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. Visitwww.illinoisfirechiefs.org 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 www.bcfpd.org or call 847-304-3600.