Archive for January 18th, 2017

Chicago Fire Department news

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Chicago police, firefighters and paramedics will partner with area hospitals in a program to better respond to mental health emergencies.

It’s a scene they encounter all the time-a disorderly person at a bar. But what they’re practicing in this scene is assessing whether the subject is experiencing a medical or behavioral emergency.

It’s a lesson emergency personnel will receive in a new, state-of-the-art crisis intervention training. The eight hour, scenario-based course involves all stages of a call, beginning with 911 operators and dispatchers. Ninety percent of them have already begun training.

“When the person calls in with a medical emergency, the dispatcher knows what type of questions to ask what kind of information to illicit from this patient and that information goes out to our teams,” Leslee Stein-Spencer, Chicago Fire Department, said.

Mental health experts helped design the course which aims to help different agencies better understand the roles each plays in responding to a mental health crisis.

“Nearly 2,500 CPD officers are now CIT trained, with 300 trained just in 2016 alone,” Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said.

The goal is to have 35 percent of the police department trained in mental health crisis response by the end of 2017 and to have those crisis intervention trained officers on each shift so they can be dispatched as needed.

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Chicago Fire Department news (more)

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The Rev. Thomas Mulcrone plans to retire June 30 as chaplain for the Chicago Fire Department after three decades on the job.

Mulcrone, 65, said he didn’t know why he wasn’t asked to take another assignment by the Archdiocese of Chicago. After all, most associate pastors are reassigned every 5-7 years, and parish priests typically move after 12 years, he said.

“Nobody bothered to ever ask,” Mulcrone said about his prolonged tenure as chaplain — an assignment originally slated for just three years. His replacement has yet to be named.

Mulcrone will remain a priest and continue to minister at St. Mary of Providence. He resides on the grounds of the Catholic facility that serves women with developmental delays at 4200 N. Austin Ave. in Portage Park.

Hailing from law enforcement family, Mulcrone will soon give up being on call 24 hours a day for the fire department. He added that he’s seen 20 line-of-duty deaths in his time as fire department chaplain.

“Sadly, I’ve had to ring too many doorbells in the middle of the night,” he said. “A little piece of your heart and soul is ripped out when your brother falls.”

Among the many lessons he’s learned on the job is that there are no words to say when consoling a grieving family. Instead, it’s better to be a good listener than a good talker in such situations.

“I think Fr. Tom realized that a cup of coffee at the kitchen table at the firehouse was the most powerful tool in the box. He has been there for every member of the department that needed him,” said Bill Sullivan, a director of the widows’ and children’s fund.

Eileen Coglianese is president of the Chicago Fire Department’s Gold Badge Society. The group is comprised of the families of firefighters and paramedics who have lost loved ones in the line of duty. The group was founded Feb. 17, 1991, and Coglianese said it was Mulcrone who suggested it.

For his part, Mulcrone described his life’s work as catering the needs of a big parish on wheels. He said he’ll miss the men and women of the fire department and said the greatest lesson he learned over the years is embodied in their work.

“Giving of yourself is the greatest gift you have to give,” he said.

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Aurora Fire Department news (more)

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A senior paramedic with the Aurora Fire Department has been ticketed for running a red light in Naperville earlier this month, causing a crash that toppled the ambulance he was driving and sent a woman’s car hurtling into a row of parked vehicles.

John A. Nagy, a 22-year veteran of the fire department was cited for disobeying a traffic control signal in the Jan. 3 collision, Deputy Naperville Police Chief Jason Arres said Tuesday. The ambulance was returning to the station after dropping off a patient.

He and a fellow paramedic were slightly injured in the incident. The woman who was driving the car remained last week in Edward Hospital in stable condition and with non-life-threatening injuries.

Police investigators have determined neither alcohol nor narcotics figured in the crash. Nagy was placed on administrative leave following the crash, pending the outcome of the police investigation.

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Romeoville Fire Department news

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The Village of Romeoville announced the purchase of a LDV/Freightliner Mobile Command Center scheduled for delivery in March.

After constructing a new fire station to replace an old one, this purchase was next in line [with the help of ] a $50,000 donation from the Citgo Lemont Refinery that goes toward the purchase of a phone system, weather station system and camera system with a 39-foot mast for the mobile command center.

According to Romeoville Emergency Management Coordinator Mike Littrell, emergency personnel will have access to state-of-the-art technology. They will also be able to stay on location at an emergency scene for extended periods of time. In the past, command posts were set up in tents outside an incident area.

The vehicle will have a conference area with the capacity to seat 13 personnel and a communication center with room for three radio operators.

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