Excerpts from the DailyHerald.com:

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.

Excerpts from theChicagoTribune.com:

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