Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Fire District Completes Safety Study for Enhancing Emergency Fire, Medical Service

Independent analysis emphasizes ways to enhance service by improving response times.
The Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District (BCFPD) has completed an independent professional analysis of emergency response procedures and firefighter staffing levels designed to help the District improve current service levels while positioning itself to meet future challenges.
The in-depth study, delivered by a team of consultants from the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association, emphasizes ways to enhance service to District residents by improving emergency response times.  Fire District trustees commissioned the study as part of their continuing efforts to monitor and upgrade the quality of emergency services delivered to District residents.
The study’s recommendations – based on standards established by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Insurance Services Office (ISO), and the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE) – include:
  • Enhancing notification protocols that help firefighters and paramedics respond more quickly to emergency calls.
  • Strengthening and expanding mutual aid agreements with other fire departments, where possible.
  • Developing plans and procedures to minimize service delays caused by the area’s growing freight rail traffic.
  • Increasing staffing at fire stations in Barrington Hills and Lake Barrington.
  • Exploring options for acquiring property along the District’s western boundary for a possible fourth fire station. 
“Our mission is to protect the lives and property of District residents.  It is why we exist.  We have no other agenda,” explains BCFPD President Tom Rowan.  “This study offers clear recommendations – several of which we have already acted on – for enhancing the level of protection we provide.  We will pursue longer-term recommendations with a commitment to making the best use of taxpayer dollars.” 
The study has already helped District and Barrington Fire Department officials seize opportunities to speed response times by implementing suggested improvements to dispatch and notification protocols.  Actions taken during the past several months include:
  • Upgrading the in-house alarm systems at Barrington area fire stations.
  • Enhancing computer-aided dispatch (CAD) protocols to ensure rapid, quality service to sections of the District that are served by a separate, regional dispatch center.
“Response times have a direct impact on the quality of service available to District residents,” explains Illinois Fire Chiefs Association Executive Director Robert M. Buhs, leader of the team that completed the study.  “Statistics demonstrate that faster response times improve outcomes in both fire and emergency medical situations.”
Acceptance of the study’s findings builds on the District’s commitment to public safety, as demonstrated by its long-standing support for automatic fire sprinkler systems.  In 1997, BCFPD trustees passed an ordinance – at the time just the second in the state of Illinois – requiring sprinklers to be installed in new residential construction.
The District earned recognition for its progressive fire sprinkler codes during the 2009 Fire Team USA Residential Fire Sprinkler Summit, a two-day conference sponsored by the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association, Illinois Fire Inspectors Association and Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board.
Looking ahead, Fire District trustees plan to review options for adding firefighter/paramedic positions at the District’s stations in Barrington Hills and Lake Barrington.  The study recommended that the fire department maintain a “minimum staff of five personnel per shift at all three fire stations” serving the BCFPD.
According to the terms of an inter-governmental agreement between the Fire District and village of Barrington, the village is responsible for fire department staffing, with the District paying for personnel services under contract.
About the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association
The mission of the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association is to promote excellence in the fire service by providing an information-sharing network.  It offers educational, legislative, and technical assistance/services to fire districts and fire departments across the state. for more information.
The Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District receives emergency fire and medical service from the Barrington Fire Department, which is responsible for protecting the lives and property of District residents through an intergovernmental agreement between the District and Village of Barrington.  The District serves portions of Barrington Hills, South Barrington, Lake Barrington and Inverness; and portions of unincorporated Cook, Lake and McHenry Counties. 
For more information on Fire District activities and events, visit or call 847-304-3600.
Related Topics: Barrington Countryside Fire Protection DistrictEmergency ResponseEmergency Services, and Fire Safety

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Sprinkler halts fire at MUSC

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A fire broke out Saturday night in an office on the eighth floor of the Medical University of South Carolina, causing firefighters and police to converge on the medical complex.
The hospital’s sprinkler system doused the fire, but smoke filled several rooms. Hospital officials relocated about 30 patients to other areas of the hospital.
The fire started in a wing that was being renovated, said Sarah King, director of public relations for MUSC. She said the fire began in what used to be an office.
The cause of the fire was under investigation, said Mark Ruppel, public information officer for the Charleston Fire Department.
The fire department received the alarm at 6:32 p.m. Two engines and a ladder truck arrived two minutes later, Ruppel said.
“Once they saw it was an actual fire, they called for a full response,” he said.
Five engines, two ladders, police and Charleston County Emergency Medical Services vehicles arrived soon after. Crews used exhaust fans to remove the smoke.
King said cleanup crews were at the hospital Saturday night addressing the water damage, and that patients would be moved back to their rooms today.

Push for Fire Sprinklers after Commack Woman's Death

Rep. Steve Israel co-signs legislation to offer federal tax incentive to retroactively install fire sprinkler systems in residential homes.
Commack residents have joined elected officials in pushing to have fire sprinkler systems to be installed in every home following the death of a Commack woman in January. 
U.S. Rep. Steve Israel, D-Dix Hills, announced at the Commack Fire Department that he has signed on as a cosponsor to legislation that would provide a federal tax incentive to property owners willing to install fire sprinklers in older buildings, following the tragic death of Kerry Rose Fitzsimons. 
"Making it easier for property owners to install automatic fire sprinklers is commonsense and a policy we can all agree on. We have lost too many to house fires that could have been prevented," Israel said. 
Fitzsimons was one of three Marist college students who died in a fire that tore through a student-rented, off-campus house on Jan. 21. The cause of death was determined to be smoke inhalation while sleeping. 
Maryanne Fitzsimons, Kerry Rose's mother, brought the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act currently before U.S. Congress to Israel's attention, asking him to support it. The bill aims to provide property owners with a federal tax incentive to install fire sprinklers in older residential or commercial buildings. Most small to medium-sized businesses would become able to fully expense the cost of retrofitting sprinklers for buildings as large as 50,000 square feet, when systems cost from $2,300 to $16,000. 
"I miss my cousin Kerry terribly and support the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act. They save lives," said Taylor  Prodromakis, on behalf of th family. 
Dominic Kasmauskas, a representative of the National Fire Sprinkler Association, said that nearly 3,000 people are killed by fires in the U.S. each year, nearly 80 percent of them in one or two-family residential homes. 
The National Fire Protection Association concluded in a study that the death rate per fire could be reduced by 75 percent, property damdages by 68 percent by the installation of fire sprinkler systems. 
"We are here to show our support to the congressman and support his bill," said Thomas McFadzen, chairman of the Commack Fire Department's Board of Commissioners. "We respond to these residential fires first hand. This would help and help us tremendously." 
Under current law, California is the only state to require one- and two-family dwellings to have sprinkler systems, according to Kasmauskas. Maryland requires some residential dwellings to install them, while Pennsylvania and New Jersey have pending legislation that has been met with resistance. 
Several members of the Fitzsimons family are part of Local 638, a Steam Fitters Union, a group of professionals who also help install fire sprinkler systems. 
"This was a personal tragedy. As a union, you feel as if all workers are family and we lost one of our own, " said Dan Mulligan, a Local 638 representative and Fitzsimons family friend. 
If the federal act is passed, Israel said it is expected to create 10,000 jobs and could lower the homeowner's insurance premiums by 5 to 15 percent with installation of a fire sprinkler system.
Related Topics: Fire SprinklersKerry FitzsimonsSteve Israel, and commack fire department