Posts Tagged Naperville Fire Chief Mark Puknaitis

Naperville Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

Four firefighter/paramedics in Naperville started working eight-hour shifts this week as part of a staffing plan designed to get more people on duty when they’re needed most.

The typical firefighter’s schedule is 24 hours on the job and 48 hours off. That’s not changing at the Naperville department, which operates 10 stations with a daily minimum of 42 firefighter/paramedics.

But now four members are working 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in what Chief Mark Puknaitis calls a power shifting program. The shift transfers personnel into the daytime, when Naperville’s population spikes with workers the department fields 54 percent of its 14,600 annual calls.

With more than half of all calls coming during one eight-hour span, Puknaitis said it makes sense to increase the staff, while still keeping the union-negotiated minimum of 42 on hand during the other 16 hours of each day.

On Monday, the first day three senior firefighters and one new hire worked from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., the department fielded an unusually busy 50 calls. The new staffing allowed the department to run two additional ambulances.

On the first day the power shift was in place, Puknaitis said he got three voicemails from other departments looking to learn about the approach. Especially because he was named president of the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association, Puknaitis thinks the idea will have legs.

John Sergeant of the Naperville Professional Firefighters Local 4302 said members may want the 40-hour workweek to attend more kids’ events or family holidays, or to take a break from the bodily demands of working 24 hours straight.

Those accepting the eight-hour shifts will make a one-year commitment. Those with most seniority will be given priority each year during a union bidding process for who will fill the spots. The new staffing plan is not designed to cut costs but to keep them stable. The four firefighters switching to the shifted hours will continue to be paid their regular salaries.

thanks Dan

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Naperville Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

The Naperville Fire Department and city staff are exploring the possible consolidation of some of the city’s 10 fire stations, Mayor Steve Chirico said Monday.

“Safety is the number one concern, of course, but we recognize Naperville has reached build out,” Chirico said. “So we need to ask the question if our stations are in the best locations, or if reconfiguring them could provide better service.”

Naperville Fire Chief Mark Puknaitis brought the consolidation idea up to the city manager City Manager Doug Krieger about a year ago, Krieger said Tuesday.

As Naperville has grown and changed over the years, the city has added fire stations, he said.

“If we were to do it all over again, the locations and number of stations might be different, so since we’ve kind of hit our build out, we thought that now would be a good time to look at coverage,” Krieger said. “Obviously, the most important component of coverage is response time. And another number of other factors come into play.”

Equalizing the workload across the city’s 10 fire stations also helps coverage, Krieger said.

Naperville’s current call to arrival time is six minutes 85.6 percent of the time. It’s unclear if potential station consolidation would affect response times.

“Currently we’re providing a very high service level,” Krieger said. “I would expect when things are all said and done, we’ll continue to supply a very high service level.”

“The goal is really to continue to provide a great service level and response time while minimizing cost. That’s really true to all departments in the city,” Krieger said.

The Naperville Fire Department employs 193 sworn, full-time, professional firefighters. Any reductions in staff to accompany consolidation would be done through attrition and natural retirements.

The staff has not come to any conclusions yet but there are plans on making a consolidation recommendation to the Naperville City Council this year.

Naperville Station 2 at 601 E. Bailey Road is the oldest station. Station 4 at 1971 Brookdale Road is also a training facility, and Station 7 at 1380 Aurora Ave. houses the department’s administrators.

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Naperville Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

Naperville Fire Chief Mark Puknaitis has been selected as the 2017 Fire Chief of the Year by the Illinois State Crime Commission/Police Athletic League of Illinois. This group annually recognizes Illinois’ best individual leaders and champions from government and industry who have distinguished themselves through their outstanding contributions to communities throughout Illinois.

Chief Puknaitis is being honored for his impressive innovations in the fire service, dedication to public safety, training, pro-active firefighting methods, and for exemplary service to Naperville’s citizens. The group will present the award to Chief Puknaitis at its 21st annual “Salute to Those Who Make a Difference” Awards Dinner on Wednesday, June 21, 2017, in Oak Brook Terrace.

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Naperville Fire Department news

Excerpts from

The Center for Public Safety Excellence’s Commission on Professional Credentialing recently designated Naperville Fire Chief Mark Puknaitis as a Chief Fire Officer (CFO) for the third time. Chief Puknaitis joins an elite group of only 1,175 CFO’s worldwide.

The CFO designation is a voluntary program designed to recognize individuals who demonstrate their excellence in seven measured componaper_firenents, including experience, education, professional development, professional contributions, association membership, community involvement, and technical competencies. Chief Puknaitis received his original designation in 2010.

A Board of Review consisting of members of the fire and emergency services profession, academia and municipal agencies review each application and recommends successful candidates for designation to the Commission on Professional Credentialing.

This professional honor is valid for three years. Maintaining the designation requires recipients to show continued growth in the areas associated with the program.

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Naperville wants to consolidate dispatch with Aurora

Excerpts from the

Naperville officials want to team up with Aurora on consolidating 911 services, a cost-saving move that would create one group of dispatchers managing emergency calls for both towns, Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico said this week. The idea is Naperville’s latest move to consolidate services with neighboring municipalities to save taxpayer money.

“Many of you know that Naperville and Aurora back up each other’s 911 service already, and we share a radio system, … our cities also provide mutual aid when emergencies occur.”

Aurora has not yet formally responded to Naperville’s proposal, but officials say they are open to exploring ways to work together.

“We have voluntarily cooperated over the years,” said Carie Anne Ergo, Aurora’s chief management officer. “To the tune of, really, millions of dollars (saved).”

Naperville is proposing a partnership with the neighboring towns of Warrenville and Lisle to create fire protection without boundaries. Under this concept, emergency situations requiring fire or ambulance service could be handled by whichever department has the closest units available, regardless of whether the call comes from inside or outside the caller’s town.

Naperville Fire Chief Mark Puknaitis said Tuesday his staff is talking to officials in both towns to see how they might be able to help each other. For example, Warrenville does not have an aerial. Instead of buying one, Naperville could provide one of theirs when it’s needed in Warrenville.

… “if a Lisle vehicle is closer to a Naperville call, it goes,” Puknaitis said. “It’s just working smarter and not worrying about territories.”

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Naperville FD launches new program

Excerpts from the NapervilleSun:

Smaller, single-staffed vehicles will allow more efficient response to non-emergency calls

The Naperville Fire Department today launched the Rescue Vehicle Program, an innovative program aimed at more efficiently delivering appropriate resources to non-emergency calls.

The department’s rescue vehicles – Rescue 1 and Rescue 2 – will be housed at Fire Station No. 9 on the city’s north side and Fire Station No. 10 on the city’s south side. As staffing allows, each rescue vehicle will be staffed by one firefighter or firefighter/paramedic to respond to non-emergency calls, such as carbon monoxide calls where no illness is reported, elevator alarms where no one is trapped, malfunctioning fire alarms and open burning complaints.

Naperville Fire Chief Mark Puknaitis said the department responds to an estimated 1,000 non-emergency calls annually.

The Rescue Vehicle Program will be evaluated for its ability to reduce maintenance and wear and tear on department vehicles, reduce fuel use, keep fire suppression units available in their districts for emergency calls, and increase public safety by reducing the number of times a suppression unit is put on the street.

In addition to non-emergency calls, these vehicles will also respond to structure fires, automobile extrications and multiple alarm incidents, which will increase staffing on the scene of these manpower-intensive incidents.

“Naperville is a very forward-thinking community, and the deployment of Rescue 1 and Rescue 2 is a perfect example of using non-traditional thinking to improve the efficiency of our department,” said Chief Puknaitis. “This program is one of the first of its kind in Illinois, and other departments I’ve spoken to are really interested to see our progress with this in hopes of replicating the same type of service.”

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Naperville FD makes presentation to the historical society

Naperville FD makes presentation to the historical society:

Naperville Fire Chief Mark Puknaitis and Bureau Chief of Community Services Andy Dina presented Naper Settlement with the Naperville Fire Department’s 2012 inaugural composite photo that represented all 202 members of the department. Each member of the department, including 185 firefighters and administrative staff, was photographed and the individual photos were assembled into a 40-inch by 40-inch composite.

Chief Puknaitis said, “We have never done anything like this composite photograph before. We are creating a legacy. If we don’t do this, the history will be lost.”

The photographs will be added to Naper Settlement’s Naperville Fire Department Collection, which dates back to the department’s founding in 1874, and includes photographs, objects, artifacts and the Joe Naper Pumper, Naperville’s first piece of firefighting equipment. The Naperville Fire Department is one of the oldest continuously operating fire departments in the United States.

Bureau Chief Dina said, “We wanted to donate the composite photo to Naper Settlement, which is preserving our history for us.”

“We are proud to support the Naperville Fire Department,” Naper Settlement President and CEO Rena Tamayo-Calabrese said. “Through their donation, we continue to be the institutional memory of the community.”


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Naperville to donate aerial ladder truck

The Chicago Tribune has an article about the Naperville Fire Department donating a truck to a fire department in Mexico:

The City of Naperville’s City Council voted unanimously in favor of donating a retired fire department ladder truck to the City of Cancún, México, during their meeting on October 21, 2014. The donation comes after officials from the resort city approached the Naperville Fire Department.

The ladder truck, designated 321T, is a 23-year-old vehicle that was retired from service in Naperville in 2012. Since that time, the city had attempted and failed to sell the vehicle through brokerage and auction services. At the same time, Cancún officials approached the city requesting a donation of the truck for use in the city’s Hotel Zone, which is populated with high-rise hotels.

“The overall value of donating this vehicle to a country that could use it immediately to keep citizens and tourists safe far outweighs any small monetary receipt,” Naperville Fire Chief Mark Puknaitis said. “This decision also aligns with the goals and efforts of our Sister Cities delegation and will carry on the City of Naperville’s legacy of assisting others in need.”

The ladder truck will leave Naperville via truck bound to Miami where it will board a cargo ship for the Mexican resort city. All transportation expenses are being covered by the City of Cancún and the Municipality of Benito Juarez of the State of Quintana Roo, México.

thanks Dan

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Regional fire service concept discussed in DuPage County (more)

The Naperville Sun had a recent article about the recent discussions on regional consolidation of fire protection services and the possible impact on the City of Naperville.

The DuPage County task force studying the possibility of consolidating firefighting services throughout the county has raised concerns about local fire stations closing to make service more efficient. However, at this point, it’s not likely to happen in Naperville.

[Naperville Fire Chief Mark] Puknaitis is part of the group that includes the DuPage Fire Chiefs Association, two members of the DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference and DuPage County Board member Gary Grasso (R-Burr Ridge) looking at how fire departments can consolidate some services to save money.

Last week, Grasso unveiled a working plan for a quadrant system, which divided the county into four sections. Naperville would be in the southwest quadrant along with s large section of Lisle.

The group’s effort is part of a broader conversation DuPage officials have been having for the last several years about strategies for improving fire protection services and making them more cost efficient. Puknaitis said that when it comes to costs, Naperville’s taxpayers are faring pretty well. He gave his own home as an example, saying that he only paid $100 per year on his property tax bill for fire protection.

Puknaitis said that Naperville property taxpayers benefitted from the fact that fire service is funded partially by revenue sources other than property taxes, such as the city’s sales tax. Many other fire protection districts are actually separate taxing bodies, limited in revenue to what they can levy in property taxes. He cited the nearby Lisle-Woodridge and Plainfield fire prevention districts, both separate taxing bodies.

Although no one on the task force has mentioned the possibility of actual consolidation of taxing bodies, the quadrant proposal is in its early stages and consolidating services of some sort might require agreements between different districts.

Puknaitis does see merit in the quadrant system and some sort of shared service between districts, including purchasing equipment, a significant capital expense for fire prevention districts. He said that new arrangements might be made between them to make response times quicker by using a neighboring fire protection district if it is actually closer to the location of a call.

Naperville accounts for about 20 percent of DuPage County’s calls for fire response and EMS, and it’s a function that has seen changes in recent history. Where once a typical local fire department’s responsibilities were predominantly calls for structure fires, modern fire departments are generally a diversified service.

Naperville averages 25 to 30 calls per year for significant structure fires but 11,000 to 12,000 for other calls, many for emergency medical services, activated fire alarms or smaller fire incidents.

Puknaitis feels that the entire county will be able to make fire protection better and more cost-efficient without closing any stations in Naperville.

thanks Dan

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