Posts Tagged East Peoria Fire Chief Al Servis

East Peoria Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

The East Peoria Fire Department now has four certified arson investigators on its staff; that’s twice the number of the Peoria Fire Department, a department five times its size.

“We’re happy to have our newest certified arson investigator and are comfortable with the staffing (number),” East Peoria Fire Chief Al Servis said Thursday. “It allows us to have an arson investigator on every shift.”

According to Assistant Chief John Knapp, the East Peoria Fire Department investigated 30 to 40 fires in 2015. Of those, 25-30 percent, or about nine or 10 fires, were suspected arson.

Firefighter Eric Duckworth completed the five-week Southwestern Illinois Police Academy’s Basic Arson Investigator Course at the Downers Grove Fire Department last week.

On July 5, the Peoria City Council will vote on a resolution classifying Duckworth as a peace officer for arson investigations. The designation gives Duckworth the same powers of arrest and search and seizure as a police officer, and authorizes him to carry a firearm while investigating arson or arson-related crimes. The tuition includes the 40-hour mandatory firearms training and certification.

“Illinois law allows local agencies to have arson investigators that are sworn peace officers. Their powers as a peace officer are restricted to when they are in the process of an active arson investigation,” said Jacquelyn Reineke, spokeswoman for the State Fire Marshal’s Office. “They cannot make traffic stops or any other police action outside of the scope of an arson investigation.”

Duckworth has been a member of the East Peoria Fire Department for 16 years and a fire investigator for seven years.

The department’s three other arson investigators — assistant chiefs Knapp and Rick Ward and firefighter Mike Menssen — are also designated peace officers. A fifth member of the department, Firefighter Tony Piraino, is a fire investigator, a designation and position that lacks the policing authority to carry a gun and arrest people.

In February, the city bestowed peace officer designation on one of its code enforcement officers, believed to be the first of its kind in Illinois. Like the arson investigator, the designation allows the code enforcement officer to arrest people and carry a firearm while on duty. The code officer was a retired East Peoria police officer and had already completed the firearms certification. City officials said at the time that it was a unique situation, and that the city wasn’t going to start sending or paying for its code enforcement officers to attend firearms training.

The Peoria Fire Department has two fire investigators and two fire inspectors. The department has more than 200 sworn firefighters and responded to more than 19,000 emergency calls last year. The East Peoria Fire Department has about 40 firefighters and responded to 3,737 calls in 2015.

thanks Dan

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East Peoria Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

When moving to a community, people often look at education, taxes and amenities that a city offers. One amenity that people may not be aware of in East Peoria is that the cardiac arrest survival rate is twice the national average, due to the efforts and training of the East Peoria Fire Department.

City Commissioner John Kahl, who is over public health and safety, presented a report about the fire department with statistics compiled by Fire Chief Al Servis. 

“I don’t know of any other community south of I-80 that has that [survival rate],” he said. 

The night before Kahl gave this presentation, his fellow city commissioner Dan Decker, who is an East Peoria firefighter, was involved in saving a life.  “Commissioner Decker was on duty last night and once again, they revived one of our citizens that was in full cardiac arrest,” Kahl said.

The fire department consists of 45 members with a total budget of $5.6 million for 2015-16. Under Servis, there are three assistant fire chiefs who have dual roles. One serves as a fire marshal, one oversees fire training and operations, and the other  is the EMS coordinator. Each shift has three lieutenants and 13 firefighters. 

“Not only has [Chief Servis] done an outstanding job to date, he is our first paramedic fire chief” Kahl said.

On Sept. 1, other history was made as the first female company officer, Veronica Marmitt was promoted to lieutenant. 

In 2015, the fire department had 3,737 calls and 9,231 responses. Of the 3,737 calls, 2,640 were emergency/medical and 77 were fires. The call volume in 2015 increased 11.5 percent over 2014.

The East Peoria Fire Department is unique in central Illinois, Kahl said, because everyone is advanced life support certified.

In 2015, there were 28 structure fires. The fire department responded: 71 percent of the time in under 5 minutes; 82 percent of the time in under 6 minutes; and 98 percent of the time in under 8 minutes.

The total value of the buildings that caught fire in 2015 was $690,000. Of that amount, $155,000 was considered a loss.

The fire department offers free instruction in CPR, with over 300 students trained in 2015.

“We had 850 business inspections by company officers and that’s going to be tied into one of the goals this year … a need to integrate code enforcement and inspections. We actually have over 1,500 businesses here in East Peoria, and as we continue to grow there’s a real need to change the way we do business from a life safety standpoint,” Kahl said.


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