Archive for October 6th, 2020

Mount Prospect Fire Department history

Looking Back at the Village of Mount Prospect’s Past in 1970


thanks Drew

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South Holland Fire Department LODD FF/PM Dylan Cunningham

From the South Holland FD Facebook page:

Funeral arrangements for South Holland FD FF/PM Dylan Cunningham

Funeral arrangements for South Holland FD FF/PM Dylan CunninghamFuneral arrangements for South Holland FD FF/PM Dylan Cunningham
Funeral arrangements for South Holland FD FF/PM Dylan Cunningham

Funeral arrangements for South Holland FD FF/PM Dylan CunninghamFuneral arrangements for South Holland FD FF/PM Dylan Cunningham Funeral arrangements for South Holland FD FF/PM Dylan Cunningham

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Working fire in Lyons, 10-5-20

From Chi-Town Fire Photos:

Here are some shots from a Full Still Monday evening @ 4637 s Riverside Ave in Lyons.Two fully-involved alley garages. In total, five lines were lead out to get a knock on it.
Companies on the Still
Lyons 1301, 1312, 1314, 1316,
Riverside 1601, 1629
Brookfield 401, 411
Stickney 1204, 1210
Companies on the Full Still
McCook 1401, 1416
Bedford Park 709, Batt 7

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Evanston Fire Department history (more)

More from Phil Stenholm:

The ISO downgrade of the Evanston Fire Department in 1978 had nothing to do with water supply. In fact Evanston’s water supply & pumping station were so good that the City actually sold water it didn’t need to suburbs to the west of Evanston (transported via pipeline).

The ISO’s two main problems with the Evanston Fire Department were the reduction of manpower available to fight fires because of the elimination of the Police-Fire Cooperative Plan (which had been in effect the last time the EFD was inspected by the NBFU in 1959) and the implementation of the EFD’s Paramedic & Ambulance Service in 1976, and that the aggregate max GPM water-flow of front-line apparatus had been reduced from 6,000 GPM in 1959 (the last time the EFD was inspected) to 5,250 GPM. (This was because the Squad 21 of 1959 was a 1,000 GPM squad-pumper, and the Squad 21 of 1978 was a Chevrolet Versatile Van – AKA the “Pie Truck”). The EFD had to do this because by the mid-1970’s it had way too much specialized rescue gear to be carried on a squad-pumper.

So after the ISO downgrade, the City Council hurriedly approved an emergency appropriation and purchased a 1,250 GPM pumper from Pirsch to replace a 1,000 GPM pumper at Station #2 (the rig purchased from Pirsch was a no frills “spec” engine that Pirsch produced without a bid in hand when the factory was slow on work in 1978), and a 1,250 GPM / 100-ft aerial quint from Seagrave.

The Pirsch engine went into service as Engine 22 in 1979 and the Seagrave quint went into service in 1980 as the new Truck 21 at Station #1, which satisfied the ISO (resulting in Evanston appealing its ISO downgrade and having its rating restored from a “four” to a “three”).

As far as the 26-man minimum/maximum shift staffing in Evanston is concerned, it is pretty much written in concrete.

It was part of a grand bargain made between Local 742 and the City Of Evanston about 40 years ago that gave firefighters 100% “time & a half” for working overtime instead of “time & a half” for the just the first eight hours only and then “straight time” for the remainder (which had been the case previously).

It also required the City to fund the equivalent of nine full-time slots in the Fire Department budget to be used to pay for an average of two firefighters working overtime (again, at “time & a half rate”) each shift to cover for firefighters out-sick or on injury rehab leave.

Also, the command officer at the scene of an incident was not allowed to request a MABAS box if the purpose of requesting he box was just to avoid calling in off-duty Evanston firefighters (because off-duty Evanston firefighters called-in would be paid at full “time & a half” rate instead of the City getting the use of “free” firefighters from Wilmette, Skokie, and Winnetka).

What’s kind of interesting is that from November 1927 through December 1932, the Evanston Fire Department had 84 members (41 on each platoon, plus the Chief and the Fire Prevention Inspector), with minimum staffing of 34 per shift (and that’s only if all seven companies were running the maximum-allowed one man short on a shift), but there could be as many as 41 men on duty at a time if nobody was on vacation, injured, or out-sick! That’s right. 41. Or how about even a minimum of 34? Can you imagine that? And the EFD did not even provide ambulance service back then, either.

However, because of the effects of the Great Depression, six positions (three on each platoon, one man each per shift on Engine Co. 1, Engine Co. 2, and Truck Co. 2) were cut from the Evanston Fire Department on January 1, 1933 (three open slots from retirements were not filled and the three men with the least seniority were laid-off, although all three were rehired within a couple of years). So minimum staffing was reduced from 34 to 31 in 1933 (if all seven companies ran one man short), with max staffing now at 38 men per shift

The first Kelly Days were introduced in 1942 as the average work week was reduced from 84 hours to 73 hours, and that resulted in Evanston firefighters getting an extra day off after working seven days…


The “Kelly Day” was invented by Mayor Edward Kelly of chicago during the Great Depression, as a way to increase (or maintain) an employee’s average hourly pay when it wasn’t possible to give the employee a pay raise (or even when it was necessary to cut an employee’s salary, as was the case duringn the Great Depression), simply by reducing the number of hours the employee needed to worked for the same salary he was already receiving (or sometimes a pay cut accompanied by even more days off).

So with the first EFD Kelly Days in 1942, essentially eight men were needed to make seven. Four of the six slots cut in 1933 were restored in 1942 (EFD now had 82 members), but minimum staffing was cut from 31 to 28 (if all seven companies were running one man short), and on certain days because of how it was done, minimum staffing on Engine Co. 3 and/or Engine Co. 4 was three if the company was running the maximum-allowed one man short (this was the first time since 1892 that as few as three men could be on duty with an engine company at a given point in time).

An additional Kelly Day was added in 1947 as the average work-week was cut further, from 73 to 67 hours, as firefighters now got an extra day off after every four days worked. So now five were needed to make four.

Six firefighters were added to the EFD (now 88 members) in 1947, but the added Kelly Day still resulted in minimum staffing being cut from 28 to 26 if each company was running one man short (minimum four each on the four companies then at Station #1 – E1, E5, T1, and T2), and minimum three each on E2, E3, and E4, plus the Chief’s buggy-driver, with the fourth man minimum on E1 and E5 being cut-back to three when Squad 21 went into service with a two-man crew in October 1952).

Then the EFD was increased from 88 to 100 members and minimum shift staffing was actually increased (for the first time since 1933) in September 1955 from 26 to 29 when Truck Co. 23 was organized as a ten-man company at the new Station #3 (five men assigned to T23 each shift, but only four men actually on-duty each shift because one of the men was on a Kelly Day, and the company could run one man short, ergo making it a three-man minimum per shift).

Also, Truck Co. 22 was cut back from a four-man minimum per shift to three-man minimum per shift when it was relocated from Station #1 to the new Station #2 in March 1955, as the Platoon Chiefs (who had been the company officers of Truck Co. 21 and Truck Co. 22 on opposite platoons at Station #1 1928-1955) were relieved of company officer duties and assigned a station wagon in which to respond as the command officer (known as “F-2”) to fires and other incidents, with the Chief (“F-1”) now only responding to working fires.

And that’s hows it was when the EFD went from a two-platoon system with lots of Kelly Days to a three-platoon system with no Kelly Days on April 1, 1957 (see my earlier post).

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