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Fire district secures automatic aid, considers truck purchase

LAKE BARRINGTON – The Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District is checking its lists of final preparations as it moves toward independent operations effective Jan. 1.

Trustees Monday night received word of new automatic aid agreements and equipment purchasing plans while the district board resumed discussion of a third Barrington Countryside fire station.

BCFPD Chief Jeff Swanson announced that 2014 automatic aid agreements have been reached with both the Lake Zurich and Long Grove fire departments. The board then approved these agreements.

Swanson said additional automatic aid agreements with the following communities are in the works: Algonquin-Lake in the Hills, Fox River Grove, East Dundee, Palatine, Carpentersville, Hoffman Estates and, most notably, the village of Barrington.

Barrington Fire Chief Jim Arie asked for the district's help in moving forward with an automatic aid agreement between the village and district fire departments.

"I think there's a commitment to the community as a whole," Arie said. "I need to know what to tell people."

As for needed equipment, the district already has assessed and divided decades of shared equipment with the village of Barrington since announcing the end of its contractual intergovernmental agreement in September 2012. But the amount of equipment it received may not be enough to service its residents independently.

Swanson said he is looking into purchasing a new or used engine to be housed at Station 3 in Lake Barrington.

"Our goal would be to find something that's available now rather than ordering an engine to be built," Swanson said. "That would be an eight- to nine-month project."

Trustee Paul Heinze once again initiated discussion of a possible third station. Heinze said he would like to re-evaluate this topic given the level of cooperation from neighboring automatic aid communities.

"A third station is germane to our needs and the safety of our residents," Heinze said. "It's necessary and sensible in order to achieve excellence in service."

In response to Heinze's proposal, the board asked the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association to evaluate the necessity and location of a possible third station, considering required manpower, equipment, property acquisition and other factors. Previously discussed areas have been those surrounding Lake-Cook and Ridge roads in Barrington Hills.

Special meetings have been announced for the purpose of informing district residents on next year's plans and discussing or approving additional automatic aid agreements.

A presentation will be made in the form of a town meeting at 6 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 28, at Countryside Elementary School, 205 West Countyline Road in Barrington, to orient the Barrington Countryside community with service and response plans for January and beyond.

The next board meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 4, in Station 3, 22222 North Pepper Road in Lake Barrington. Board members are hopeful to secure additional automatic aid agreements by this time.

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