Peotone Fire & Manhattan Fire Protection District Consolidation
The Newly Consolidated Manhattan Fire Protection District
On November 8, 2022, the referendum to consolidate Peotone FPD and Manhattan FPD passed and would go into effect on January 1, 2023 — following the MFPD Board’s recent approval of a resolution accepting new service area boundaries, which includes the entirety of the now former Peotone Fire Protection District.
The Manhattan Fire Protection District (MFPD) started the new year by hiring six full – time firefighters and promoting three firefighters to Lieutenant to serve the new, expanded Fire District, solidifying its staffing following the consolidation with the Peotone Fire Protection District.
The district’s service area has since expanded by 72 square miles and now covers 145 square miles, making MFPD one of the largest in the State. As of January 2023, MFPD proudly serves the Villages of Manhattan and Peotone, Manhattan and Peotone Townships, Jackson Township, Will Township, and Wilton Center out of three fire stations. Each fire station is staffed full – time and supplemented with part – time members: nine full – time Lieutenants, 15 full – time firefighters/paramedics, and 25 part – time firefighter EMT – B/paramedics.
As part of the consolidation, the District’s Board of Trustees has also expanded to include two additional representatives. Brian Hupe, the former Peotone Fire Protection District (PFPD) Board of Trustees President, and Bill Osborne, a former PFPD trustee, have been appointed by the Will County Board to ensure all district areas have representation. Both appointees were sworn in as Trustees during the February 20 MFPD board meeting
Local 4991 Statement of Support
In August 2020, the PFPD approached Manhattan FPD to discuss a possible partnership. The two districts entered into an intergovernmental agreement that following October. Under that agreement, the two Districts have shared administrative costs.
No. We’re not bailing out Manhattan’s pension. Both pension funds are audited annually, and both are healthy and solvent.
If consolidated, the consolidated pension fund would b e funded at nearly 104%. Manhattan’s is at nearly 91% and Peotone’s is at 128%. Manhattan’s fund was started in approximately 2007 and currently has 20 full – time firefighters contributing to the fund with no members withdrawing from it. Peotone’s fund was started in approximately 1978 and currently has zero employees contributing to the fund with three members withdrawing from it.
The Board evaluated multiple options and they sought to partner with Manhattan because they were established with full – time firefighter/paramedics, administrative staff, and an ISO class 1. Additionally, Manteno is in a different county, which complicates matters.
That is true. We strive to staff the Peotone station with six firefighters each day, with a minimum of 2 paramedics. If no part – time firefighters can work, we offer shifts to Manhattan’s full – time firefighter/paramedics for overtime. Peotone taxpayers are paying for this because the Peotone fire district reimburses Manhattan back for those overtime hours. But to answer your question, firefighter staffing is not part of the IGA. Manhattan’s full – time union firefighters are voluntarily picking up open shifts in Peoto ne in order to ensure we have minimum staffing coverage. There is no formal agreement about staffing.
There will be no guaranteed staffing and an uncertain future. As part – time departments continue to struggle across the country, we will continue to struggle. The Board will need to evaluate other options, such as possibly of having to reduce the level of our EMS service from Advanced Life Support (ALS – requires paramedics) to Basic Life Support (BLS – require s EMT – B’s). This means residents may have to wait for an ALS ambulance while initial care is given by EMT – B’s. Additionally, the Board will have to decide how to pay for and hire a fire chief, other admin staff, and more firefighters.
There are predominately two categorizations of agencies in Illinois: “fire departments” and “fire protection districts.” They both operate almost identically as far as the services they provide, but the main difference is the type of governmental agency they are. Generally, the public uses the generic term “fire department” when they refer to their local agency, regardless of if they are a “department” or a “district.
“A “fire department” is typically an actual department of a city, town, or village, no different than a town’s police department, public works department, etc. They are under the governance of that municipality’s mayor or city board or council. For example, the Peotone Fire Protection District is NOT an agency of the Village of Peotone.
A “fire protection district” is an entirely separate unit of government from the towns they serve, and they are their own tax collecting body rather than relying on getting their funds from a municipality’s budget. They usually have their own independent governing body of trustees. While they work closely with the towns they serve, they are not under the direction or management of those towns. For example, the Darien – Woodridge Fire Protection District serves parts of the Villages of Darien and Woodridge, but they are not actually run by those Villages.
Since Peotone Fire Protection District is not a FIRE DEPARTMENT, PFPD is funded by property taxes from the area they serve.
Part – time Departments: Some fire district and departments can only employ part – time firefighters; Peotone is one of those fire districts. This means that all PFPD firefighters/EMT’s, Firefighter/Paramedics are part – time employees. Part – time members are paid an hourly wage, and do not receive the same benefits of a career firefighter. Part – time firefighters work scheduled hours in the fire stations and perform all aspects of the fire service such as training, fire prevention activities, cleaning, and maintenance, etc., as well as responding to emergency incidents. Part – time members sign up for shifts based on their availability. At PFPD, there are three 24 – hour shifts: Gold, Black, and Red. These shifts are filled by PFPD part – time personnel; they sign up for these shifts once – per – month – working when they are available ether 12, or 24 hours per shift. Most part – time firefighters will also have jobs elsewhere, either inside or outside the fire service, and work as a part – time firefighter as a second job. Part – time firefighters have the same training and national certifications as career firefighters, but the hiring process and benefits are not the same. Many part – time firefighters are just beginning their career in the fire service with the goal to be hired full – time at a fire district or department.
Full-time Departments: Many departments in Illinois have full – time firefighter sometimes they’re also referred to as career firefighters. These are firefighters who have gone through that department’s testing process, were hired full time, and are employees of that department or district. The testing process for full – time firefighters is a very in – depth process that is beyond the scope of explaining in one post; just know that getting hired on a full – time department isn’t a matter of simply applying for that department any time of the year.
Most generally fire departments do a testing process every two years, and during the testing process they have an application period where anyone interested must apply during that time frame. Ap plicants will go through a series of testing steps which can encompass written exams, physical ability exams, psychological exams, etc. These steps may take several months to complete. After all testing is completed everyone who successfully passed all s teps will end up on an eligibility list ranked in order of how they scored in all processes. Should the department have a firefighter opening in those two years, they select a candidate from their eligibility list. The list will typically be good for two years.
Full – Time Firefighter/Paramedics are assigned to work a regular 24 – hour shifts, receive benefits, a salary, and pension. Many career firefighters are not permitted to work part time at other fire departments for varying reasons. Full time personnel are duty – bound to cover shifts; often this means they can be forced to work if the minimum staffing requirement is not met the following day due to time off/call – off’s.
Combination Departments: Some departments are considered combination, which means the y are made up of any combination of full – time, part – time or contract personnel. Combination fire departments are required to staff a set number of full – time firefighters, supplemented with part – time firefighters to work each shift. Manhattan Fire Protectio n District is a combination department; they employee both full – time and part – time firefighters.
Paid – on – call firefighters (POCFFs) : Are firefighters who live in the fire district, are not assigned to shifts and have careers outside of their involvement o f the fire district. They carry pagers and respond to emergency incidents when they can. In the past, many fire departments were all volunteer or POCFFs. Over time, a majority of volunteer or POCFFs fire departments transitioned to part – time, combination, or full – time fire departments to provide predictable, and reliable staffing every day on every shift. PFPD does not have any POCFF members. Currently, PFPD has 23 part – time employees. Every day, it is our objective to staff the 24 – hour shifts with a mini mum of four firefighters/EMTs and two paramedics for a total of six personnel. To maintain this goal, Manhattan Fire Protection District’s part – time and full – time members have been voluntarily signing up to cover unfilled shifts at PFPD, when needed.
Glad you asked! Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) complete a course that is a minimum of 170 hours in length. EMTs are educated in assessing a patient and determining if any life – threatening injuries or illnesses may be present. They are also trained to provide a basic level of prehospital care including splinting injuries, administering lifesaving epinephrine for a patient suffering an allergic reaction, or even administering CPR to a patient in cardiac arrest. Other skills the EMT will learn include oxygen administration, bag valve mask ventilations and even delivery of a newborn.
Paramedic students complete a program between 1,200 to 1,800 hours and may last six to twelve months. Topics covered in paramedic courses include anatomy and physiology, cardiology, pharmacology, medication administration, and medical procedures. Paramedic courses build on EMT education and teach skills such as administering medications, starting intravenous lines, providing advanced airway management, EKG Interpretation for patients, and learning to provide emergency care to patients with life – threatening medical or traumatic emergencies. An ambulance that is staffed with two EMTs is considered a Basic Life Support ambulance and only carries basic equipment EMTs are trained to use.
An ambulance that is staffed with at least one Paramedic is considered an Advanced Life Support ambulance and carries all the equipment and medications Paramedics are trained to use and administer. Here at Peotone FPD, we strive to staff two ALS ambulances every day, ensuring the highest level of prehospital care is readily available to our residents.
This is a common question we receive. Our firefighters are all cross trained in Fire & EMS. That means that all our firefighters are trained and certified to the same level (EMT and Paramedic) as ambulance crews.
Many emergency medical calls present situations that cannot be adequately addressed by a two – person ambulance crew. To ensure the highest level of care, the closest fire apparatus is dispatched with an ambulance to medical situations where extra manpower may be needed. These calls include chest pain, difficulty breathing, significant trauma, and cardiac arrest.
Fire engine crews are sometimes the first EMS providers on scene due to ambulance call volume and transport times. Our primary fire engine is ALS – this means the engine company has the necessary equipment to assess the patient, obtain vital signs, and perform treatments such as oxygen and can do the same care as an ALS ambulance except transport to the hospital.
Fire engine crews also assist the ambulance crew in safely moving the patient to the ambulance. Critically ill or injured patients often need to be carried on a stretcher and, many times, will need to be carried down several flights of stairs.
Additionally, because medical emergencies sometimes occur in hazardous environments such as on a highway, interstate, or at the scene of a crime, a two – unit response provides for a greater level safety for patients, fire department personnel, and bystanders.
Daily, communities face emergencies, which overtax their local fire/ EMS and special operations capabilities. MABAS (Mutual Aid Box Alarm System) is a unique organization where every MABAS participating agency has signed the same contract with their 1000+ counterpart MABAS agencies. As a MABAS agency, you agree to standards of operation, incident command, minimum level of equipment staffing, safety, and on – scene terminology.
MABAS agencies, regardless of their geopolitical origin, are able to work together seamlessly on any emergency scene. All MABAS agencies operate on a common radio frequency, Interagency Fire Emergency Radio Net work (IFERN) and are activated for response through pre – designed run cards. Each participating agency designs and tailors to meet their local risk need.
MABAS also provides mutual aid station coverage to a stricken community when their fire/ EMS resources are committed to an incident for an extended period. MABAS website https://www.mabas-il.org/