Posts Tagged Antioch First Fire District

web site updates

The long overdue job of updating department profiles on the site has finally begun:

MABAS Division 1:

MABAS Division 3:

MABAS Division 4:

  • Antioch: added Ambulance 211R and the rehab bus
  • Grayslake: added Station 3
  • Lake Villa: added Station 4 and hopefully unscrambled the ambulances
  • Waukegan: added Truck 1634 and the department patch

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Antioch Fire Department assumes full EMS for district

The Daily Herald has an article about the Antioch Fire Department initiating EMS for the town and unincorporated areas of Antioch:

For the first time since 1938, the Antioch Rescue Squad (ARS) is not contracted to provide ambulance service on fire or rescue calls in the Antioch area.

The contract between the controversial volunteer rescue squad and the First Fire Protection District of Antioch ended at 5 a.m. Friday, officials said. Ambulance calls for all 27,000 residents in Antioch and Antioch Township were switched to the Antioch Fire Department, officials said.

“We had an extremely peaceful transition at 5 a.m. and have now established ourselves throughout the district,” Fire Chief John Nixon said. “The crews are hard at work moving into fire station 3 (on Grass Lake Road), and 11 fire department employees are staffed at the three fire station buildings.”

Nixon said required fire service computer programs were uploaded to dispatch centers and ambulances to make for a smooth transition. He said people in need should not see any change in the calls.

The change in service came after the First Fire Protection District of Antioch decided this year not to renew its contract with the Antioch Rescue Squad in order to consolidate fire and rescue services in the village and township under one fire department. The village made a similar decision one year earlier.

ARS President Todd Thommes said the rescue squad is reviewing its options. “We do not have a future plan in place right now,” he said. “I wish I could say what the future is, but as of right now, we just don’t know. We still need to sit down and go over all of that.”

thanks Dan

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Antioch looking at tax referendum for EMS

The Daily Herald has an article about a new tax levy to fund EMS operations in Antioch.

Antioch-area officials say they will streamline the area’s emergency services by creating a new unified fire and rescue operation and ask residents to help fund it. The proposal, which could be launched within two months, would put the Antioch Fire Department in charge of all fire and rescue services covering the village of Antioch and Antioch Township. It would be overseen by a new five-member emergency services board.

A key component is creating the area’s first tax levy for emergency services. Antioch Fire Chief John Nixon said members of the area’s fire safety commission are beginning to meet with village and township leaders about placing a 25-cent property tax rate referendum on the November ballot. If the referendum lands on the ballot and is approved by voters, the owner of a $150,000 home would pay about $140 annually to fund the new operation, Nixon said.

The measure would include separate questions for village and township voters, and approval of both would generate about $1.6 million annually for the fire department, he said.

The proposal from the fire safety commission — made up of township and village officials — would overhaul the confusing system of fire and rescue services in the Antioch area. Currently, the First Fire Protection District of Antioch, the Antioch Rescue Squad and the Antioch Fire Department share responsibility for providing emergency medical service in the 37-square-mile area.

The fire district covers fire calls in the village and the unincorporated areas of the township. Rescue calls are split between the fire department in the village and Antioch Rescue Squad in the unincorporated areas.

Next steps call for village and township boards to sign an intergovernmental agreement naming the Antioch Fire Department as the sole provider of fire and rescue service in the area. The five-member emergency services board would replace the current three-member First Fire Protection District board, Nixon said. That new board — made up of appointed representatives from the village and township — would oversee the fire department operation.

The same intergovernmental agreement would require the village and township to provide any additional funding needed above and beyond the tax levy proceeds.

The fire department would staff three stations to create an overlap of coverage, officials said. Two stations are in the village, which generates 65 percent of the fire calls. The third station on Grass Lake Road would serve unincorporated areas in Antioch Township.

Currently, the village, township, insurance companies and private fundraising donations cover operating costs for the three emergency agencies serving the area. Nixon said it’s impossible to continue funding fire and rescue operations that way.

Antioch Village Administrator Jim Keim said the village pays about $66,000 a month to Metro Paramedic Service to staff village-owned ambulances at the Antioch Fire Department and to handle rescue calls. The village recoups about 50 percent of the total cost from the patients or insurance reimbursements, he said. The difference, he said, falls on the local government to fund.

“We need to find a way to fund this,” Keim said. “Until then, it will put stress on the village’s general fund and a shortfall will exist.” One casualty of the overhaul was the Antioch Rescue Squad (ARS). The First Fire District announced last week it would not renew a contract with Antioch Rescue Squad, ending their partnership. The contract expires in May.

It’s the latest loss for the 75-year-old volunteer-based group beset by problems that have undermined its influence and importance since May 2012. Nixon said the rescue squad operated as a subcontractor for the fire district, and the service wasn’t renewed. ARS Chief Brian DeKind said Friday the group will now shift its focus to community paramedicine, including wellness checks and home health care.

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Antioch First Fire District not renewing with Antioch Rescue Squad

The Daily Herald has an article about a decision by the First Fire District not to renew a contract for EMS with the Antioch Rescue Squad.

The Antioch Rescue Squad (ARS) faces an uncertain future after the First Fire Protection District of Antioch announced it will not renew its emergency management service contract with the volunteer organization in May, cutting ties with the squad after 75 years. The decision announced Tuesday night by the three-member fire district governing board means the troubled rescue squad will no longer provide assistance in Antioch Township on emergency rescue calls or in transporting patients to area hospitals.

In its letter to the ARS governing board, officials from the First Fire Protection District of Antioch said “the time has come for the district to look at options to provide EMS service other than our longtime partnership with ARS.” It said the district will utilize the Antioch Fire Department, the emergency service provider for the village of Antioch, when the current contract expires May 9.

“I’m personally disappointed,” ARS Chief Brian DeKind said Wednesday. “It means, after 75 years of service, the squad will not be providing emergency ambulance care in Antioch.”

The ARS now faces the prospect of having to shift its focus away from emergency medical services or go out of business.

Antioch Rescue Squad members are scheduled to meet Thursday to discuss ways it can continue to serve the community “through programs such as home health care and wellness checks,” DeKind said in a news release. DeKind added that, until last year, the volunteer-based ARS was the sole emergency service provider in Antioch and Antioch Township since 1940.

He stressed that ARS operated without placing a tax burden on the public, instead raising operating funds from donations and memorials. It purchased its own equipment, vehicles and supplies at no cost to taxpayers, he said.

However, trouble started for the ARS in 2012 when a sexual harassment lawsuit was filed by three former members against several rescue squad colleagues and high-ranking rescue squad officials.

That lawsuit led to an Illinois Department of Public Health investigation that revealed some rescue squad members were mistreating patients, allowing employees to begin shifts within hours of excessively drinking alcohol, and slipping medications into the food and drinks of fellow squad members. The state later fined ARS and asked for operational changes.

Also, former Antioch Rescue Squad treasurer John Edgell was charged with theft of more than $10,000 after it was determined he had been taking cash from the squad. He pleaded guilty in November to a misdemeanor count of theft and was forced to pay back $25,000.

The mounting problems pushed former chief Wayne Sobczak to retire and led to former rescue squad President Steve Smouse to step down. DeKind replaced Sobczak and was tasked with rebuilding the squad’s tarnished image.

Village officials and the ARS cut ties in May 2013, resulting in the Antioch Fire Department handling emergency medical calls in the village, and the ARS handling emergency calls in the township.

In Tuesday’s letter announcing the split, the fire district board said its decision to change EMS service to the Antioch Fire Department will put financial, operational and personnel command for emergency services in Antioch and Antioch Township under one unified command. Antioch Fire Department Chief John Nixon said township residents will see no disruption in service when the change takes place May 9.

The letter from the First Fire District to the Antioch Rescue Squad;


thanks FFPM71

And from the Lake County News Sun:

The First Fire Protection District, serving Antioch Township, is terminating its contract May 1 with Antioch Rescue Squad to provide emergency medical services in the township. This follows action taken a year ago by the village of Antioch to terminate its contract with ARS, a not-for-profit organization of volunteers that had provided 911 ambulance service for all Antioch-area residents since it was created in 1940.

In a letter from the First Fire Protection District’s board of directors, the squad was lauded for its service to the community but informed the squad that on May 1 it would be providing EMS services through the Antioch Fire Department.

Ambulance service for village residents is provided using contract personnel and part-time paramedics and EMTs on the fire department staff using village-owned ALS (advanced life support) ambulances.

Fire Chief John Nixon said ambulance service will be provided in both the village and unincorporated area with fire department staff and ambulances. “All of our ambulances will serve both the village and unincorporated areas out of three stations, including two in the village and one on Grass Lake Road in the unincorporated area that is being staffed now by ARS.” He said unincorporated Antioch will continue to see quality EMS care and there will be no lapse in services.

ARS Chief Brian DeKind said the membership will meet later this week to discuss their options. “We could serve other municipalities, but the more realistic approach is to either dissolve the squad or serve the community in a different way, such as privately contracting with residents for medical transportation service. We want to continue to serve the community.”

ARS had updated its policies and procedures, changed leadership and reorganized its board of directors since it was cited and fined in 2012 by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) for violations of EMS protocols, including patient mistreatment, unprofessional conduct, breaches of confidentiality, improper use of medications and IV fluids and ARS paramedics working while under the influence of alcohol. Other issues have plagued the organization, including the arrest and conviction of ARS Treasurer John Edgell for stealing ARS funds, suspension of the licenses of several paramedics and the settlement of a sexual harassment suit made by female paramedics.

DeKind said with the loss last year of the village contract the organization, funded by community support and fundraisers, was facing financial difficulties. “We lost 50 percent of our revenue when we lost the village contract and we were asking for financial support from the First Fire District to make up that shortfall between insurance reimbursement and our costs.”

Both the village and township are moving toward a consolidated services model under the direction of the fire department that would be funded through a separate EMS tax levy.

“It is apparent that the time has come for the district to look at options to provide EMS services other than our long-time partnering with ARS. The district, along with the village of Antioch, is working to establish an EMS tax levy to be decided by the voters in November 2014.”


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Antioch creates fire safety commission

The Daily Herald has an article on a new fire safety commission in Antioch to explore various avenues of cooperation and possibly consolidation of emergency services for both the village and unincorporated township of Antioch.

Residents in Antioch and Antioch Township have … four fire or rescue agencies — First Fire Protection District of Antioch, Antioch Rescue Squad, the Antioch Volunteer Fire Department, and Superior Ambulance Service — provide services to about 28,000 residents in a 37-square-mile area.

But the number of agencies and the niches they’ve carved out in the community have also created a confusing system of service now being targeted for a possible overhaul to make it more simple and efficient, local officials said.

Antioch Village Administrator Jim Keim and Antioch Fire Chief John Nixon are members of a newly created fire safety commission including village, township and fire district officials that has been tasked with cutting through the confusion and replacing it with the best — and most cost-effective — protection available.

Village and township officials acknowledge that board disputes, ownership confusion and the ever-changing needs of fire and rescue have contributed to create a duplication of services in some areas in and around Antioch.

The quilt of emergency services begins with the First Fire Protection District of Antioch, the village of Antioch, and the Antioch Volunteer Fire Department. The volunteer fire department provides fire protection in the village and the fire district answers fire calls in unincorporated areas of the township, Nixon said. Roughly 65 percent of the fire calls are in the village, while 35 percent are elsewhere, he said. The boundaries are less clear when it comes to equipment, manpower and rescue services, officials said.

Nixon said most area fire stations, equipment and fire trucks are co-owned by the fire district and the village. The volunteer fire department also provides manpower to the fire district to fight fires in unincorporated areas. And, rescue calls are split between the Antioch Rescue Squad in unincorporated areas and Superior Ambulance in the village, he said. … Nixon … stepped down as the fire district chief earlier this year but still serves as a commander at the fire district and is chief of the Antioch Volunteer Fire Department.

To address the problem, the commission is reviewing four ideas, and will present the findings to officials from the three boards in January. They are:

• Give control of all the agencies to the fire district, and expand its board to five trustees to include two village-appointed members with a rotating chairman.

• Expand the village fire department operation to cover Antioch and the township, taking over control of the fire district in most areas.

• Completely split the two entities and create a full-time village fire department and a full-time township fire district,

• Keep things as they are, and continue to pool resources and money.

The toughest aspect of any change will likely involve the future of the Antioch Rescue Squad, which has been serving area residents since 1938. In May, the rescue squad elected to end its service in the village after leadership could not come to terms on a contract with the village board. At issue were various conflicts that began when village board members tried to exert more control over the squad after a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by three female squad members that came to light in May 2012. The lawsuit led to the state issuing fines and requesting operational changes at the rescue squad amid findings that squad members had unauthorized access to prescription drugs and patients were mistreated during ambulance runs.

Things worsened when former rescue squad treasurer John Edgell was charged with — and later pleaded guilty to — theft for stealing $25,000 from the squad. Those problems led to township Supervisor Steve Smouse stepping down as the rescue squad president and to the retirement of former rescue squad Chief Wayne Sobczak. The rescue squad is now headed by former Deputy Chief Brian DeKind.

After the rescue squad left the village, its officials signed a one-year contract with the fire district to continue handling rescue calls in unincorporated areas. Superior Ambulance Service was hired at the village’s expense to cover ambulance calls for village residents.

Nixon admitted that, should the various entities consolidate, it could lead to the end of the Antioch Rescue Squad.

Antioch rescue squad Chief Brian DeKind said he favors being a part of the discussion and understands there are many scenarios that could play out before a resolution is reached. “I’m certainly in favor of doing what is in the best interests of the people of Antioch,” he said. 

The idea of consolidating Antioch-area fire and rescue services is not new. A study completed in 2008 by the Illinois Fire Chief’s Association showed the Antioch Volunteer Fire Department, Antioch Rescue Squad and the First Fire Protection District should consolidate, Nixon said, but it was never implemented.

thanks Dan

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Antioch FD to provide EMS in the village (update)

The Lake County News-Sun has an article about the Village of Antioch extending their contract for EMS with Superior.

ANTIOCH — The village will continue to contract with Superior Air-Ground Ambulance Service for 90 more days, extending the initial contract made six months ago when the village terminated its 72-year relationship with the not-for-profit Antioch Rescue Squad.

“We are providing better service to our residents, cutting response time by 15 to 20 seconds,” said Antioch Fire Chief John Nixon. “Under the direction of the fire department, Superior has performed extremely well. We are providing enhanced level of care with our advanced life support engines answering each call with the ambulance. This means that we are sending at least four paramedics and EMTs to every call. Having that kind of response is crucial to dealing with the patient, talking to the family and taking a health history at the same time we are administering care.”

“We have made a transition of EMS services under battlefield conditions and so far, so good. I don’t see us going back to ARS,” said Trustee Dennis Crosby. “The value is being transparent and handling our own destiny,” he said, referring to the ARS policy of not sharing its policies, procedures and revenues with the public. “If we are providing better life-saving service to our residents, it is all worth the time and effort.”

After 90 days, the village will transition to using village-owned ambulances. “We have two fully-equipped ambulances with a third to be purchased and equipped at a future date as back-up,” said Nixon. “The plan is to get the first two ambulances to pass state inspection and get them on the street within the next 90 days.”

A new agreement will be negotiated with Superior or another provider for personnel to staff the ambulances that are housed at Station 1 downtown and Station 2 on Deep Lake Road.

In the first four months that the village has contracted with Superior Ambulance service, the ambulance company responded to 416 calls. The fire department responded to 226 fire calls, doubling village-provided life-safety services, said Nixon, who projects an annual increase from 1,000 fire calls to a combined total of 2,300 fire and EMS calls.

While fire services cost the village $585,000 annually, EMS personnel adds another $818,000 to personnel cost for 12 full-time paramedics with an additional $53,000 annually for each leased ambulance. “We will save $106,000 annually by eliminating the leased ambulances,” said Nixon.

The reason fire personnel costs are lower is that the department only has one full-time employee, Fire Chief Nixon, otherwise utilizing part-time paid, on-call firefighters. “Remember, this is just the village’s portion of the cost for fire services. The actual cost for fire protection is more than $1 million because we share them equally with the First Fire District.”

The village is working with the township, served by the First Fire Protection District, to work out a joint agreement to provide fire and rescue services. Historically the village has shared costs with the fire district for fire protection but each entity has been separately responsible for providing rescue service. The township is continuing to contract with ARS for rescue calls in the township.

The original contract was for 180 days.

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Antioch Fire Department to provide EMS in the village (more)

Recent posts have followed the decision of the Village of Antioch to obtain EMS from the fire department instead of the Antioch Rescue Squad.

Jeff Rudolph submitted this image of an ambulance in one of the fire stations.

Antioch fire has contracted to Superior for medics. This is what they're running
Antioch Fire Department to provide EMS

Superior Ambulacne in the Antioch fire station. Jeff Rudolph photo

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Antioch Village warns Antioch Rescue Squad

The Daily Herald has an article about the Village of Antioch and the Antioch Rescue Squad

The contentious relationship between Antioch officials and the Antioch Rescue Squad has flared, with the village threatening a lawsuit over advertised services it says created a potentially dangerous situation.

The village notified state authorities and issued a cease-and-desist order after learning of the flier, which it says was distributed last week to an unknown number of people including seniors and disabled citizens.

In the flier, ARS claimed to be able to provide emergency medical services within the village, and residents were directed to call a 10-digit number with the promise a 911 dispatcher would send an ambulance.

The rescue squad is composed of volunteers that for 73 years had provided emergency services within the village, but that relationship ended June 1. The village now contracts with Superior Air-Ground Ambulance Service for emergency rescue service in town. The Antioch Rescue Squad provides emergency services only in unincorporated areas in Antioch Township.

According to the rescue squad, no more than 30 copies of the flier were set on a table at the Antioch Township center. Remaining fliers were removed after the village alerted the squad, although 21 fliers could not be collected.

Even if the two-call system worked, according to village officials, several dangerous situations could arise, including a delay that could cost lives and no chance of finding the caller if there is a hang-up or dropped call.

Citizens should call 911 in an emergency, Mayor Lawrence Hanson said Tuesday in a statement.

In a letter Tuesday to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the rescue squad explained its actions, saying it had tried to establish a system for nonemergency care of village residents,

The squad acknowledged it mistakenly said it could provide emergency care in the village, which is not the case. It also said the directive that a 911 dispatcher would send an ambulance was a misstatement, as the contract with a 911 dispatch agency had not been finalized.

Arrangements have been made for calls to the 10-digit number to be forwarded to 911 for proper handling, according to the village.

The rescue squad says it does not collect tax money and provides its service for free. Village officials say taxpayers contributed an estimated $70,000 to $80,000 per year in fuel, rent, dispatch and other services.

Previous articles about the relationship between the village and the rescue squad can be found HERE and HERE.

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Antioch FD to provide EMS in the village (update)

The Chicago Sun-Times has an article about the new EMS services beginning today in the village of Antioch:

Beginning June 1, Superior Air-Ground Ambulance Services will provide emergency medical services for village residents, providing two Advance Life Support (ALS) ambulances staffed daily around the clock from the two village fire stations.

Village officials have agreed to contract with the private ambulance service company for 180 days after the current contract with Antioch Rescue Squad, the village’s EMS provider for the last 72 years, expires at 11:59 pm May 31.

A link to the complete article is HERE.

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Antioch Fire Department to provide EMS in the village

The following announcement was posted to the Antioch Fire Department website:

By Fire Chief John Nixon

May 24, 2013

The Village of Antioch voted at a special board meeting on May 23rd to begin providing ambulance services to the residents of the village directly under the direction of the Antioch Fire Department. Superior Air Ground Ambulance Service, Inc. was awarded a six month contract to provide two fully equipped ambulances and four on-duty fire and EMS personnel beginning June 1st. This action was necessary as a result of the sudden departure by the village’s former EMS provider, the Antioch Rescue Squad. At the May 20th village board meeting ARS declined an offer from the village board to extend their contract to serve village residents and businesses for another six months. Antioch Fire Department will now be the responsible agency for delivery of fire and paramedics services to the community. In addition to the already equipped ALS Engines, fire department ambulances will be placed at fire station 1 on Holbek Drive and fire station 2 on Deep Lake Road to serve village residents.

new ambulance for the Antioch Fire Department

Antioch Fire Department photo

Here is the previous article about the departure of the Antioch Rescue Squad.

thanks Jeff

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