Archive for December 10th, 2019

New engine for Coal City FPD

From the SST Emergency Products Facebook page:

A huge thank you to the Board of Trustees, Chief, Deputy Chief and all the Members of the Coal City Fire Protection District on the purchase of your 2020 Seagrave Marauder II 2000 / 1000 Rescue Pumper. We realize the trust you have put in SST and Seagrave and we are humbled. Thank you again.

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East Chicago Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

Dabney Scott Hudson, president of the District of Columbia FireFighters Association is disputing recent claims by the East Chicago city administration as it justified controversial new shifts for city firefighters.

The mayor and fire chief  said the firefighters’ shifts were being changed to save taxpayer dollars, a move they claimed was successful in Washington, D.C. Hudson said those claims were incorrect.

“Our case went to arbitration, and we prevailed in the arbitration case, keeping our 24-hour shift. In the arbitration, the city testified that the change would in fact increase costs to the city. Additionally, the health and safety, as well as cognitive function of the workers significantly, decrease working rotating shifts such as the ones they are proposing,” Hudson said in a statement.

The move will be “detrimental to the health and safety of the employees and the residents they are sworn to protect,” Hudson said.

In an interview with The Times, the fire chief referenced D.C. as an example of where the shift changes reportedly worked and saved the administration millions, but Hudson said the shift changes never happened.

Gary Firefighters Local 359 members wrote a letter saying they were “greatly disappointed to learn of the decision to place East Chicago Firefighters on eight-hour shift rotations as well as down an engine each shift with little to not notice.”

Likewise, Hammond Firefighters Local 556 issued a statement calling the decision a result of “senseless grudges,” saying “the poor leaders chose revenge over safety.” The statement addressed the fire chief, saying “We have news for you, Hammond firefighters will no longer cover your poor staffing and decision-making. Our administration and firefighters will no longer be used to cover your stations. We will no longer listen to your cries of being short-handed if you feel safe enough to close down fire engines over politics.”

The shift changes went into effect Saturday morning.  Union members and a city council member opposed to the change say the shifts are unworkable and retaliation for the union seeking to negotiate with the East Chicago City Council and for having endorsed the mayor’s opponent in the May primary election.

Dave Mata, union president for East Chicago Professional Firefighters Local 365, said the union is considering a lawsuit disputing the city administration’s actions.

Under the shift change, East Chicago firefighters are expected to work an eight-hour morning, afternoon and overnight shift — rotated over three days — before receiving 24 hours off.

Currently, firefighters work 24 hours on, 48 hours off, like most fire departments across the country. Under the change, a firefighter, for example, will work 7:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. on a Monday; 3:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Tuesday; and then 11:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday. The fourth day gives them 24 hours off before the shift rotation starts all over again.

“They’re not even giving us straight days or straight nights,” Mata said. “This requires us to constantly be working different shifts. That’s going to result in sleep deprivation, and we can never adjust. It’s unsafe for these firefighters. This is unheard of.”

The fire chief said the eight-hour, rotating shifts were necessary because Indiana code requires firefighters to take 24 hours off before subsequent shifts. He suggested the change will save thousands in overtime costs with increased minimum staffing standards per shift and the hiring of more firefighters. However, when asked for annual cost savings projections, he hasn’t done the math yet.

Excerpts from the yesterday:

Monday night city council members passed — by an 8-1 vote on first reading — an ordinance that would return firefighters to a work schedule of 24 hours on duty and 48 hours off. The mayor is expected to veto the measure if council members pass it on second and final reading. They next meet Dec. 23.

More than 100 fire union members of East Chicago and surrounding communities packed the meeting and applauded the council’s action.

A mayoral veto would fan the flames of union grievances that became public last week after the fire chief imposed a new swing shift schedule on firefighters that began last Saturday — rotating eight-hour morning, afternoon and overnights shift over three days before a firefighter is given the next 24 hours off.

The mayor, who worked for years as a firefighter before his first election as mayor, and the fire chief, argue the new schedule will save thousands of dollars in overtime pay while increasing the number of firefighters available for each shift.

David Mata, president of East Chicago Professional Firefighters Local 365, told council members the shifts create no savings for the public. He said they are merely retaliation against the union’s political actions that would put sleep-deprived firefighters and the public at risk for no tax savings at all. Mata said he has only had seven hours sleep since the weekend.

Union members have been at odds with the mayor for months over upcoming contract negotiations, claiming he refuses to meet with them. The union supported the mayor’s political opponent in last spring’s Democratic primary.

The mayor, who didn’t return calls seeking comment Monday night, did post on his Facebook page a statement that he would have withheld the new shift schedule if the union had agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding that the union would negotiate a future work agreement in good faith, but union leaders refused.

Mata acknowledged to the council that the union had been warned  of a possible shift change two months ago. The chief and union acknowledged the mayor’s offer to postpone a shift change, but Mata said the statement the mayor wanted him to sign would have taken away the union’s ability to negotiate a fair labor contract.

The union has chosen to work around him by negotiating a contract with the city council, where they have been given a warmer reception. The fire chief told the council members their involvement in labor negotiations violated state law. But the council’s attorney said the council has authority to set the firefighters work schedules and that Monday night’s ordinance is valid.

Council members said the dispute between the mayor, the union, and council should be resolved in the courts.


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Chicago Fire Department news

Excerpts from

Dozens of cars were lit on fire Monday in two separate arsons in Gresham and West Pullman on the city’s South and Far South sides.

About midnight, someone entered a fenced lot in the 300 block of East 115th Street and set fire to eight abandoned vehicles. At 12:37 a.m., someone entered a private towing yard in the 8800 block of South Genoa Avenue and set 30 cars on fire.

No injuries were reported in either incident and no one is in custody. It was not immediately clear whether the two arsons were related. The CPD Arson Unit is investigating.


New ambulance for Franklin Park

From the Foster Coach Sales facebook page:

Brand new custom Medix conversion on a Ford E450 chassis

Medix Type III ambulance

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Medix Type III ambulance

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Medix Type III ambulance

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Franklin Park FD Ambulance 2

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Medix Type III ambulance

Foster Coach Sales photo

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