Posts Tagged Illinois Fire Chief’s Association

Illinois Fire Service news

Excerpts from the

Beginning in 2025, a fire suppressant containing so-called forever chemicals that never break down in the environment will be prohibited from manufacture, sale, and distribution in Illinois — and suburban fire departments are getting ready for the ban.

Two chemical products are at the center of the issue. Aqueous film forming foam is used at industrial facilities and airports, and by fire departments to extinguish flammable liquid fires such as fuel fires.

The foam contains PFAS, the acronym for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances that are widely used in commercial and consumer products. Due to long-standing environmental and health concerns about PFAS, and thanks to the emergence of alternatives that don’t contain them, the foam is slowly being phased out.

Signed into law in 2021, the PFAS Reduction Act restricts the use of aqueous film forming foam, both in the field and for training and testing. After using PFAS-containing foam, departments must report to the state within 48 hours the time, date, location, and quantity of the release, the reason for the release, and the proposed containment, treatment and disposal steps needed to minimize contamination.

The substance will further be prohibited from manufacture, sale, and distribution as of Jan. 1, 2025.

While not a complete ban — the statute maintains that it will not “prevent or discourage a fire department from responding to and mitigating incidents where a fire, spill or leak of a known or suspected flammable liquid has occurred or is believed to be imminent” — the law significantly slows the use of aqueous film forming foam.

“There are limited opportunities to use PFAS foam after 2025,” said John Buckley, the legislative director for the Illinois Fire Chief’s Association. “Our goal in the legislation was to be able to provide alternatives and to give our members a sufficient amount of time … to phase out and find solutions.”

For many departments, funding is the overwhelming obstacle because replacing the foam is not cheap. It requires funding to buy new foam and to get rid of the old foam.

For departments facing financial challenges in phasing out their foam stock, the Illinois Fire Chief’s Association is working on legislation that would put about $1 million toward a statewide buyback program.  Though it would not assist departments in purchasing new foam, the program would help support the disposal of 27,000 gallons of AFFF, as estimated using survey data collected by the state fire marshal’s office under the PFAS Reduction Act.

The PFAS omnibus bill, which includes the buyback program among other PFAS-related initiatives, passed the Illinois House in March. With the legislative session scheduled to close this month, the bill has another week to pass the Senate.

With the passage of the 2021 law, Illinois joined a dozen other states including Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota to enact a restriction on PFAS-containing Class B firefighting foam. As of 2023, a total of 24 states have banned training with AFFF or otherwise restricted its use.

Illinois’ law is unique because it also requires AFFF manufacturers to provide warnings to fire departments that “the product contains PFASs that may be hazardous to health or the environment; the use of the product is regulated and restricted under this act; and other Class B firefighting foam options may be available for purchase.”

Amid the implementation of the law, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul recently filed a lawsuit against multiple companies that manufacture the PFAS used in AFFF.

The lawsuit seeks to recover damages specific to the fire suppressing foam, and it alleges that in manufacturing, selling and marketing the chemicals, the companies benefit while knowingly contaminating Illinois’ environment and natural resources.

PFAS, which refers to over 5,000 human-made chemical compounds, have been the subject of growing environmental concerns due to their uniquely everlasting quality that earned them the nickname “forever chemicals.”

Launched for widespread commercial use in the 1950s, they are released into our soil, water and air through landfill leakage, sewage sludge and industrial waste. Along with firefighting foam, PFAS are also used in industrial and consumer products to make items nonstick and oil-, water- or stain-resistant. That includes things like nonstick pans, waterproof jackets and even shampoo and conditioner.

While fire departments have been working to address the issue of PFAS in foam for decades, the chemicals recently have been at the center of another concern for firefighters, as they are also used in personal protective gear as a water repellent.

thanks Martin

Tags: , , ,

Illinois Fire Service News

Excerpts from the

The state legislature approved a bill that requires fire chiefs to have specific qualifications over a veto from the governor and objections from municipal management groups.

Senate Bill 2619 establishes requirements for the fire chief post that local governments must follow.

“We’re just making sure that the men and women that run these departments are trained personnel … They could have firefighter officer training, they could have a certification from the International Fire Association or they could have ten years experience as a firefighter.”

The Illinois Fire Chiefs Association, the Associated Firefighters of Illinois and the Illinois Association of Firefighters supported the measure.

The measure was opposed by the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association, DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference, Northwest Municipal Conference, Barrington Area Council of Governments and other municipalities with home rule status.

“… I can tell you as we continue down the path of privatization of fire departments, it’s just a tragedy waiting to happen – having administrators or bookkeepers in charge of fire departments instead of trained fire personnel,” State Rep. Kathleen Willis said.

State Rep. Mark Batinick said, “that’s an exaggeration of what this bill does.”

“I have a village in my district that has a public safety director that is a police chief that came through the police ranks that’s running both,” Batinick said.

The measure is now law.

Tags: , , ,

Kankakee Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from the

At a cost outlined not to exceed $19,500, the Kankakee City Council hired the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association to search for a new fire chief at Tuesday’s council meeting … [and] the money would come out of the fire department’s budget.

The fire department has been under the direction of acting Chief Phil Perkins since the retirement of Chief Ron Young at the end of November.

If all goes as planned, Mayor Nina Epstein said the new chief could be hired as early as June 1. Anyone with the necessary education and experience can submit a resume.

Young was the city’s third-longest serving fire chief before his retirement. He served 12 years as chief. He had been with the department since February 1984.

Tags: , , , , , ,

New law protects fire districts in Illinois

Excerpts from

A bill sponsored by state Rep. Don Moffitt, R-Gilson, to protect fire district investments has been signed by Gov, Bruce Rauner.

House Bill 6041 addressed an issue several fire protection districts have faced in Illinois when territory disconnects from the district, causing a 25 percent or more loss in tax revenues. The legislation states that petitions to leave a fire district be dismissed if the disconnection causes a 25 percent loss of revenue.

Under the legislation, all voters of the fire district have an opportunity to vote on taking territory out of the district, instread of just the voters in the territory planning to leave. The Illinois Fire Chiefs Association and a number of fire protection districts supported the legislation.

“This protects the right of every person in the district that may lose property to be able to vote on that issue,” Chuck Vaughn, a representative for the Illinois Association of Fire Protection Districts said.

Rep. Moffitt said the legislation was “simply good governance” to prevent serious damage that can be caused by de-annexation.

“The net result of this legislation is that the highest quality of fire protection for all people in Illinois will be maintained,” he said.

thanks Dan

Tags: , ,

John C. Hojek Jr. named Illinois Fire Chief of the Year

Excerpts from the

Hometown Fire Protection District Fire Chief John C. Hojek Jr. recently was named the Illinois Fire Chief of the Year by the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association.

Hojek was selected by the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association based on his accomplishments, including life safety advancement, innovative and entrepreneurial efforts and accomplishments, education and scholastic achievements, public service performance and more.

Since becoming fire chief in 2009, Hojek has transformed the fire district from one using volunteers to one using paid and part-time personnel that provides 24/7 coverage year-round.

“The guys are really the driving force behind our fire department,” Hojek said. “We really have a great, dedicated group of firemen. We have a lot of things in the department I take pride in. The advanced life support system we have implemented is incredible.”

Hometown has about 5,000 residents.


Tags: , , , ,

Mundelein fire chief retiring

Excerpts from the

Mundelein Fire Chief Tim Sashko, who came to the department as chief in 2007, will leave the department at the end of the week for a post with a statewide industry group. Sashko, 56, will take over as executive director of the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association, an organization with which he’s worked closely for years.

In Mundelein, Sashko developed a community emergency response team for disaster planning and relief, helped rewrite the village’s emergency operations plan and created the village’s first citizens fire academy. He also was instrumental in the acquisition and restoration of the village’s first fire truck, an effort that coincided with the village’s centennial in 2009.

A traditional walkout ceremony for Sashko will be held next week at the main fire station. It was delayed so that his two sons, who are firefighters in Mundelein and Naperville, could attend.

Deputy Chief Tim Leidig will serve as interim chief until a permanent replacement is named. Lobaito said he hopes officials will be able to make that decision by August or September.

thanks Dan

Tags: , , , ,

Antioch creates fire safety commission

The Daily Herald has an article on a new fire safety commission in Antioch to explore various avenues of cooperation and possibly consolidation of emergency services for both the village and unincorporated township of Antioch.

Residents in Antioch and Antioch Township have … four fire or rescue agencies — First Fire Protection District of Antioch, Antioch Rescue Squad, the Antioch Volunteer Fire Department, and Superior Ambulance Service — provide services to about 28,000 residents in a 37-square-mile area.

But the number of agencies and the niches they’ve carved out in the community have also created a confusing system of service now being targeted for a possible overhaul to make it more simple and efficient, local officials said.

Antioch Village Administrator Jim Keim and Antioch Fire Chief John Nixon are members of a newly created fire safety commission including village, township and fire district officials that has been tasked with cutting through the confusion and replacing it with the best — and most cost-effective — protection available.

Village and township officials acknowledge that board disputes, ownership confusion and the ever-changing needs of fire and rescue have contributed to create a duplication of services in some areas in and around Antioch.

The quilt of emergency services begins with the First Fire Protection District of Antioch, the village of Antioch, and the Antioch Volunteer Fire Department. The volunteer fire department provides fire protection in the village and the fire district answers fire calls in unincorporated areas of the township, Nixon said. Roughly 65 percent of the fire calls are in the village, while 35 percent are elsewhere, he said. The boundaries are less clear when it comes to equipment, manpower and rescue services, officials said.

Nixon said most area fire stations, equipment and fire trucks are co-owned by the fire district and the village. The volunteer fire department also provides manpower to the fire district to fight fires in unincorporated areas. And, rescue calls are split between the Antioch Rescue Squad in unincorporated areas and Superior Ambulance in the village, he said. … Nixon … stepped down as the fire district chief earlier this year but still serves as a commander at the fire district and is chief of the Antioch Volunteer Fire Department.

To address the problem, the commission is reviewing four ideas, and will present the findings to officials from the three boards in January. They are:

• Give control of all the agencies to the fire district, and expand its board to five trustees to include two village-appointed members with a rotating chairman.

• Expand the village fire department operation to cover Antioch and the township, taking over control of the fire district in most areas.

• Completely split the two entities and create a full-time village fire department and a full-time township fire district,

• Keep things as they are, and continue to pool resources and money.

The toughest aspect of any change will likely involve the future of the Antioch Rescue Squad, which has been serving area residents since 1938. In May, the rescue squad elected to end its service in the village after leadership could not come to terms on a contract with the village board. At issue were various conflicts that began when village board members tried to exert more control over the squad after a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by three female squad members that came to light in May 2012. The lawsuit led to the state issuing fines and requesting operational changes at the rescue squad amid findings that squad members had unauthorized access to prescription drugs and patients were mistreated during ambulance runs.

Things worsened when former rescue squad treasurer John Edgell was charged with — and later pleaded guilty to — theft for stealing $25,000 from the squad. Those problems led to township Supervisor Steve Smouse stepping down as the rescue squad president and to the retirement of former rescue squad Chief Wayne Sobczak. The rescue squad is now headed by former Deputy Chief Brian DeKind.

After the rescue squad left the village, its officials signed a one-year contract with the fire district to continue handling rescue calls in unincorporated areas. Superior Ambulance Service was hired at the village’s expense to cover ambulance calls for village residents.

Nixon admitted that, should the various entities consolidate, it could lead to the end of the Antioch Rescue Squad.

Antioch rescue squad Chief Brian DeKind said he favors being a part of the discussion and understands there are many scenarios that could play out before a resolution is reached. “I’m certainly in favor of doing what is in the best interests of the people of Antioch,” he said. 

The idea of consolidating Antioch-area fire and rescue services is not new. A study completed in 2008 by the Illinois Fire Chief’s Association showed the Antioch Volunteer Fire Department, Antioch Rescue Squad and the First Fire Protection District should consolidate, Nixon said, but it was never implemented.

thanks Dan

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,