, but the topic was not brought before trustees.

Barrington Fire Chief James Arie said the village has reached out with proposals, but has yet to receive a response from officials at the district. The agreements detail support plans that would go into effect in an emergency across jurisdictional boundaries. Meanwhile, the village has secured automatic aid agreements with neighboring departments in Lake Zurich, Long Grove and Palatine while continuing to negotiate with additional agencies in the area.

“We’ve got resources around us that are prepared to respond to our needs on a daily basis,” said Arie, adding that Barrington firefighters are eager to begin independent operations Jan. 1.

The Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District also moved forward with its independent fire response plan this week by finalizing an automatic aid agreement with the Palatine Rural Fire Protection District. Approved Dec. 16, officials on both sides said the agreement provides residents with high levels of fire and emergency medical services.

According to a district press release, the agreement calls for the Countryside Fire Protection District to provide a fire engine or water tanker vehicle as needed, for all structure fires in Palatine Rural’s jurisdiction. The Barrington district also will send a truck to all Palatine Rural-based calls generated by automatic fire alarm systems.

In return, Palatine Rural will provide an Advanced Life Support engine for Barrington Countryside calls that occur south of Lake-Cook Road, and will provide initial fire and paramedic response for calls on the district’s eastern edge, according to the press release.

“As we begin discussing how our respective organizations might help each other, our only consideration was to ensure that any agreement assisted in fulfilling our mission to provide excellence in service,” said District Fire Chief Jeff Swanson. “That is the benchmark of everything we do. We are very comfortable with the agreement and we will meet regularly over the next year to keep it that way.”

The agreement, which will take effect Jan. 1, was formally approved by the district’s Board of Trustees on Dec. 16. The Palatine Rural Board of Trustees is expected to approve the agreement at a special meeting later this month.

“This agreement between Palatine Rural and Barrington Countryside has taken a bit longer than expected, but it ensures that our residents will receive a premier level of fire and emergency medical service,” Palatine Rural Fire Chief Hank Clemmensen said.

The district board also approved the purchase of a new 3,000 gallon water tanker. Officials said the tanker will vastly improve the district’s ability to deliver large amounts of water to areas that do not have fire hydrants.

“We were very fortunate to find a stock unit that met our needs,” Rowan said. “It avoids us having to wait eight months for the tender to be built.” The $205,000 vehicle, which arrived at district headquarters in mid-December, was manufactured by Minnesota-based Midwest Fire Equipment firm Luverne.

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