Archive for June 15th, 2016

Gary Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

Millions of dollars worth of improvements may be made at the Gary Fire Department over the next year. They recently bought some new ambulances and officials hope over the next year to add several new engines and an aerial ladder to the inventory, according to Fire Chief Paul Bradley.

The department recently received a $758,044 grant that will be used to buy 133 self-contained breathing apparatus devices.

The money came from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Assistance of Firefighters Grant program. Bradley said the city is also seeking another grant from that program to buy a new ladder truck, which can cost between $700,000 and $1 million. The department currently has three trucks in service while one is being overhauled.

Equipment and personnel shortages have been an issue for some time, but things seem to be improving, according to some observers.

In December 2010, under the administration of former Mayor Rudy Clay, 35 positions were eliminated in the fire department, which went from 236 to 201 firefighters. Firefighters joined police officers in 2014 and again early last year in picketing over inadequate equipment and salaries, which was said to be responsible for personnel leaving for other departments that paid more money.

The city now has 187 firefighters, but raises were approved last year and Firefighter Adam Friday, vice president of Gary Firefighters Association Local 359, believes things are improving. In addition to raises that are expected to eventually increase annual salaries by $10,000, Friday said equipment has gotten a lot better.

When Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson came into office “there were some large gaps with equipment. They (the firefighters) were grossly underpaid. So every year we’ve worked with the chiefs to find more dollars. But they have also been very active in finding dollars for themselves,” she said.

For instance, a new company is doing a better job now of collecting fees for ambulance service. The money collected is being used to help get new ambulances.

One of the issues still remaining, according to Friday, is a new fire station to permanently house Station 5 firefighters, who have been working out of temporary quarters for the last several years. Bradley said the city has been approved for federal assistance for a new fire station that will be located in the 4900 block of Pennsylvania Street and he hopes to break ground this year. Bradley also said he has improved furnishing at the stations.

Friday said another issue the union and administration are working on has to do with obtaining additional personal protective equipment and additional cleaners for that gear. The equipment helps protect firefighters against hazardous chemical.

Freeman-Wilson also is working with department heads, union officials, and the council to create public safety positions. These employees would be trained to perform both police and firefighting duties to some degree. Bradley and Freeman-Wilson said it will be up to employees to decide whether they want to apply for these positions. Bradley said some firefighters have expressed interest in the positions. In addition to paying a higher salary, Bradley said employees might be attracted to the position because of the opportunity to learn new skills.

thanks Dennis

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Annual Chicago Fire Engine Rally & Swap Meet

5-11 Club of Chicago & The Fire Buffs of Illinois

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Chicago Haz Mat Level 2, 6-14-16

CFD worked a Haz Mat Level 2 on just after noon Tuesday (6/14/16) in the Loop near State Street and Madison Street for a 4″ gas main that was hit by a construction crew. Reportedly it was an old line that was no longer being used.

firefighters work at gas main break in Chicago Loop

Tim Olk photo

firefighters work at gas main break in Chicago Loop

Tim Olk photo

firefighters work at gas main break in Chicago Loop

Tim Olk photo

Chicago FD MVU on scene

Tim Olk photo

firefighters work at gas main break in Chicago Loop

Tim Olk photo

fire chief at haz mat scene

Tim Olk photo

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