Carpentersville IAFF Local 4790, Village of Carpentersville Disagree Over Staffing of Fire Stations and Vehicles

Carpentersville full-time firefighters: "Cost-saving moves by the village lead to slower response times that will jeopardize residents' safety. However village administration, says the firefighters union has "buyer's remorse" about a new contract and really is lamenting the anticipated loss of overtime [...]

Carpentersville: New labor contract with full-time firefighters helps Village deliver exceptional service to residents -- engines equipped with Advanced Life Support equipment at all three fire stations [PDF ...]

IAFFLOCAL 4790: Added Average Response Time Likely Will Cause Loss of Life [...]

Carpentersville Professional Fire Fighters IAFF Local 4790 keeps residents informed of incidents and station coverage, and promotes monitoring of Quadcom Fire dispatch in Kane County ... ...

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Added Average Response Time Likely Will Cause Loss of Life

The Carpentersville Village Board’s recent decision to cut fire department services represents a significant threat to emergency response, public safety studies show.

Village officials have told Carpentersville firefighters they intend to reduce manpower by up to 4 positions each shift, which will directly threaten emergency response capability. The daily staffing level of the Carpentersville Fire Department will drop to far less than that provided by neighboring municipalities.

“This is an extremely disturbing development, one that is not only unnecessary but which is a serious threat to the residents of Carpentersville,” said Lt. Richard Nieves, president of Carpentersville Local 4790 of the International Association of Firefighters. “Since 2008 our staffing has declined from 13 firefighter/paramedics available down to 8 on any given day.

“The maximum number of firefighters available when the department is at full strength may be 12, but that level occurs only 50 days per year. Compare our staffing levels to a municipality like Streamwood, which staffs 15 firefighters each day at full strength, and never drops below 10. Streamwood is a fair comparison because their department response demand is nearly equal to Carpentersville’s. “They are providing more fire and EMS protection with 3.1 million less dollars than Carpentersville.”

“Bottom line is this: there is no doubt that response time will lengthen in Carpentersville, which means lives and property will be gravely affected. This is a potentially disastrous decision by the political people who run the affairs of our village.”

In its 2010-2013 contract, 33 Carpentersville firefighters took minimal raises to keep manning levels secure and conceded salary and benefits up to $465,000 over the life of their contract so the village could maintain professional standard service levels.

During that same time period the village added staffing in upper level management within the village that included substantial pay increases.

“Our members have struggled to establish a daily minimum with an eye toward maintaining the public’s safety, but the city refused to accept our efforts,” Nieves said. “Instead, the political powers called for a reduction in manpower.

“They have said they want to maintain their right to shut down the use of a fire engine. Now they appear to be determined to execute that right at the expense of public safety.

“We offered them an alternative that would have reduced their expenses but they have refused our offer. Our proposal would have maintained the previous staffing levels of 12 on-duty firefighters every day, 365 days a year.”

Nieves said a result of the village’s cuts would take an engine out of service at least 53 times per year. The affected station will be manned with only two firefighters. Station 2, located on the east side of the village, will run as a “jump company” leaving the station without the ability to respond when a second call is dispatched. This represents a service reduction of nearly 50 percent.

“Our average response time is now less than 4 minutes, this will increase significantly. Studies show brain death begins to occur within 3-4 minutes when someone stops breathing, and fires in today’s homes burn hotter and faster, doubling in size every minute.

“On average we respond to 3500 calls annually, any increase in times will have a negative impact on the community. Insurance ratings will jump from the current ISO level of 3. This increase will negate any savings village officials say they are passing on to the homeowners.

“Sadly, this is nothing more than a shell game. The village board may or may not believe they are reducing costs responsibly but, in fact, they are simply shifting the costs.

“Worse, lives and property will be put at risk as the politicians move the money from one shell to another.”