Archive for February 13th, 2017

Chicago Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

Veteran paramedics are accusing their union and Mayor Rahm Emanuel of dropping the ball on a promise to pursue the addition of at least five more advanced life support ambulances by July 1, 2016.

The five-year firefighters contract that expires on June 30 included a dramatic upgrade in emergency medical care by ending Chicago’s two-tiered system of ambulance service.

Instead, all 15 of Chicago’s basic-life-support ambulances were converted to advanced-life-support, giving Chicago 75  (ALS) ambulances.

The move freed up the equivalent of 30 firefighters, since each one of the city’s BLS ambulances were staffed by a pair of firefighter-EMTs. At the same time, the city agreed to hire more paramedics — anywhere from 50 to 200.

Within 60 days of contract ratification, the city and the union were to each appoint three representatives to a committee to oversee ambulance expansion.

“It was completely dropped. It died. Nobody on the street has heard anything about that since then. It’s crazy,” said Paramedic Field Chief Rich Raney.

“If you listen to the fire scanner, you will hear every day dispatchers saying, `Do we have anybody available on the North Side? Do we have anybody available out of Northwestern [Hospital]? Do we have anybody available at a variety of hospitals?’

“They are not available. . . . They have to send ambulances from way far away to the downtown area to cover because there’s not enough ambulances.”

The long wait for an ambulance may not show up on dispatch records, only because officials have “found a way around it,” Raney said.

“Say they call for an ambulance and nobody is available. They call for Ambulance 39 at Northwest Highway and Harlem and send them downtown. Fifteen minutes later, while that second ambulance is still in route, they’ll hear an ambulance come up from Northwestern [Hospital] and they’ll say, `Can you take this call?’ They give them that call and they cancel Ambulance 39. And it takes that ambulance that came from Northwestern two, maybe three minutes to get there,” Raney said.

“On the official log, all it’ll say is that it took that ambulance three minutes to get there. It doesn’t say that, prior to that, it took 10, 12 minutes for an ambulance to get even close.”

The wave of paramedic hiring promised during negotiations hasn’t happened either, veteran paramedics said.

According to Raney and veteran paramedic Pat Fitzmaurice, the last paramedic class was hired in December 2014. There have been three classes of firefighters since then.

Paramedics are assigned to work 24 hours on and 72 hours off. But, the shortage of paramedics has forced many paramedics to work 24 hours on and only 24 hours off for as long as three straight weeks, they said.

Fitzmaurice said the city “hasn’t hired paramedics in three years despite taking 30 as cross-trained firefighters.”

“We’re probably 150 short,” he wrote in a text message to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Tom Ryan, retiring president of Local 2, was tight-lipped when asked why the ambulance expansion promise made in the contract side-letter was broken.

“On this particular issue, the ball is in the city’s court. We still await a response from them,” Ryan wrote in a text message, without explaining what he meant.

Mayoral spokeswoman Julienn Kaviar said: “In the April 2014 contract, we agreed with Union Local 2 to upgrade 15 Basic Life Support ambulances to Advanced Life Support ambulances, making all 75 Chicago Fire Department ambulances ALS vehicles. We did. The fire department’s Emergency Medical Services Division continues to enhance resources and training to ensure EMTs and paramedics have the tools they need when faced with extraordinary circumstances.”

thanks Dan

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Chicago orders new squads (more)

This from Larry Shapiro:

Here’s some updated information on the new squads for Chicago.

After receiving the finished units from Rosenbauer America, it was determined that the ‘A’ units with the aerials needed some minor alterations to maximize the maneuverability of boom. As designed, these units had two storage compartments accessible from the top on either side of the body. The rear compartments on each side constrained some of the boom movement. Subsequently, the units have been at Chicago Fleet Services undergoing modifications. The work has been completed on Squad 2A and Squad 7A. Both companies are scheduled to take possession of their new apparatus Tuesday, February 14th. The work is still in process for Squad 1A and Squad 5A.

The personnel at Chicago Fleet Services did a terrific job removing the existing material and fabricating a diamond plate cutout for the boom to swing.

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New tower ladder for Lemont (more)

This from Jacob Metzger:

Lemont’s new Rosenbauer midmount was spotted outside of Headquarters on Wednesday, believe it will replace Truck 949, which is a ’96 Pierce Lance listed for sale on B&P Fire Apparatus.

Lemont FPD Tower Ladder 949

Jacob Metzger photo

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Still & Box Alarm in Chicago, 2-11-17 (part 3)

This from Steve Redick:

2600 W 35th St. Heavy smoke conditions reported in a large, fire resistive warehouse occupancy… discovered to be an auto fire deep within the building. MVU 923 was used to pressurize the building and clear the residual smoke, seemed to be very effective. Also got several decent apparatus shots.
heavy smoke pours out of warehouse

Steve Redick photo

heavy smoke pours out of warehouse

Steve Redick photo

Chicago FD Truck 52

Steve Redick photo

Chicago FD MVU 923

Steve Redick photo

Chicago FD MVU 923

Steve Redick photo

Chicago FD Truck 33

Steve Redick photo

Chicago FD Comm Van 2-7-4

Steve Redick photo

Chicago FD Tower Ladder 5

Steve Redick photo

Chicago FD Engine 65

Steve Redick photo

firefighter tools

Steve Redick photo

Here’s a brief video of the MVU:

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