Posts Tagged Evanston Fire Chief Brian Scott

Evanston Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from the

Evanston Fire Station 4 will remain open following the approval of the city’s 2019 operating budget, ensuring service levels and response times will be maintained at the current standard. Aldermen voted 6-3 to approve the city’s 2019 operating budget at a Nov. 19 council meeting, granting the city more than $319 million for the next year. The budget, which seeks to fill a projected $7.4 million deficit, was released at the beginning of October and includes a number of expense reductions and revenue increases.

The closure of the station was included in the city’s first draft of its budget which estimated a $1.2 million cut to EFD. The cut would have eliminated nine staff positions, the proposed station closure and the resulting elimination of its fire engine. Station 4 — located at 1817 Washington St. — is in the 2nd Ward and services the southwest region of Evanston.

Now, the department will hold some vacancies open and cut parts of its community engagement programming for the next fiscal year.

During a Nov. 5 council meeting, aldermen overwhelmingly opposed the possible station closure, referring to increased response times and also pointing out the fact that many residents rely on firefighters for medical care.

EFD’s call volume has increased by 51 percent over the past 35 years, and is expected to increase by 2 percent per year moving forward.

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Evanston Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from the

Evanston aldermen signaled on Monday that they will not approve a proposal to eliminate nine firefighter positions and close and sell one of the city’s five fire stations in an effort to balance the 2019 budget. Aldermen said they see the importance of not reducing the fire department.

However, they did ask Fire Chief Brian Scott to think long-term about how the department could reduce costs, as city coffers are not expected to increase significantly anytime soon. The fire department expenses make up 22 percent of the Evanston budget’s general fund.

The fire department responded to 90 fires in 2017. About 65 percent of calls for service required a paramedic response. Almost all of Evanston’s firefighters are trained as paramedics, and all fire engines are ALS equipped. About 45 percent of calls occurred at the same time as another call in town, so engines regularly shuffle around the city to make sure all neighborhoods are covered in case of an emergency.

Since the early 1980s, “the department has lost staffing by 10 percent, call volume continues to increase and firefighters are asked to do more and more with the same amount of resources or even less,” Scott said.

Many of the calls for medical help come from repeat patients who don’t have insurance and depend on paramedics for care. The department is working with Presence St. Francis Hospital in Evanston to identify those people and get them into programs that could help them. Ideally that would ease the demand on the department and save taxpayers money.

The city council discussion comes as Evanston expects to face a $7.4 million deficit in the proposed $110 million spending plan for 2019. The anticipated shortfall comes from a $4.9 million shortage in the general fund, $1 million for bond payments for construction of the new Robert Crown Community Center and $1.5 million needed in the reserve fund, according to the budget proposal.

The reserve fund, which ideally should have 16.6 percent of the city’s annual operating expenses, ended 2017 at 12.8 percent. Aldermen are expected to vote on the 2019 budget later this month. The city’s new fiscal and budget year starts Jan. 1.

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Evanston Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from the

In his proposed 2019 City budget, City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz would close Fire Station 4, 1817 Washington St. Not only is this station Evanston’s smallest station, it is the only one serving the southwest side of the city. Closing the station would entail laying off one firefighter/paramedic and re-assigning the other firefighters/paramedics to other stations.

He said in a press briefing on Oct. 4 he felt closing the station was justified because it is the smallest one and other fire stations could cover the calls and since there is no ambulance at that station, the overall impact of the service cuts would be less than if another station were closed.

The fire chief and the firefighters union, Local 742, apparently could not disagree more. Closing a fire station would increase response times, thereby increasing both the risk of injury and death to victims and firefighters and the likelihood of property damage.

Fire Chief Brian Scott said he holds the safety of the community as his highest priority and although he understands the need for a rigorous review of all city departments in a budgetary squeeze, he is opposed to cutting any safety services to Evanston residents.

Closing Station 4 would increase the response times not only to the homes and businesses in southwest Evanston by more than 50% but would also generally increase times to structures in other parts of the city, if a call came to a station where the units were deployed elsewhere.

There are five fire stations in Evanston’s eight square miles: two on Central Street, one on Emerson Street, one on Madison Street and one on Washington Street.  All five stations are equipped with an engine company; two also have truck companies, and two have ambulances. All units are equipped with advanced life-safety equipment and the firefighters are also trained paramedics.

As the busiest fire department on the North Shore, the Evanston handles more than 10,000 calls each year – about 45% of which are concurrent with other calls. Judging by the past few years, Chief Scott expects that number will increase by about 2% each year.

Effective Oct. 1, the Evanston Fire Department has a Class 1 rating from the Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO) for fire protection services. The ranking puts Evanston in the top 1% of the more than 47,000 fire departments across the nation ISO has evaluated.

Evanston’s mix of single-family homes, commercial structures and high-rises pose a mix of hazards, according to NFPA 1710 – low for single-family homes, medium for commercial structures and high for high-rises. The minimum daily staffing for low-hazard structures is 15, 28 for medium-hazards, and 43 for high-hazard.

The average response time for the Evanston Fire Department is three minutes, 15 seconds – 45 critical seconds below the four-minute response time of the NFPA 1710.

Response time is critical in both fire and life-safety emergencies. Many home and commercial furnishings are petro-chemically based, so they are more combustible and burn hotter than flammable materials in the past. At a certain point – generally in eight to 10 minutes – a fire will flashover. It is vital that firefighters apply water before flashover to save lives and minimize property damage.

Because all Evanston fire trucks are equipped with advanced life-safety equipment and cross-trained paramedics, the fact that there is no ambulance at Fire Station 4 does not necessarily mean that residents and businesses in the area are short-changed in medical emergencies. Dispatched to a 911 EMS call, firefighters can begin life-saving procedures while an ambulance is on its way. 

Although Southwest Evanston is near both the Chicago and Skokie borders, it is not reasonable to rely on firefighters in either of those communities to respond immediately to an emergency in Evanston. Fire companies in neighboring communities can help in a multi-alarm fire, but each department is responsible first to the residents of its own community.

Firefighters and the chief are holding firm against the closing of Fire Station 4. Many residents here are similarly opposed to closing the station and cutting services.

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Evanston Fire Department news

From the

Aldermen at Monday’s City Council meeting approved an expansion of the city’s employment opportunities fund, allowing low-income firefighter applicants to be reimbursed for application and testing fees.

Reimbursements will come from a reserve account of deposits collected from construction companies that violate the city’s Local Employment Program — which requires that at least 25 percent of the company’s labor force consist of women, minorities, or area residents.

Evanston Fire Chief Brian Scott said the change will help the Evanston Fire Department diversify its force by eliminating a potential cost barrier: Application fees are roughly $25 and the physical agility test costs between $165 and $175. Applicants may receive up to $200 from the fund. Aldermen want to change how the fund works so that it can become a direct payment to the institution, instead of a reimbursement. This would prevent residents from having to come up with the funds while waiting for reimbursement. 

In the past, the pool was only available for union construction workers looking to be reimbursed for certificate training programs. The deposits currently total around $80,000.

thanks Dan

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Evanston Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

The Evanston Fire Department announced at a Tuesday meeting that it is considering the implementation of mobile healthcare as part of its community outreach program.

In its first ever community meeting, the fire department sought input from Evanston residents for a review of their 2014 strategic plan, which remains in effect until 2020. Division Chief Paul Polep said though EFD primarily interacts with community members at their worst moments, the department is trying to expand its outreach.

But four police department officials were greeted Tuesday night by an empty room at the Levy Senior Center.

In a discussion of their strategic plan, Fire Chief Brian Scott said the department was considering investing in a cutting edge mobile integrated healthcare program to Evanston.

The mobile healthcare program would allow residents to be treated in their own home instead of at the hospital. Under the new model, a nurse practitioner or physician assistant capable of making diagnoses and writing prescriptions would be sent to the patient’s home.

“It’s a better way to better serve the community,” Scott said. “It’s a better way to address people who have chronic health issues because sometimes 911 is all they have.”

This program could also be used by residents who suffer from serious illnesses like diabetes.

The mobile physician assistants and nurse practitioners would be provided by Presence Saint Francis Hospital and NorthShore University HealthSystem.

Scott said he looked to the Rockford Fire Department for inspiration after it implemented the program in 2014 through a partnership with SwedishAmerican. The fire department saw a 54 percent decrease in emergency department visits, a 38 percent drop in ambulance runs and a 28 percent reduction in hospital admissions by patients enrolled in the program.

The department’s goals extend beyond the mobile healthcare program. Scott said he also foresees the potential use of drones in future operations.

Scott, himself a recreational drone owner, said the drones could be used for extended operations including lakefront rescues and surveillance of buildings damaged by large disasters.

There will be two more community meetings on Nov. 4 and Nov. 15 where residents will have the opportunity to provide feedback regarding the strategic plan, Scott said. There is also an online survey where residents can express their expectations for the department.

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Evanston Fire Department news

Excerpts from

The City of Evanston announced the appointment of Brian Scott as Evanston fire chief effective Monday, January 9, 2017. City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz appointed Scott following a national search that began following the retirement of Chief Greg Klaiber in September.

“Brian Scott competed against a national pool of candidates for the position of fire chief. He proved that with his long experience as a fire professional as well as his keen understanding of the Evanston Fire Department that he is the best person for this job,” said Bobkiewicz.

A 17-year veteran of the Evanston Fire Department, Scott began his career as a firefighter/paramedic in December 1999. He was promoted to captain/paramedic in 2006, and became division chief of operations and training in 2014. In September 2015, Scott was promoted to deputy chief of operations and training, where he directed and led fire suppression operations and managed the department’s fire prevention bureau. Scott has served as co-chair of the department’s training committee, as a member of the EMS committee, and on the rescue dive team.

Scott is currently a field instructor for the Illinois Fire Service Institute in Urbana-Champaign, and is pursuing his Chief Fire Officer Certification through the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association. He has a Master’s of Science Degree in Public Safety Administration from Lewis University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Southern Illinois University, along with numerous fire training certificates from the Illinois State Fire Marshall and the Illinois Fire Service Institute.

Chief Scott will be recognized at the Evanston City Council meeting on January 9, 2017.

thanks Drew

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