Fire district set for new year

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013 10:50 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013 10:52 a.m. CDT

LAKE BARRINGTON – Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District trustees met Monday for what could be their last board meeting before the district “goes live” to begin independent operations Jan. 1.

Final topics included auto-aid agreements, third station planning and the readying of equipment.

To date, the district has secured 2014 auto-aid agreements with all neighboring communities except the Hoffman Estates and Palatine fire departments, and the village-run Barrington Fire Department.

BCFPD Chief Jeff Swanson said the district will operate on a mutual-aid understanding with Hoffman Estates, sending mutual help when manpower is available without a formal contract.

Although no such mutual-aid agreement is in place with the district’s closest neighbor – the Barrington Fire Department – there’s no worry, Swanson said.

“There is absolutely no concern about operating without Barrington,” he said.

A more prominent topic Monday was the newly acquired auto-aid agreement with the Palatine Rural Fire Department, a formerly pending negotiation that had left Inverness residents such as Kathy Feingold worried, since Palatine borders western portions of Inverness and eastern portions of the district.

Palatine Rural Fire Chief Hank Clemmensen said the agreement took longer than expected, but it is now ready and equitable, stipulating that the district provides a fire engine or water tanker, as needed, for all structure fires in Palatine Rural’s jurisdiction. In return, Palatine Rural will provide an Advanced Life Support engine for district calls that occur south of Lake Cook Road and will provide initial fire and paramedic response for calls originating from the district’s far-eastern edge.

Feingold said she was ready to present district trustees with a 200-signature online petition Monday, but instead was pleased with the Palatine Rural agreement.

Just over two weeks away from the start of the new year, Swanson announced Monday that the district is now 94 percent ready to begin its operations apart from the village. The district currently purchases emergency fire and medical services from the Barrington Fire Department, through an intergovernmental agreement that will expire Dec. 31.

Swanson said the few remaining items of this year’s business include paperwork, the movement of equipment and a true-up process with the village, making sure each entity receives their fair share of disbursements.

The next regular district board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 20, at district headquarters, 22222 N. Pepper Road, Lake Barrington.

For information, visit www.bcfpd.org.

District President Tom Rowan said the village and district will move apparatus to its designated stations this week, ensuring all equipment is in place and fully operational before midnight, Jan. 1.

Looking ahead to the coming year, district trustees will continue to work with the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association to acquire the land needed for a third station to be built within the district.

“It’s in our long-term planning,” district Trustee Paul Heinze said. “A third station will ensure excellent service. We are in a preliminary state with land acquisition in the near future.”

Heinze said the district is motivated to fully act on building a third station and will continue this discussion in depth next month.

The district’s Lake Barrington headquarters at 22222 N. Pepper Road will be named Fire Station 1 as of Jan. 1. The district’s second station resides in Barrington Hills at 120 W. Algonquin Road. The village fire department will continue to operate at 400 N. Northwest Highway, Barrington.

The next regular district board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 20, at district headquarters, 22222 N. Pepper Road, Lake Barrington. For information, visit www.bcfpd.org.

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