Posts Tagged Fire Chief Brian Leahy

Illinois Fire Chief Receives National Award for Home Fire Sprinkler Advocacy

Excerpts from

The National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Fire Sprinkler Initiative and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition awarded Fire Chief Brian Leahy from the Clarendon Hills (Illinois) Fire Department with the 2015 Bringing Safety Home Award, presented at the Fire Sprinkler Initiative Summit on October 13th in Phoenix, Arizona.

The award recognizes fire service members and other safety advocates who use HFSC’s home fire sprinkler educational materials and Fire Sprinkler Initiative resources to ensure that decision-makers have accurate information as new or updated home fire sprinkler codes are considered.

Fifteen years ago, Chief Leahy spent hours meeting with his mayor and elected officials to educate them about the benefits of home fire sprinklers. His village manager presented him with 33 concerns brought up by those who opposed a fire sprinkler requirement. With limited resources, Leahy addressed every concern. His efforts resulted in the passage of an ordinance requiring fire sprinklers in all new, one- and two-family homes. Clarendon Hills became the fifth community in Illinois to do so, but the ordinance was the first in one of the state’s teardown-and-rebuild community. Leahy’s list to the village manager is known as the Clarendon Hills “List of 33” and is still used as a resource in other communities looking to enact home fire sprinkler requirements in new homes.

Today, more than 700 Clarendon Hills homes and the families that occupy them are protected with fire sprinklers.

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Clarendon Hills looks to expand fire station

Excerpts from the

A space needs study completed by an architectural firm having extensive experience with fire stations indicates a need for an addition to the Clarendon Hills station, 316 Park Ave.

FGM Architects, which did the $6,150 study and has designed more than 200 fire stations, provided preliminary cost estimates for three options: building a one-story addition to the existing structure at a cost of $1.6 million, not including the cost of land acquisition of an adjacent bank parking lot; a two-story addition priced at $3.6 million; and building a new facility on a different site for $6 million.

The existing facility, built in 1962, has 6,354 square feet; an addition of 4,405 is recommended, an increase of about 70 percent.

Fire Chief Brian Leahy said a single-story addition is preferred.  “The two-story addition, while not requiring land acquisition, is not preferred because it will involve putting in two stairways plus an elevator and raises certain safety concerns for fire personnel,” Leahy said.

“Some of the safety concerns identified by fire station designers include the prevention of injuries while firefighters are rushing down stairways when responding to emergency calls,” he said.

The study states that the department’s administration has outgrown the capacity of the facility. All of the offices are undersized, including one that personnel from several different areas share. The growth of the department has warranted the need for a separate office for training, fire prevention, emergency medical services and the deputy chief functions, the study states.

Other needed expansions and additions, according to the study, include the lobby and radio area, a 10-person conference room for larger meetings, additional bunk room space for potential future expansion or growth in storage needs, a separate entry to the bunk room, a fitness room and increasing the training/meeting room to its original size, allowing for a capacity of 35 to 40 people. The training room has a current capacity of 21.



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New ambulance in Clarendon Hills

Excerpts from the Chicago Tribune:

It’s a good thing Clarendon Hills officials decided to keep their old ambulance as a backup when they purchased a new $259,000 vehicle in December 2014.

The 2015 Freightliner/Horton ambulance, delivered Dec. 11, has been out of service since Feb. 23 because of cracks on the inside wall, said Fire Chief Brian Leahy. It is expected to be out for repairs until late March.

“There was some major cracking, and we took it back to the dealer,” Leahy said.

The dealer is Foster Coach Sales, Inc., a Sterling, Ill., company that only sells ambulances. They sent the ambulance to the manufacturer, Horton Ambulance, in Ohio.

“On March 9, it’s going to be disassembled and then reassembled,” Leahy said. “It started with one crack and then five cracks a week later. The whole inside needs to be taken apart and put back together.”

While he is disappointed about having the ambulance out of service just months after it arrived, Leahy is confident everything will be fine in the end.

“It’s a glitch; I don’t think it’s a lemon,” Leahy said. “The problem is cosmetic, but it needs to be fixed.”

While the new ambulance is being fixed, Clarendon Hills has its 2008 ambulance back in service. The original plan was to trade in or sell the old ambulance. That process led to two verbal offers of $30,000 each.

However, Leahy said internal discussions led to the idea of keeping the 2008 ambulance as a reserve to be used when the new ambulance is temporarily out of service for regular maintenance, mechanical failure, or because of being involved in an accident. The fire department has traditionally operated with only one ambulance. A ladder truck is equipped with some medical gear, but cannot transport anyone needing to go to the hospital.

Leahy said the department would work without a backup ambulance while the new one is being fixed. However, Foster Coach Sales has offered to provide a loaner if needed.

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