New Lenox Fire Protection District
2017 New Lenox Fire Protection District Year in Review
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By Member Marisa Schrieber
December 14, 2017

(December 14, 2017) New Lenox Fire Protection District (NLFPD) has had its busiest year in its history. In 2017, we are on pace to respond to more than 4,100 calls, which keeps our increasing call rate on trend with the last few years.

Since 2007, the number of calls we respond to per year has increased from 2,649 to over 4,100. Ten years ago, we ran an average of 7 calls per day, today we run an average of 11 calls per day. In busier times of the year, we can see upwards of 17 calls per day.

Not only has the number of emergency calls increased, but so has the number of multiple calls at one time. This year, we have run more than 1,027 calls simultaneously. Of these requests for service, 926 were two calls at a time, 75 times there were three calls at a time. There were 33 instances where we received four to ten calls at a time, and we needed to rely on mutual aid from other area fire districts to help with coverage. The increasing number and multiple requests for service at a time also increases our response time, as our vehicles have to drive from other areas of the district in order to get to the other emergency.

In addition to running emergency calls every day, the firefighters must complete a minimum of 18 hours of monthly fire training, not including Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and specialties training. Our firefighters all continue to earn certificates in various specialties, such as water rescues, Hazmat operations, fire apparatus engineer, and technical rescue. Many of these additional hours of training were obtained using a variety of free courses, scholarships and grants. Thanks to the efforts of our dedicated personnel, we have highly trained firefighters and paramedics who work hard at making a difference within the community. They are prepared to answer the call for help to any type of emergency.

New Lenox Fire Protection District implemented a new CPR protocol known as C.A.M.P (Cardiac Arrest Management Program) in 2015 and it is still going strong with many successful saves. This program requires a great deal of manpower, but we know the benefits are tremendous and we will continue to provide this to the community. Every time we receive a call for a cardiac arrest event, such as a patient not breathing, we commit seven to eight firefighter/paramedics (FF/PM) to the scene for a minimum of 20 minutes. The C.A.M.P. program has specific duties for each person on the scene, and rotates those who are doing chest compressions so that we can maintain higher quality CPR. Studies have shown that two minutes it the maximum amount a time a person can perform adequate compressions, anything longer than this, the effectiveness of the compressions decreases. By changing out our FF/PM doing this job every two minutes, we have a more consistent level of compressions being done. Through the utilization of the C.A.M.P. methods, over the last few years we have seen our percentage of saves increase dramatically from 3% before 2015 to 25% in 2017!

Currently, we have three engines that are between 13-16 years of age with over 110,000 miles. We also have a tender that is a 1986. This aging fleet can make our jobs difficult with frequent breakdowns and repairs, and we are looking to get them replaced in the near future.
At the end of 2016, several of our district vehicles were damaged in an accident when a vehicle came off Route 30 and struck the vehicles parked at Station 1. These vehicles were replaced this year using insurance money from the incident.

In 2017, we were able to purchase one Cardiac Monitor Defibrillator and replace one set of our extrication tools with the help of the New Lenox Fire Foundation.

This year we were excited to be able to promote several of our personnel. Jamie Brown was promoted to Fire Marshal from Fire Inspector, and Dan Turner was appointed from Fire Marshal to Deputy Chief. With the retirement of Chief Steven Engledow earlier this year, Adam Riegel was appointed to Chief in June.

The NLFPD’s Fire and Life Safety Division (FLSD) has three functions: Education, Engineering, and Enforcement. We have these divided into two groups: Inspections and Education. In 2017, the FLSD was very busy with inspections and reviewing site plans, in large part thanks to the increase of new construction and remodels in addition to our annual inspection program. The Fire and Life Safety Division partners with the Village of New Lenox and Will County Building Departments to help us insure the safety for residents, business owners, visitors and firefighters.

Safety education and fire drills within the community kept the NLFPD very active this year. The number of educational opportunities the district can provide continues to grow with programs available for preschoolers through senior citizens.
This year we began a partnership with the American Red Cross, offering free smoke alarms to area residents. We also received a donation from an area resident which provided CO detectors for some of our residents.

In August, we held our annual Family Fun Day which provided a family-friendly day for area residents to visit Station 1 for children’s activities, truck rides, station tours, and to learn about everything the firefighters do on a daily basis. We also invited the community to our Open House at each of our four fire stations where anyone who was able to stop by had the opportunity to tour the stations and meet their local fire firefighters. We also held two babysitting classes, fire extinguisher training to area businesses, station tours to various groups, and assisted area residents with over 100 child safety seat installations.

In 2017 the NLFPD continued to maintain and grow our community involvement. Throughout the year we participated at church and community events, provided ambulance services to 5K and 10K runs, area high school graduations, Proud American Days, and other area events. In addition, the district taught monthly CPR training to New Lenox area residents, and private CPR instruction to area businesses and churches.

Throughout December, the NLFPD partnered with the New Lenox Professional Firefighters Local #5097 in a new event, bringing Santa to several of the neighborhoods within the fire district. It seems to have been a huge success. We are hoping to make this an annual event, and bring Santa to more neighborhoods in years to come.

Over the past year the district participated in several fundraising events, including collecting hundreds of toys for Toys for Tots, New Lenox Township and Silver Cross Hospital, as well as Wreaths Across America. Thanks to the residents of New Lenox and area businesses, we increased last year’s fundraising efforts for our Wreaths Across America campaign! We collected more than $20,000 for Wreaths Across America, which allowed us to purchase and place over 1,330 wreaths on veterans’ gravesites at the Abraham Lincoln Cemetery in Elwood, Illinois. The cemetery has over 50,000 gravesites, and we are hoping to one day be able to cover our section of 1,900; making our goal of $28,000.

As we look toward our future, the goal of our district is to enhance the quality of life for our community and provide fire and EMS services with excellence. Please check out our website and Facebook page for more information on your fire district throughout the year.

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