Posts Tagged Illinois Fire Service Institute

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the fire service

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Fire chiefs from across Illinois brought concerns about mental illness to a discussion hosted by the Illinois Fire Service Institute on Tuesday.

The director of the Illinois Fire Service Institute said Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a very real issue among firefighters, just like it is in the military. Mental health education is now part of almost all trainings at IFSI, which should help reach about 12,000 firefighters a year.

Research is showing that the most helpful person firefighters can talk out these issues with are other firefighters. The Champaign Fire Department has staff members trained to counsel fellow firefighters and identify those who may need additional help.

For more information on help available to firefighters and paramedics dealing with mental health problems, you can view resources recommended by IFSI here.

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Illinois Fire Service Institute news

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The Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI) has received a grant for $100,000 from the Motorola Solutions Foundation, the charitable arm of Motorola Solutions, Inc.  Funds through the grant, will support the Illinois Fire Service Institute’s Basic Firefighter/NFPA Firefighter I Academy and Leadership Development and Decision Making Programs.  With increasing student enrollment numbers, both programs plan to purchase additional equipment and offset tuition costs for first responders.

The Motorola Solutions Foundation awards grants each year to organizations, such as the Illinois Fire Service Institute, which support and advance public safety programs and technology & engineering education initiatives. This year, programs that served underrepresented populations, including females, people with disabilities and veterans were prioritized.

For additional information on the Illinois Fire Service Institute, please visit and for more information on the Motorola Solutions Foundation grants program, please visit

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Of interest … McHenry County College Fire Science Program

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Firefighter candidates and instructors from McHenry County College were among 50 firefighters from 15 departments who recently participated in more than eight hours of live fire exercises at the Illinois Fire Service Institute in Champaign. Firefighters practiced search and rescue, fire extinguishment, and searching for hidden fires in this structure.

This training, for firefighters from McHenry, Lake, and Kane Counties, was made possible by $5,475 in Perkins grant funding allocated to the MCC Fire Science Program.

The Perkins grant is a federal grant that provides funding for career and occupational training.

“The grant that was awarded to the McHenry County College Fire Science Program not only benefitted firefighters from McHenry County, but also firefighters from surrounding counties,” said Wes Crain, instructor and fire science department chair. “Firefighter candidates had an opportunity to gain live fire training experience that they otherwise would have not been able to attain.

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Streator receives land donation for training facility

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A Streator couple signed an agreement Thursday with the city donating land for a public safety training facility.

The agreement, between the Jim and Marjorie Rhodes Estate and Streator, allows for 8.7 acres at the end of 10th Street to be used for fire and police training. Formal legal closing on the property is expected to take place within a few weeks.

“I think it’s good for the community, something to bring to Streator,” Jim Rhodes said after signing the agreement. “We worked ever since back in the ‘80s when we first opened (our business) — we always had fire and ambulance out there doing training. I think it’s a nice place they can call their own.”

The property is at Edson, Center and Wesley streets, which as part of the agreement, will be renamed Jim Rhodes Lane.

Streator Fire Chief Gary Bird said the facility will be built in phases over five years, with the first including site work and connection of electricity and water to the grounds.

He added that all the fire chiefs in the Southern La Salle County Northern Livingston County Fire Chiefs Association are aware of the training center coming to Streator and that it will be available for their use.

“Streator police, Grand Ridge Fire Department and Long Point Fire Department have committed to do some training,” Bird said. “Some instructors will be from the Streator Fire Department, and it also will likely be a host site for the Illinois Fire Service Institute. It’s our hope that we can offer classes from instructors across the country.”

thanks Dan

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Illinois Fire Service Institute stalled by state budget impasse (more)

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Many services and programs across Illinois remain in fiscal uncertainty due to the ongoing state budget standoff, but the Illinois Fire Service Institute, IFSI, is receiving just over $3.8 million in funding from the state Fire Prevention Fund.

The amount is an annual allocation for the IFSI, as the Fire Prevention Fund accounts for 27 percent of the institute’s funding. The IFSI is the mandated state fire academy headquartered in Champaign, which provides classes and firefighting training all across the state.

Governor Bruce Rauner signed the piecemeal spending bill, SB2039, on the same day that the Illinois State Senate approved it on Dec. 7. The bill allocates money from the Fire Prevention Fund to the Board of Trustees at the University. Though the $3.8 million goes through the University first, the bill earmarked the funds specifically for IFSI, said Deputy Director James Keiken. The bill comes at a time of fiscal limbo for Illinois, with an official 2016 fiscal budget yet to be decided.

The money is for “paying the Institute’s expenses, and providing the facilities and structures incident thereto, including payment to the University for personal services and related costs incurred,” according to the bill.

More specifically, the $3.8 million serves as the IFSI 2015-2016 school year budget for day-to-day operations and bills as well as its “cornerstone” program which offers courses of basic firefighting skills to various small fire districts and volunteers, free of charge to the department.

The cornerstone program takes about 2.5 percent of the budget or $600,000 dollars. However, due to budgetary problems, the program has not run since October, said IFSI Deputy Director James Keiken.

In addition, in the second quarter of the fiscal year the institute didn’t receive funding in time, causing the University to help cover some of IFSI’s operational costs.

In addition to the $3.8 million IFSI allocation, the bill frees up $3.1 billion to local governments across Illinois for a variety of uses such as local road repairs, winter maintenance and lottery prizes over $600.

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Illinois Fire Service Institute stalled by state budget impasse (more)

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State Rep. Carol Sente met with representatives from various agencies within the Illinois Fire Services Association to discuss the urgent need to release funding for fire prevention prior to a hearing before the full House of Representatives and vote on the subject Tuesday.

Legislation supported by Sente would release appropriations from the Fire Prevention Fund, which is money collected for the specific purpose of training emergency personnel and properly insuring equipment owned by intergovernmental agencies and local departments. Monies from this fund cannot be used for any other budget purposes.

Currently, the lack of a state budget is having the severe impact of reducing the number of firefighters, particularly volunteers, that can be trained by the Illinois Fire Service Institute.

Sente serves as the co-chair of the Illinois Legislative Fire Caucus and holds regular dialogues with area chiefs and firefighters focused on identifying the needs of emergency personnel.


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Illinois Fire Service Institute stalled by state budget impasse

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Firefighters are feeling the effect of the state’s budget impasse. A training program is temporarily suspended at the Illinois Fire Service Institute.

Officials say 100 training classes are postponed until a state budget is approved. The Cornerstone program offers courses on fighting fires, safety and vehicle use.

The Carroll Fire Department is taking a hit from the training freeze. Captain Allen Cameron says they have nine volunteer firefighters still waiting to complete their training. Officials say it could take up to a year for the training classes to come back.

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Where are they now … North Palos

This from Matt Schumann:

Spotted at the Champaign 150th Anniversary
IFSI S-1 – 1984 Spartan Gladiator/Frontline heavy rescue xNorth Palos FPD
original Spartan Gladiator super command cab rescue

Former North Palos FPD Spartan Gladiator/Frontline heavy rescue squad at the Illinois Fire Service Institute. Matt Schumann photo

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Study to investigate health hazards for firefighters

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During a collaborative research project underway now at the Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI), researchers are not only testing contaminates on the gear, but on skin as well. They’re also monitoring gases created as furniture and carpeting burn. But, that’s just part of the multi-faceted study involving researchers from IFSI, UL, NIOSH, University of Illinois, Chicago, and Skidmore College.

… 12 Illinois firefighters and researchers got underway [with] Each firefighter [having] blood drawn, vitals and temperatures checked. Urine samples were tested for certain markers as well as hydration. They were equipped with a device that will monitor the heart for the next 12 hours.

Dr. Denise Smith explained that part of the research is determining the impact of firefighting on the cardio-vascular system. “We talk about putting the rig back in service. How long does it take to get a firefighter back in service? We’re looking to see if there are changes hours after the firefighter does their work.”

Each year, dozens of firefighters die not on the fireground, but hours after the incident.

Firefighters participating in the study wore new gear to make sure samples were not skewed. They carried three chemical collection units, smaller than portable radios, in their coat pockets. When they completed their tasks, these was removed and tested.

UL and NIOSH engineers set up sensitive equipment to monitor gases and heat inside the rooms that would burn or exposed to smoke and heat.

UL Research Engineer Robin Zevotek set up thermal sensors from the floor to ceiling two feet apart in rooms that would burn. In other areas, they were placed a foot apart. During the scenario, he would be able to watch the temperatures on a nearby monitor.

In a hallway, devices would capture the data at one, three and five foot levels. The lowest would be where a victim would likely be, while others would be firefighters either crawling or walking.


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41st Anniversary of Naperville LODD

Bill Friedrich submitted a link to the Illinois Fire Service Institute Firefighter Record, which outlines the events and reporting of an incident that resulted in the death of three Naperville firefighters on December 7, 1970 as the result of a collision between the engine that they were riding in and a semi-trailer while en-route to a house fire.


On December 7, 1970, the Naperville Fire Department received an alarm at 7:55AM for a house fire west of the city. Firefighters immediately responded, but a fire truck carrying five firefighters collided with a semi-trailer truck at the intersection of Illinois Routes 59 and 65. Several fatal car accidents had occurred at the intersection during the preceding years and traffic lights had been installed at the intersection only two weeks prior to the accident.

Lieutenant Richard Rechenmacher, Engineer Jerry Herring, and Firefighter Bernard Petrowski, who were riding in the cab of the fire truck, were all thrown from the vehicle by the collision and killed instantly. Firefighter Mike Hill, who was also riding in the truck’s cab, was taken to the hospital in critical condition, but Firefighter James Heinke, who was riding on the tailboard of the fire truck, escaped injury. Mutual aid responders from the Moecherville Fire Department responded to the house fire, and the Downers Grove Fire Department sent firefighters and fire apparatus to Naperville to assist with fire calls.

The report includes radio logs, the original accident report and photographs from the scene.

Naperville Fire Department fatal accident scene December 7, 1970

A photo from the accident scene showing the crushed cab of the Naperville Mack-C engine and the overturned semi in the rear. Photo ©Naperville Fire Department

Naperville Fire Department 1967 Mack C95 engine

Delivery photo supplied by Bill Friedrich of the 1967 Mack C95F engine.

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