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