Posts Tagged Fire Chief Brian Scott

Evanston Fire Department news

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Evanston’s firefighters responded to twice as many calls during the daytime hours than they do at night, but the city’s 24-hour duty schedule for firefighters means staffing doesn’t vary with the predictable shift in demand. While police officers in Evanston work eight-hour shifts, permitting variation in staffing during different day parts, the 24-hour schedule for firefighters precludes that option. That scheduling pattern for the fire service is very common across the country, although a variety of other schedules, including eight and 12 hour shifts and split 10 and 14 hour shifts are also in use.

Calls for service data provided by Fire Chief Brian Scott show that the number of calls for Evanston’s five fire engines, two trucks, and two ambulances range from a low of one call every two hours in the pre-dawn darkness to more than one-and-a-half calls per hour at mid-day. Roughly two out of every three calls are ambulance runs.In addition to an ambulance, a fire engine is dispatched for every ambulance call.

Evanston Fire Department average hourly call volume

Some reports have raised questions about the health and safety impact of working 24-hour long shifts. And reports are mixed about which pattern is most efficient from a scheduling and overtimestandpoint.

Fire department data shows that Evanston’s ambulances are by far the most heavily used vehicles in the Evanston fire fleet. Ambulance 21 is on calls nearly 29 percent of the time, while Truck 23 is in use less than 7 percent of the time.

Evanston Fire Department unit utilization summary

The Glenview Fire Department has come up with a partial solution to the varying level of demand across different day parts. It runs two ambulances 24-hours a day and staffs a third ambulance for 12 hours each day — from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Glenview’s department serves a population of about 60,000 people in the village and adjacent unincorporated areas with four engines and one truck in addition to its ambulances.

Evanston’s Chief Scott says a third ambulance would help reduce call volume for the existing two ambulances which are extremely busy, but he says given the current budget deficit it would be extremely difficult to fund the addition of even 12 more hours of ambulance service.

The city manager has proposed closing Fire Station 4, which would eliminate the jobs of nine firefighters. If instead of closing the station, which now houses an engine, an ambulance operating for 12 hours a day were stationed there, it would make it possible to reduce the impact of the loss of the engine on service levels while still eliminating six of the nine firefighter jobs proposed to be cut.

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New dive van for Evanston

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The Evanston Fire Department has added another vehicle to its fleet — a refurbished ambulance that’s now being used as an equipment van for the dive rescue team.

The conversion of the old Evanston ambulance was funded by the Foreign Fire Tax Board, at an estimated cost of $20,000.

Dive Rescue 21, now housed at Fire Station #1, went into service Wednesday..

“The goal was to design and build a vehicle, which would give divers the ability to get in the water faster and more efficiently. We accomplished our goal by using an old ambulance, which gives us a larger amount of space within the rear compartment and allows each of the nine divers to have their equipment in a constant state of readiness. When it comes to water emergencies, time is critical, and every second counts,” said Captain David Smrha. 

Fire Chief Brian Scott says the underwater rescue team previously stored its equipment in Squad 21, a heavy rescue shared by all five special teams, but as the amount of equipment for each team has increased over the years, that left the dive team without enough room to store its gear in a way that it could be quickly accessed in an emergency.

The dive team responded to eight incidents in 2015..

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Evanston Fire Department news

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Evanston aldermen voted Monday to approve the conversion of a retired city ambulance to become a dedicated underwater rescue response vehicle for the fire department.

The roughly $20,000 cost of the conversion is to be paid for by the foreign fire tax on fire insurance policies bought from out-of-state companies.

Fire Chief Brian Scott says the underwater rescue team now stores its equipment in Squad 21, a multi-purpose heavy rescue vehicle shared by all five department special rescue teams.

But as the amount of equipment for each team has increased over the years, it’s left the dive team without enough room to store its gear in a ready position, slowing responses to emergency situations.

Scott says the cost of the converstion work — largely to add new aluminum storage boxes, brackets and cabinetry to the old ambulance — is less than a fifth the cost of a new rescue vehicle, and that the old ambulance would probably bring no more than $15,000 at auction.

He says the unerwater rescue team responded to a total of eight incidents in 2015.

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