Posts Tagged Dekalb Fire Department

Dekalb Fire Department news

Excerpts from the northernstar.com:

DeKalb Fire Chief Jeff McMaster will retire after 26 years of working with the DeKalb Fire Department on Nov. 27. 

McMaster wanted to be a firefighter for as long as he can remember. Growing up in Chicago, he would walk past a fire station to get to school, and it really appealed to him. His favorite TV show was Emergency, which is about the Los Angeles County Fire Department. He saw firefighters as heroes, which drew him into the fire service. 

McMaster received his bachelor’s degree in business from DeVry University. Despite his business degree, he knew he still wanted to be a firefighter, so he was testing for departments while he was in college. 

He found his way to the DeKalb Fire Station after he explored the town when he found out about their testing. He was impressed with the structure of the fire station and its vehicles. He knew he wanted to be here because it was so different from where he grew up in Chicago, and he liked how the community of DeKalb was so put together. 

The best part about his job is seeing people help each other and the community coming together after a car accident or a house fire. McMaster said people would help bring the firefighters in or get food and drinks for the families affected. During his time as chief, he said his proudest moments came from being one of the largest response agencies during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

McMaster gravitated to the public education team because he wanted to do more to reach the community and teach everyone from kids to the elderly how to be safer. He would teach children about smoke, educate people on CPR or fire extinguishers, and the elderly how to not fall and what to do in case of emergency. 

McMaster has also been on the Hazardous Materials Team since 1999. 

He chose to retire after he evaluated what’s good for the department and himself. 

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Dekalb Fire Department news

Excerpts from the daily-chronicle.com:

The Dekalb City Council will consider on Monday whether to begin a fleet leasing program. Funding for what city staff said are priority vehicles such as fire apparatus and large dump trucks for snow removal has been hard to come by, documents show. The fiscal 2020 budget accounts for a new fire engine expected to cost more than half a million dollars.

A 2017 look at the state of DeKalb’s police and fire vehicles, as well as equipment utilized by the Public Works Department, found that vehicles have been in a state of decline since 2006. Of the 173 vehicles in the city’s fleet, 95 of them were deemed to be beyond their useful life. Finding funds in the city’s capital budget has been a continuous yearly challenge. As an alternative, the city will consider options to lease new vehicles instead of buying them.

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Dekalb Fire Department history (more)

Excerpts from northernstarinfo.com:

Saturday, DeKalb firefighters celebrated 150 years of serving the city. The event was held in the Barsema Alumni Center from 5 to 10 p.m. Firefighters, friends, and family gathered to commemorate past and current firefighters. Attendees stepped into a cocktail hour as soon as they entered the foyer.  There were speeches and a PowerPoint presentation.  History played a major role in the celebration. DeKalb’s fire department began as a volunteer-only operation in 1869. During that time, DeKalb was a growing community that needed protection from fire. The slideshow gave details about DeKalb’s fire department, the men that served and major fires during that time. The presentation ended with the mission for the department’s future endeavors.

The event was sponsored by the DeKalb Firefighters Historical Foundation, which was founded in 2012.

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Dekalb Fire Department history

Excerpts from the daily-chronicle.com:

The DeKalb Fire Department – which began as a volunteer-only department in 1869 – is celebrating 150 years of operation in the city. Community members, retirees, and all on the roster are invited to attend a celebration Oct. 12 at Northern Illinois University’s Barsema Alumni Center. Tickets cost $50 a person and can be purchased at www.eventbrite.com before Friday.

Albert Riippi remembers being a firefighter in DeKalb in 1949 before modern technology came into the picture and said that when a feather mattress was burning, he’d choke down smoke and crawl into the building without a mask. 

Riippi, who turns 93 on Halloween, had a long career with the DeKalb Fire Department. He was in from September 1949 to March 1952 when he left to pursue a dream with the National Football League. After injuries sidelined him, he returned to DeKalb in August 1959 and worked with the fire department until February 1986, retiring after seven years as fire chief. He played for the Green Bay Packers and served in the Navy on Okinawa during World War II, and has seen his fair share of historic fires. He was the on-duty captain during the fire at St. Mary Church in 1974, and also worked the fire at Grant Towers in 1972 on the NIU campus.

He wasn’t yet 21 when he wanted to go into the police service full time, so he decided to don the firefighter’s coat instead, and said he always liked being part of a team. He said he made about $215 a month as a firefighter at the now demolished fire station that sat on the corner of Fourth Street and Lincoln Highway from 1903 to 1979 and was built for $10,200.

During Riippi’s time and for many years after, the station operated by a box alarm, pre-radio and internet. Phone lines across the city connected to a box alarm, with large bells that would ring if someone pulled the alarm near their home. The department still has the box alarm displayed in the basement of Fire Station No. 1.

Firefighters said they try to host Riippi among other local retirees once a week for breakfast at the fire station, and said they consider themselves family.

The department’s first chief was William Miller, who was barbed-wire inventor Isaac Ellwood’s brother-in-law. He served when the department was volunteer, from 1870 to 1903. Pictures of him adorn the living room at Fire Station No. 1, which was built in 1971. Station No. 2 on South Seventh Street was built in 1956, and Station No. 3 on Dresser Road in 1994.

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Dekalb Fire Department news

Excerpts from the dailychronicle.com:

For the fifth year in a row, the firefighters at DeKalb Fire Station 1 partnered with the DeKalb Classroom Teachers’ Association to help local kids stay warm in the winter months. They opened the station doors Saturday morning to area children and provided brand-new winter coats, doughnuts, and juice.

Like thousands of their colleagues across North America, these firefighters partnered with Operation Warm – a nonprofit that manufactures new winter coats for kids in need – to get the job done. They also had help from local sources, such as DeKalb Township, which donated $1,000.

Members of DeKalb School District 428’s teachers union, meanwhile, recommended students from their schools who could use the help. Knights of Columbus members helped hand out the coats, and Thrivent Financial put together a tote bag for each child, stuffed with gloves, a winter hat, hot cocoa, Crayons, a coloring book, and an eraser.

DeKalb’s Operation Warm volunteers handed out 120 coats this year, doubling 2017’s total. Hopefully, they’ll be able to continue helping take the pressure off local families and teachers for years to come.

 

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Dekalb Fire Department news

Excepts from the daily-chronicle.com:

Since 1985, the Dekalb Fire Department staffing numbers have increased by three firefighters, while call load has more than doubled, which concerns DeKalb Fire Chief Eric Hicks as potential staff cuts loom for the city’s fiscal 2019 budget.

The fire department is under pressure from the city to cut organization costs to alleviate a $1.6 million budget deficit. The department stands to lose one firefighter and the deputy chief of operations position, which could be eliminated through attrition.

In 1985, the city had two fire stations, a minimum of 10 firefighters on duty, and three administrative chiefs. By 1990, unchanged staffing levels responded to 2,620 requests for service. By 2005, the number of calls jumped to 4,109, adding a minimum daily staff of 13 firefighters.

Staffing levels peaked in 2008, with 4,977 calls for service and a minimum of 14 firefighters between three stations. The city faced big budget cuts in 2008 and 2009 because of the recession.

The 2017 fire department service level review shows 5,573 calls for service, with a minimum of 13 firefighters on duty. Fire Station No. 1 staffs each shift with five firefighters, while stations No. 2 and No. 3 staff four firefighters a shift.

Services include a technical rescue team, a hazardous materials team in partnership with the Sycamore Fire Department, and an airport rescue firefighting team. Current socioeconomic conditions in relation to access to health care have caused a spike in emergency medical service calls. Substantial changes also have been made to the active shooter program since the 2008 shooting on Northern Illinois University’s campus, which claimed five lives.

The 2018 call volume already is up from 2017 levels, and could end the year with more than 6,000 calls for service, the highest the department has seen. The department continues to operate at a minimum of 13 firefighters a shift, although a recent staff resignation has called for overtime.

The only salaried members of the staff are the fire chief, deputy chief of operations, and deputy chief of training . All three positions operate in a primarily administrative capacity and do not receive overtime pay. They are expected, however, to be on call 24/7, unlike firefighters who receive overtime pay only if they return to duty for a shift recall, which happens on a need-to-fill basis dependent on response calls and emergency needs.

The fire chief previously has said that if the department was staffed efficiently, overtime costs would be reduced.

Nearly all – 96 percent – of the fire department’s budget goes to personnel costs: wages, insurance, overtime, pension, and other contractual obligations. The fiscal 2018 personnel budget was more than $10 million. The 2017 nonpersonnel budget – for vehicle maintenance, building and grounds, public education, administrative costs such as gasoline for the fleet, electricity and office supplies – was $353,812. Right now, the department needs to repair a broken ladder truck, which will cost $20,000.

The fire chief said he knows the city has talked about “boots on the ground” versus administration, but said “you have to remember you have an $11.5 million operation, you need some administration to run that, and even a minor reduction in staff is an issue.”

Recent informal budget talks suggest the deputy chief of operations position will be cut, but the suggested firefighter cut and authorized overtime will be denied.

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Dekalb Fire Department history

Excerpts from the daily-chronicle.com:

The DeKalb Fire Department has been a cornerstone of the DeKalb community for almost 150 years, saving lives and property. For October’s Local Lore presentation, the Ellwood House Museum will welcome Capt. Luke Howieson of the DeKalb Fire Department.

Howieson will outline the history of the fire department, from the beginning as a volunteer fire company in 1869 to the ready-for-anything, trained and equipped career department it is today. This presentation also will focus on the connections between the fire department and the Ellwood family. Several historical artifacts and photos will be on hand for viewing, as well as antique and modern fire equipment.

In honor of Fire Prevention Month, the presentation will be at noon Oct. 20 at the Ellwood House Museum Visitor Center, 509 N. First St. in DeKalb. The event is free of charge and visitors are welcome to bring a sack lunch.

Local Lore is a series of adult lectures. Each month – March through November – a knowledgeable guest speaker presents a unique one-hour program relating to DeKalb County history. Lectures are free to attend. This year, Local Lore is being presented in partnership with DeKalb area historic sites and museums, including Glidden Homestead, Gurler Heritage Association, Egyptian Theatre, Joiner History Room and DAAHA. The series is funded in part by the Mary E. Stevens Concert and Lecture Fund.

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2-Alarm fire in Dekalb, 9-16-17

This from Andy Russell:

I took in a fire Saturday night in Dekalb.  The fire was at 201 N 6th Street.  It’s a 2-story commercial building that had a deli/bakery on the first floor where the fire was located.  There was a lot of smoke and the crews did a great job of getting in and getting it knocked down quickly.  It was upgraded to a 2nd alarm, but only the box alarm companies were used.  
Andy 
Dekalb fire scene

Andy Russell photo

Dekalb fire scene

Andy Russell photo

Dekalb fire scene

Andy Russell photo

Dekalb fire scene

Andy Russell photo

Dekalb fire scene

Andy Russell photo

Dekalb fire scene

Andy Russell photo

Dekalb fire scene

Andy Russell photo

Dekalb fire scene

Andy Russell photo

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Dekalb Fire Department news

Excerpts from the daily-chronicle.com:

DeKalb Firefighter/Paramedic Jared Thorp, 28, was the first member of his department to earn the state’s highest honor for a firefighter, which he received at the Illinois Fallen Firefighter Memorial and Fire Fighting Medal of Honor Awards on May 9 in Springfield.

He and his girlfriend were running errands the evening of July 5, 2016. His scanner went off, reporting two people trapped in a burning house on North 14th Street, just south of Dresser Road. It turns out there was only one, Thorp learned from the rest of the family outside. He entered the house, went up the stairs and located the boy in the first bedroom on the left.

“He was stuck kind of behind the door, so I had to force the door open,” Thorp said.

He was able to roll the boy a couple of times to get the door open, but was quickly overcome by the smoke, so he made his way back to the front porch. Hearing sirens, he checked to see whether any engines were in sight … and went back inside.

“I knew I only had a few seconds to make it back up there and see if I could do something,” Thorp said. “Conditions had changed drastically since I’d come back down. Way more heat, way more smoke. Visibility was out the window. I decided instead of making myself another victim, I’d come back down.”

DeKalb Truck Co. 1 and Engine Co. 2 arrived and completed the rescue. Firefighters Jon Ritter and Matt Holuj carried the boy down the stairs and put him on a cot outside, then threw their coats and packs off and worked the patient in the ambulance.

“You can’t ever speculate, but it could have taken them the extra time,” Thorp said. “They wouldn’t have known exactly where to go. They might have searched other rooms, and that probably would have added another minute or two. It’s just one of those things where you’re just geared as a fireman, you’re cranked up and know what’s going on. You look at the house and [can] tell you have some time.”

The two companies also were honored in Springfield. 

“That was a great feeling,” Ritter said. “It’s not every day you get to pull someone out of a fire, let alone have it be a successful mission.”

Thorp signed up for the job because his dad, Bruce, did, as a volunteer with the Hinckley Fire Protection District. He still serves on its board of trustees. Jared, who still lives in Hinckley, started classes at Indian Valley Vocational Center and was in the Hinckley department’s cadet program at age 16 – and right up until he joined the DeKalb department in 2012.

Thorp was one of three to receive the Medal of Honor, and he became the department’s second individual honoree – Joe Cahill received the Valor Award in the early 2000s.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing in your career,” Thorp said. “I work with a great group of guys who make me look good. They did all the dirty work. It’s an honor to come to work every day and serve the citizens. Obviously, we don’t sign up in this career to look for awards.”

thanks Dan

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Dekalb Fire Department news

Excerpts from the DailyChronicle.com:

The DeKalb Fire Department secured a $239,000 federal grant to buy a mobile training tower for high-rise fires and the city of DeKalb provided a $21,727 match.

Having the mobile tower gives the fire department permanent training equipment, as well as a tool to learn how to fight fires in taller structures. Officials said the DeKalb area has some 30 buildings that would be considered high-rise.  The mobile tower is about the height of a four-story building. It is equipped with a four-landing staircase, six windows, a smoke machine, standpipe and sprinkler systems, and a confined space simulator.

The money for the mobile tower came from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant. The annually awarded grants are for critically needed resources to equip and train emergency personnel to recognized standards, enhance operations efficiencies, foster interoperability, and support community resilience.

Historically, the fire department has relied on donations of houses and other structure that were to eventually be demolished to use for training. Although the home donations are unpredictable and sometimes sporadic, even with now having the mobile tower, the homes are still needed.

The tower is currently housed at the DeKalb Municipal Airport, but can be dropped off at any of the department’s three stations to conduct training drills. Firefighters have not begun training in the mobile tower yet, but they will start in the coming weeks. DFD is looking for a permanent storage space for the tower, especially since it has to be stored indoors during the winter months.

DeKalb fire officials plan to allow other fire departments in the county to use the tower for training.

“Right now, DeKalb (county) fire departments, even though we work very well together, we don’t train together. This is really going to help us to strengthen that bond,” said Jeff McMaster, DeKalb deputy fire chief.

 

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