Des Plaines alderman wants to change firefighter hiring rules
Des Plaines Ald. James Brookman, 5th, would like the Des Plaines Fire Department to ditch a requirement that mandates prospective firefighter candidates have a paramedic license to qualify for the job. The Des Plaines City Council recently approved an amendment that allows the city's board of fire and police commissioners to set a minimum passing score for firefighter applicants on the department's written exam. Brookman, a former firefighter, used the consent agenda item as an opportunity to air his grievances with a city rule that says only applicants currently licensed with the Illinois Department of Public Health as a paramedic or those who hold a current certificate from the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians as a paramedic may take the exam.
Brookman argued that the department, with the current rule in place, was limiting its pool of applicants to "an extremely small percentage of all people."
"We should hire the best people we can find and then train them," he said.
Woman helps mom, 2-year-old escape house fire in North Chicago
A 65-year-old North Chicago woman helped her mother and a 2-year-old get out of a burning house Monday afternoon without injury. “We blessed,” said Aline Williams, sitting outside under a neighbor’s shade tree while firefighters rolled up hoses and finished cleanup at her home at 1433 Victoria Avenue.
“I looked up and saw the ceiling on fire,” she said. “I was in a hurry trying to get out of the house.”
Williams grabbed her great granddaughter, Robin Lewis with one hand and then grabbed her mother, Dora Greenwood, who cannot speak or hear, with the other.
She led them both to safety as Greenwood’s dog, Lady, followed them out of the house.
North Chicago Fire Chief Dell Urban said the fire started in a in attic space that was converted into a bedroom.
Opinion: Chicago Mayor’s CPS preference plan in firefighter hiring a "stunt"
The City of Chicago is gearing up to enforce its Chicago Public Schools preference policy, which would give CPS graduates preferential standing among other firefighter applicants, providing an unfair advantage above students enrolled in private or religious schools. While Mayor Rahm Emanuel apparently seeks to encourage more opportunity for CPS high school graduates to serve in the Chicago Fire Department, it seems like a shortsighted approach to creating educational stability and opportunities for Chicago’s youth. With dwindling poll numbers as it relates to his education policies, it appears the mayor yet again has not given much thought towards how to empower Chicago’s youth.
I suggest a real and meaningful incentive plan that goes beyond the mayor’s proposal.
Instead of offering CPS high school graduates special treatment, the mayor should work toward giving students the educational resources they need to become successful firefighters. CPS should turn the current Chicago Police and Firefighter Training Academy after-school program into an in-school Career and Technical Education program of study.
Geneva firefighters union to present veteran with new truck
U.S. Army Specialist Joshua Kerber will be the first recipient of the Associated Firefighters of Illinois Geneva Local 4287 gift of a car. Kerber, 26, of West Chicago, who lost his left arm in Afghanistan in 2009, told the Geneva City Council some of his story Monday.
“I joined the Army in 2008,” Kerber said. “I looked around at my job prospects and realized that I needed an education and I couldn’t afford one. And the Army had always been something on the back burner. I had family that served; it seemed like a good thing.”
Kerber lost his arm during a security operation “a night like any other night” when his convoy was ambushed. He was the gunner on the lead vehicle that was hit by rocket propelled grenades.
“I went down. I stood up and began to attempt to return fire,” Kerber said. “The second [hit] – there was no getting back up after that one. I have shrapnel throughout my body. This [right] arm is hurt, too, but luckily there’s no nerve damage .... The left arm – don’t feel bad for it, it was useless anyway.”
Kerber, flanked by Geneva firefighters and union members Kevin Swanson, Rod Johnson and Dave Lentz, each wearing a sample black T-shirt that supports their fundraising effort.