Posts Tagged Streator Fire Department

Streator Fire Department news (more)

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The Streator Fire Department Training Center is now open, providing a safe and controlled environment to train local firefighters. It was made possible due to the Jim Rhodes family donating nine acres of land on West 10th Street along with funds donated from Bill and Peggy Harrison. The training center will be open for use to other regional paid and volunteer fire departments. Volunteer departments will only be required to pay for the consumable items they use.

The new training center also helps the department’s Insurance Services Office (ISO) score.

The fire department plans on having four burns per year, most of which will take place in the spring, summer, and fall to avoid ice and cold weather. They will have their first official training starting Monday, April 22, through Wednesday, April 24.

new training facility for the Streator Fire Department

Streator Fire Department photo

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Streator Fire Department news

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The Streator Fire Department received a boost toward building its planned regional training center Wednesday.

Bill and Peggy Harrison donated $65,000 to the department, to be used for the construction of a 30-by-30-foot classroom in the spring. This is phase two of a five-year project for the center at the end of 10th Street. Jim and Marjorie Rhodes donated the property for the center earlier this year.

“We were talking about some donation ideas and had been thinking about it for four to five years,” Peggy Harrison said. “We heard the city was getting the land and thought that would be ideal. It will be a real asset to the community.”

“It’s going to help other communities too and law enforcement, it won’t only be for fire training,” Bill Harrison said. “We wanted to try to help Streator in some way. This came about and was a good opportunity to see if they needed help.”

Fire Chief Gary Bird said the classroom will be used for fire and police training, while the rest of the facility will be used for hands-on training.

“(The donation) helps the city by alleviating the cost and will speed up the building of the training center,” Bird said.

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Streator Fire Department news

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Earlier this year, the Streator Fire Department enacted a new policy requiring firefighters to respond to most medical emergencies, but the firefighters’ union is filing a complaint on the policy, saying it is a mandatory subject of negotiations. In March, it filed a complaint with the Illinois Labor Relations Board, which has yet to act.

The firefighters, represented by the International Association of Firefighters, allege the city committed an unfair labor practice by refusing to bargain in good faith over the change in policy, and the union asked the labor board to order the city to bargain in good faith.

In January, the city required all firefighters take classes to become certified first responders as part of their yearly training, according to the complaint filed March 21. On March 1, the city unilaterally required firefighters to begin first responder care for life-threatening emergencies, the complaint said.

The next day, the union sent a letter to City Manager Scot Wrighton demanding the city bargain over the change. Wrighton declined.

The policy change happened after Springfield-based HSHS closed St. Mary’s Hospital on Jan. 4 and immediately sold what was left to Peoria-based OSF, which has hospitals in Ottawa and Pontiac.

Under the new policy, the fire department will be dispatched to the three levels of medical emergencies prioritized as the most severe, and they will be sent to other calls when needed.

In his March 14 reply, Wrighton said the city entered a cooperative arrangement with Advanced Medical Transport, Streator’s private ambulance service, to provide union members first responder training to mitigate the impact of changes in ambulance and emergency room services now occurring in the community.

During a labor-management meeting, the union acknowledged it could not quantitatively document any impact that would require bargaining. Everyone involved agreed firefighters could be affected if they were exposed to certain blood-borne pathogens and risks of infection while responding to medical emergencies. As a result, Wrighton said, the city agreed to pay for all necessary vaccinations.

Under the state Public Labor Relations Act, providing first responder training amounts to an enhancement of the standards of service, which management is allowed to do, Wrighton said.

thanks Dan

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Streator improves ISO rating


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An improved rating for the Streator Fire Department should cut insurance premiums for property owners in the city.

Fire Chief Gary Bird said Tuesday the Insurance Services Organization, which grades fire departments, lowered the department’s rating to a four. A rating of one is best and 10 is worst. The last rating was that of a five, given in 2010. In 1999, the rating was six. Streator’s new score puts the city’s department in the top 21 percent of departments in the country, Bird noted.

Bird said lowering the rating is a major goal of the department’s five-year plan, which was developed last summer.

To improve the rating further to a three, the department has started a fire risk reduction program, which includes more rigorous safety inspections of businesses, the construction of a training center and the purchase of new equipment.

Many insurance companies use the Insurance Services Organization’s ratings to determine fire insurance premiums.

thanks Dan

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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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