From the Chief 2017-07-11T22:07:00+00:00

From the Chief

PFPD Logo
photo of Chief Riddle's office
Chief David Riddle

Volume 5, Issue 4 – Winter 2017 – 2018

The holidays are here and we hope they continue to be safe for each and every one of you. We’re here to help achieve that goal so don’t hesitate to call on us if we can help you check your smoke or carbon monoxide detectors or provide any advice when it comes to your home or business safety issues. Our annual fire prevention week open house was another success thanks to almost 1200 of you that attended the 3-hour event this year. Our staff was excited about showing you a snapshot of the services we provide and just a small slice of the expertise your Plainfield Fire District members are able to offer. Thanks again for all of your support and we hope you’ll be able to join us at next year’s open house.

As you may have read in the Profiles section of previous On The Scene newsletters we will have three significant members of our Fire District retire at the end of this year. The first retirement is of our 33 year HR/Finance administrator Cheree Lewis. She began her career as a fulltime administrative assistant downtown at former fire station 1 on Des Plaines. She’s been the hub of the evolving growth of our fire district, learning and doing more as our operations grew and became more complex, year after year. When Cheree began in 1985 there were only 6 fulltime employees and today there is a mix of about 135 fulltime and part time employees. We surely wouldn’t be where we are today without her dedication and commitment to the district and our residents. Cheree plans on doing more traveling with her husband Larry, while also enjoying her grandchildren and many hobbies. We sincerely wish her continued good health and happiness and know she’ll enjoy the well deserved life of retirement after doing so much for so many these past 33 years.

The second retirement is of our long-time IT/AV/CAD system coordinator, Jim Melaniphy who developed, implemented and maintained our growing reliance on that “side” of the business, without whom we’d be lagging in our efforts to deliver state-of-the-art services to our residents. Jim has also proudly served as a volunteer firefighter with us since 2004. He’s been an integral part of our operation since joining us full time and has continued to guide us by identifying weaknesses and vulnerabilities, developing systems to address those and continually looking for ways to improve those structures that support mission. We wish Jim and his wife Sally a long and fruitful retirement, enjoying their grandchildren along with their varied hobbies and interests.

Lastly, this past November Ralph Rouse, a member of our organization since 1950 retired. Most of us can only imagine the changes Ralph has seen both in the community and in our Fire District. One of the biggest must be the transition from a primarily volunteer organization to the primarily career agency it is today. Ralph clearly remembers the sad day in August of 1990 when the devastating tornado struck our community and has shared the memories of those horrible days that followed. He’s played a significant role with us over these past 67 years including being selected as Fireman of the Year in 1980 and 1992. His service as an officer with the volunteer department is notable and he’s been the President since 1979. We know Ralph and his wife Shirley will now get to enjoy a well-deserved retirement, finally! Cheree, Jim and Ralph will be greatly missed by all of us. With the changing weather upon us, please slow down, plan a little more time to get to your destinations and put the cell phone down while you’re driving; Stop The Texts – Stop The Wrecks!

As always,

Be careful out there…

David S. Riddle, Chief

Volume 5, Issue 3 – Fall 2017

I hope this gradual entry into fall and the return to school for our children has been safe for you and your family.

September is “National Preparedness Month” and the theme is Disasters don’t plan ahead. You can. Make an emergency plan today. We have regularly visited this topic in previous issues and continue to underscore the importance of YOU making a plan for you and your family, TODAY. There are volumes of information available through simple internet searches and even easier if you visit our website, www.plainfieldfpd.com.

Within approximately 95% of the Plainfield Fire Protection District, we’ve been awarded a Class 1 in the Public Protection Classification by ISO. ISO stands for the Insurance Services Office. ISO is responsible for setting the Public Protection Classification (PPC) rating. ISO is a nationwide organization that ranks about 47,000 fire districts and departments nationwide on their overall ability to respond to fires. ISO’s rating system evaluates communities in four categories, fire department emergency communications, the water supply system, fire department operations and the fire department’s efforts at community risk reduction. Fire agencies (departments and districts) are ranked in classes from 1 to 10, with 1 being the best ranking. Currently there are 14 fire agencies in Illinois and 270 fire agencies nationwide who have achieved an ISO Class 1 rating.

We’re extremely proud to announce this significant achievement in the history of the Plainfield Fire Protection District. Clearly this would not have been possible without the vision and effort of so many of the men and women who built this foundation over many years, if not decades and for their service we sincerely thank them. We would like to thank three other major partners in this accomplishment. First is the Village of Plainfield water department who has a well-maintained, first-class distribution system that supports our suppression efforts. Additionally, WESCOM, our 9-1-1 dispatch center, provides a crucial component of our “grade” and without their professional support and skills we could not have been as successful. Finally we thank you, our homeowners and business community for without your financial support in providing and maintaining the necessary resources, we would not have been successful.

What does this mean for you, the business or homeowner? Effective November 1st, your insurance underwriter will be able to use this new Class 1 rating as part of their calculation in determining your fire insurance rates. We don’t set those rates; your insurance company does and about 2/3 of the national insurance companies use this rating in their calculations. This is a community rating, not just a fire department rating. A community’s investment in fire mitigation is a proven and reliable predictor of preventing future fire losses. Our future mission remains clear; strengthening our current position and establishing priorities to address deficiencies found in the grading process. Our next grading period will be sometime in 2022.

Don’t forget to mark your calendar for our annual Fire Prevention Week Open House which will be held on Saturday, September 30th from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at fire station 2 on 135th street, east of Rt. 59.

The other event is the Chat With The Chiefs, the last one for this year, on October 25th at 7 p.m. here at Plainfield Fire District Headquarters, next to station 2.

As always,

Be careful out there…

David S. Riddle, Chief

Volume 5, Issue 2 – Summer 2017

The summer heat will soon be upon us so be sure to stay hydrated and cool. Staying cool might include swimming so it’s important to briefly review just a few swimming safety rules. NO! running, pushing, or shoving. NO! diving in shallow water. NO! glassware in the pool area and don’t leave children unattended in the pool area. Tragedy strikes quickly and with little warning.

An always enjoyable summer celebration is the 4th of July. Though fireworks that explode are generally illegal in Illinois there are many lawful “fireworks” that don’t explode, but that doesn’t mean they are safe. We all enjoy the fireworks and encourage you to watch them in shows put on by licensed professionals over this holiday. An unfortunate fact is that our children are the too-frequent victims of fireworks “accidents” and just as one important reminder, sparklers burn at 1,800° Fahrenheit! For more fireworks safety tips please check our website for links.

Our training facilities are being put to good use and here’s a brief update: Since our first live burn in the training buildings on the headquarters campus last year on April 25th, we have had over 100 live training burns. Plainfield Fire personnel are not the only men and women that are able to take advantage of this significant and robust training facility. Other groups that have taken advantage of our facility include the MABAS Division 15 TRT (Technical Rescue Team), Joliet FD’s TRT, the Plainfield Police & Fire Academy, the University of Illinois Fire Service Institute’s Explorer Program, as well as other Fire Protection Districts including Braidwood, Channahon, Coal City, Minooka, Morris and Troy. These agencies have utilized the burn towers to keep up their life saving skills as well as honing their technical, non-fire rescue skills.

An extremely useful app for your smartphone was recently launched by the Will County Emergency Management Agency. The Ready Will County app will assist you in preparing a custom emergency plan for your family along with a treasure trove of emergency preparedness information in one easily accessible location; right on your smartphone! For example, during an emergency users can alert their contacts that they are safe or need help. Users can also use the map feature to see evacuation routes or road closures. Information you really need, when you need it! I encourage you to download the Ready Will County app right now while you are reading this and make sure you and your loved ones are ready when emergency strikes.

I hope to see you at our next quarterly “Chat with the Chiefs” which is scheduled for July 26th at the Plainfield Police Department. I hope your schedule permits your attendance.

If you have the power to make someone happy, do it. The world needs more of that.

Be careful out there…

David S. Riddle, Chief

Volume 5, Issue 1 – Spring 2017

Welcome to spring and as it warms up and more of us venture outside to enjoy the weather please keep a sharp eye out for those pedestrians and bicyclists that will be sharing the roadways with you. Put the phone down and stop the texts to stop the wrecks.

In light of three tragic and preventable deaths from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning in our fire district in 2016, we partnered with Kidde and First Alert to put a working CO detector in the homes of some of the most vulnerable residents of our community. While this is definitely a work in progress we’ve gathered some data points that cause concern. Included in our visit to the selected homes, we also offer to check the smoke detectors. Though we don’t have enough data to
come to any solid conclusions yet, the early data suggests that more than half of the homes we’ve visited also have a significant issue with smoke detectors. These issues included too few smoke detectors, detectors that have no batteries or
dead batteries, detectors that were beyond their recommended life of 10 years while some homes had no detectors at all. Though we currently have a full list of families for our CO detector installation program we may continue to expand the program as resources permit.

Please, please, please contact us at 815/436-5335 during normal business hours to request help or guidance on the placement, testing and maintenance of your home smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. We’re here to help you and those you love. Our members will make an appointment with you to provide the needed assistance.

This May will see the awarding of scholarships named in honor of retired Chief John D. Eichelberger. Four college-bound high school seniors who live within our fire district will be the recipients of these awards, underwritten and sustained by the Plainfield Volunteer Fire Department. This is the second year of this effort and we’re glad we’re able to partner with our students and schools in this important endeavor.

Thanks for your continued support and as always,

Be careful out there…

David S. Riddle, Chief

Volume 4, Issue 3 – Winter 2016

As we enter the holiday season our hope is that you and your family enjoy it safely. Here are our 12 Days of Holiday Safety:

1. Remember Change-Your-Clock, Change-Your-Battery? Test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Replace your smoke detector if it’s over 10 years old and replace your carbon monoxide detector if it’s over 5 years old. Ensure your family and guests know what to do if they hear them activate by knowing and practicing your escape route and having an outside meeting place.
2. Don’t be shocked by your lights or appliances! Check those cords regularly.
3. Overload isn’t just something that affects your daily life. Check to ensure this holiday doesn’t put a strain on your outlets!
4. Use that test button. Test your ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) to ensure they’re protecting you; you probably have them in your kitchen, bathrooms and garage at the minimum.
5. Will this trip you up? Prevent trips and falls by keeping electrical cords safely along walls and out of doorways and other high traffic areas.
6. Kids and pets find the oddest things “tasty!” Don’t put lights, metal hooks, breakable ornaments, tinsel and small decorations within reach of your pets and young children.
7. Trees need to drink too. Keep your Christmas tree stand full of water. A fresh, green tree poses less of a fire hazard than a dry tree.
8. Is your home fire extinguisher fully charged and up to date? Is it accessible? Remember the four steps to using your fire extinguisher: PASS – Pull the pin, Aim at the base of the fire, Squeeze the handle and Sweep side to side!
9. Make a wish! Blow out the candles before leaving a room or going to bed. Better yet, use battery operated faux candles; just as pretty and NO fire hazard!
10. Cozy on a winter’s night? Keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn-decorations, trees, gifts, furniture and curtains. 11. Have you adopted your fire hydrant? If snow covers “your” fire hydrant and you can’t see it, guess what? We can’t see it either. Please clear the snow from around the hydrant, 3 feet in every direction.
12. Now that’s hot! Keep children away from unsupervised cooking areas; use the stove’s back burners and turn pot handles in away from curious little hands. May the special joys of the season be yours today and always,

<p style=”text-align: center;”>Be careful out there…</p>
<p style=”text-align: center; font-size: 24px; font-style: script;”>David S. Riddle, Chief</p>

Volume 4, Issue 2 – Fall 2016

The weather is changing and the days are getting shorter which means more things you need to do before winter is upon us. Now is the time to have your wood burning fireplace or stove cleaned and checked before you begin loading it with wood for your first fire “of the season.” Chimney fires happen most often at night, after you’ve gone to bed and after you think your fire has long been out. Get it checked today!

We’ve sold our old fire district headquarters building downtown on Des Plaines Street and the new owners have begun their interior demolition. Keep your eye on this exciting project as they move forward to converting the use and becoming another strong partner in the downtown shopping area. The proceeds from this sale will be put into supporting our new training facility as well as designated for future capital projects.

Our annual Fire Prevention Week Open House is scheduled for Saturday, October 8th from 11am – 2pm at fire station 2 on 135th Street, east of Rt. 59. Last year we had over 1,000 attendees to watch live demonstrations, view static exhibits, have a hot dog or two, hopefully win a door prize and enjoy tours of some of our facilities. We have more planned for this year and look forward to seeing you!

Through donations and money from our pancake breakfasts and turkey raffle we were able to give 4, $500 Chief John D. Eichelberger Scholarships to deserving college-bound high school seniors this past spring. We look forward to continuing this program in years to come.

Our next quarterly “Chat With The Chiefs” is scheduled for October 26th at 7pm here at our headquarters facility. This is an opportunity for our residents to hear brief presentations from Chief John Konopek from the Plainfield Police Department, Chief Mike Veseling from the Oswego Fire Protection District and myself, as well as ask any questions concerning our various operations. We look forward to meeting you then.

You may have seen that Edward Elmhurst Hospital in Plainfield will soon be accepting advanced life support (ALS) patients and as soon as all of the details are worked out, some of our emergency ambulance transports may be able to bring patients to this hometown facility. We’ll keep you posted on that progress and you can see our article later in this newsletter about this situation and as always,

Be careful out there…

David S. Riddle, Chief

Volume 4, Issue 1 – Spring 2016

Spring has sprung! We all know that with nicer weather more and more of our neighbors and children will be running, walking, riding bikes and generally enjoying the opportunities to get out of the house. Please put down the cell phone and pay close attention as you drive, especially around our schools. Distracted driving crashes and injuries are on the rise and texts and phone calls can wait. Stop the texts, stop the wrecks.

Our new training facilities on the headquarters campus are up and running now and have seen extensive use which will increase as time goes by. We’ve partnered with Joliet Junior College to provide in-kind services for the use of these state-of-the-art facilities for the students in the fire science curriculum and look forward to expanding our partnerships with other education institutions, such as the Uni-versity of Illinois Fire Service Institute as well as the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, MD.

The Plainfield Fire Department has established the John D. Eichelberger Schol-arship program for college bound seniors who reside within the Plainfield Fire Protection District. Working with School District 202, a committee of FD staff began the difficult process of deciding upon 4 deserving students who will receive $500 each to go toward college expenses. The presentation ceremonies will take place during the school district’s Senior Honors Night on May 11th. Congratulations to all who applied. This scholarship program is provided through generous dona-tions at various FD fundraising events including the annual Turkey Raffle.

It is with sadness that I recognize the sudden death of our Emergency Vehicle Tech-nician (EVT), Mike Ludemann. Mike was a gift to our fire district and this community and we lost him way too soon. Mike’s skills and abilities were unmatched and as a testament to that, he was recognized as the EVT of the Year for Illinois in 2010. Mike was the go-to EVT in the area and would field calls and requests for help from his peers on a regular basis. He was on-call 24 hours a day and would drop whatever he was doing to take care of issues with our fleet whenever notified. Please keep Mike, his wife Mary and the rest of his family in your thoughts and prayers as the days ahead unfold. RIP Mike, you’ll be forever missed.

Our quarterly “Chat With The Chiefs” is scheduled for April 27th, at 7pm here at our headquarters facility. This is an opportunity for our residents to hear brief presenta-tions from Commander Anthony Novak from the Plainfield Police Department (filling in for Chief Konopek who won’t be in attendance), Chief Mike Veseling from the Oswego Fire Protection District and myself, as well as ask any questions concerning our various operations. We look forward to meeting you then.

With spring comes April showers and we should all be prepared for the severe weather that comes with it. Have a plan and prepare for the worst. Think about places of refuge in your home, where you shop and where you work. Severe weather can strike anytime of the day or night. See the following article about severe weather preparedness and as always,

Be careful out there…

David S. Riddle, Chief

Volume 3, Issue 4 – Winter 2015-2016

Please join us in welcoming our newest Board of Trustees (BOT) member, Mr. Robert Baish. He was appointed at the November BOT meeting to fill a vacant seat on the board. There were three highly qualified applicants to fill this seat and after serious deliberations the board made the unanimous ap-pointment of Mr. Baish. We look forward to further strengthening the pur-suit of our mission with the filling of this vacancy.

Our Fire Prevention Week Open House was another success thanks to all of you who were able to share a part of your day with us. We had almost 1,000 residents of our fire district attend and along with our personnel who helped plan, organize and deliver our programs, this annual event is becoming something not-to-miss! Plan ahead for Saturday, October 8, 2016 and we hope to see you here.

We hope you’ve had your wood burning fireplace cleaned in preparation for the winter season and ask you to practice sound fire safety when using your home fireplace. You can always contact us for any specific ques-tions regarding fire safety in your home and please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

We’ve had our last “Chat with the Chiefs” for 2015 and look forward to seeing more of you at the 2016 quar-terly “Chats,” the first of which is Wednesday, January 27th at the Plainfield Police Department. This is an op-portunity for you, our residents, to meet with and ask questions of your chiefs; John Konopek, Plainfield Police Department, Mike Veseling, Oswego Fire Protection District and myself.

We have started the work to refresh the strategic plan for the fire district and have included 3 citizens on the committee for this effort. We look forward to a first quarter completion of the rough draft for considera-tion by the Board of Trustees approval and adoption.

You’re also invited to visit our “new” website at plainfieldfpd.com at your convenience. We believe you’ll find the updated site more user-friendly and loaded with information and valuable links that will be of interest to all of you.
We’ve all made it through our first significant snowfall of winter and as a reminder from our last issue of On The Scene we want you to consider what happens to the fire hydrant in front of your home or on your block when the snow accumulates. Remember, if you can’t see it, neither can we. Please think about “adopting” your hydrant. Call our Fire Prevention office at 815.436.5335 for further information on how you can help us help you.

With winter continuing her steady grip upon us please remember to Stop the Texts and Stop the Wrecks! Texting and phone calls can wait. And as always,

Be careful out there…

David S. Riddle, Chief

Volume 3, Issue 3 – Fall 2015

Our schools have now resumed classes and I’m offering another gentle reminder to please put down the cell phone and reduce the many other distractions that put others at risk on the roads and especially around our schools. Texting and phone calls can wait.

Some of the changes you’ll see around the fire district include the flashing warning lights near each of our 4 fire stations to give a timely warning to motorists that our emergency apparatus are departing the station to respond to a call. These additions were substantially funded by a grant from our insurance company and we’re confident they’ll reduce the potential for accidents during our responses.

We’re excited about our Fire Prevention Week Open House and please mark your calendar to attend Saturday October 3rd from noon until 3pm. See our article later in this edition for more details.

When you do come to our open house you’ll be able to see the new training facilities; the latest addition to the Headquarters campus. These facilities are also discussed later in this issue but we look forward to using them to further sharpen the already excellent skills our firefighters and emergency medical personnel possess. We also anticipate further use as a regional training facility and are already fielding and making inquiries about that potential.

Our quarterly “Chat With The Chiefs” is scheduled for October 28th at 7pm here at our headquarters facility. This is an opportunity for our residents to hear brief presentations from Chief Konopek from the Plainfield Police Department, Chief Mike Veseling from the Oswego Fire Protection District and myself, as well as ask any questions concerning our various operations. We look forward to meeting you then. Don’t cringe but winter will too soon be upon us and we want you to consider what happens to the fire hydrant in front of your home or on your block when the snow accumulates. Remember, if you can’t see it, neither can we. Please think about “adopting” your hydrant. Call our Fire Prevention office at 815-436-5335 for further information on how you can help us help you.

As a closing reminder to you, the Plainfield Fire Protection does NOT do telephone solicitations to collect funds for any purpose. If anyone calls you soliciting funds, suggesting they’re representing the Plainfield Fire Protection District, please decline and let us know about it. There’s little we can do to prevent the fraudulent efforts of these persons but we’ll make appropriate notifications to the Illinois Attorney General’s office. Make sure your family members, friends and neighbors are aware of this scam too and as always,

Be careful out there….

David S. Riddle, Chief

Volume 3, Issue 2 – Summer 2015

As we all welcome the move from winter into a short spring we have a number of things to talk about. School is out and we implore you to be safe while driving. Please put the phone down, your phone call or text can wait. We have begun work updating our current website and know that you’ll like the changes. We look forward to you making this a regular stop along your daily “surfing” route after we get it completed. Important links, safety tips and other germane information will be included and updated regularly. We can still be found at www.plainfieldfpd.com.

I know it may be a little early but make plans now to attend our annual Fire Prevention Week Open house scheduled for Saturday, October 3rd from noon-3pm. This year’s theme is “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep;” every bedroom needs a working smoke alarm! Fire Prevention Week open house, held at our fire station 2 on 135th Street, east of Rt. 59 should prove to be another great opportunity to see what your fire district is doing for you. We had over 500 in attendance last year and hope to increase that number this year.

You may notice a lot of activity around our headquarters campus on 135th Street too. We are in the early stages of constructing two training facilities; one in which live-burns may be conducted and the other for more technical rescue training. These buildings have been a part of our strategic plan and are now coming to fruition. We’re also installing flashing emergency warning lights near all four of our current fire stations to warn mo-torists when our apparatus are exiting the stations on emergency responses. These solar powered units have been substantially funded by a grant from our insurance company and we look forward to their completion by the end of July.

We have also developed a “customer” survey form that we should begin distributing by the time you read this. The survey form is another effort to help ensure that the delivery of our services is what you expect. If our performance and service is not up to your expectations, we want to know. We also enjoy hearing what we do well for you but are very concerned when we don’t. We are here to serve YOU. Please help us by providing your frank comments as we move ahead.

Remember safety while swimming and fire prevention as you enjoy a barbeque. Enjoy the summer safely and all the fun outdoor activities the warm weather brings with it.

Be careful out there….

David S. Riddle, Chief

Volume 3, Issue 1 – Spring 2015

Welcome to our Spring edition of On The Scene. As your new fire chief of the Plainfield Fire Protection District (PFPD) I welcome my first opportunity to address you in this newsletter.

I’m both humbled and honored to assume the reins from our long-time Chief, John Eichelberger, who retired at the beginning of the year after 40 years of dedicated and loyal service to the residents of and visitors to our District. My wife Patti and I live in the district and have two adult sons with families of their own, including our 4 grandchildren. My late father and brother as well as other extended family members were also career and volunteer members of the fire service. I began my fire service journey as a volunteer with the Harvey, Illinois Fire Department. My career with Harvey ended after rising through the ranks and leaving as Chief to accept the Chief’s position with the Channahon Fire District. I remained Chief of Chan-nahon Fire until joining Plainfield Fire in early 2012.

In my experience, our fire district is comprised of some of the best and most dedicated firefighters, paramedics, technical rescue members, hazmat technicians, water rescue experts, fire prevention inspectors and support staff that you’ll find assembled anywhere. With the rapidly evolving mission of the fire service coupled with the increasing demand on resources, we all are making efforts to continue to do more with less. From the poten-tial of our expanding role in Integrated Mobile Healthcare through the Affordable Care Act to the risks associ-ated with the increased transport of crude oil and other hazardous materials on our local railroads and high-ways, our mission (left of this column) remains; “…efficient emergency response and prevention.” Rest assured that your PFPD members are regularly training on a wide variety of skills which requires incorporating new skills and strategies all of the time.

As part of our long-term strategic planning process we will be breaking ground soon on an outdoor training facility where our members can learn and train on hundreds of different “real-life” scenarios under the sea-soned eye of highly qualified instructors. There is already regional and statewide interest in partnership for additional training opportunities. Your district remains ready and willing to serve our community and I look forward to meeting you in non-emergency settings.

Sincerely,

David S. Riddle, Chief