Archive for November 15th, 2014

Mount Prospect looks at firefighter staffing

The Daily Herald has an article about staffing considerations for the Mount Prospect Fire Department:

In 2006, Mount Prospect added an engine to its downtown fire station. But then the recession hit, and in 2011 the village slashed personnel by 10 percent across the board, losing six firefighters.

Fire Chief John Malcolm tried using a “jump” company downtown, switching firefighters between Engine 13 and Tower 13, the station’s ladder truck. That policy ended following a 2011 middle-of-the-night extra-alarm fire at the Colonial Greens complex, when firefighters were forced to rush back to the station to retrieve the ladder truck, which was sitting at the station unstaffed. From that point on, Malcolm decided to retire Engine 13 and run Tower 13 on all calls, including ambulance calls and car fires.

Now, as the village board works out its 2015 budget, trustees are once again talking about the eventual restoration of those six positions. The head of the village’s firefighters union addressed the board this week, calling for trustees to restore the six positions and get Engine 13 back into the rotation.

Later in the meeting, Trustee Paul Hoefert asked Deputy Fire Chief Henry Dawson if the department’s response time is still within safe parameters. Dawson said it is, saying he thinks the average response time is 4 minutes and 17 seconds. Hoefert emphasized, “The fact is, the way we’re manned today, we’re safe. The citizens are safe.”

During his department’s budget presentation, Dawson said the department is asking for $13.1 million, up 1.56 percent. He also provided information on use of Tower 13. Dawson said Tower 13 tripled its responses with the elimination of Engine 13 and is the department’s busiest vehicle, with 1,947 responses in 2014. “In fact in a national survey, out of 202 fire departments reporting, Tower 13 is the 63rd busiest tower ladder in the country,” he said.

He brought up what he called an ironic statistic, pointing out that half the time the department receives a call for service, it gets another call almost simultaneously.

“That adds to the need to keep the tower on the street,” he said.

Board members expressed a willingness to examine the issue.

Chief Malcolm said that the department has by far the lowest staffing of surrounding departments of comparable size. “We’re obviously more efficient having that engine downtown,” he said. “Every day, because we only have two engines in town, when one goes out of town for mutual aid … that means I only have one engine left in this town.”

Thanks Dan

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Chicago 2-11 Alarm fire, 11-15-14

Quick images by Eric Haak from the scene of this morning’s 2-11 Alarm fire & EMS Plan 1 at 3001 W. Jackson

fire blows out the window of apartment building

Eric Haak photo

fire blows out the window of apartment building

Eric Haak photo

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Chicago Working fire, 11-14-14

Video from Dan Shevlin:

Chicago Fire Dept working fire at Hurlbut & Newcastle in Old Norwood Park

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