This is a bittersweet edition of our quarterly newsletter as it is my final report to you in this format. My time with the Plainfield Fire Protection District is ending but my 40+ years in the fire service will likely continue as I endeavor to continue making an impact in the fire service community.
In my spring 2015 inaugural letter published in our first edition of this newsletter, I spoke about many of the challenges your fire district could be experiencing in the years ahead and while we’ve already met some of them, many more will confront us. You can be confident that your district will maintain our comprehensive strategy to meet these challenges with the same level of skill, responsibility and professionalism that has carried us through so many in the past.
One of those challenges back in 2015 was the imminent ground-breaking for our headquarters campus training grounds and facilities. Well, we did it and today we are regularly using these facilities to train not only our own personnel but it is used as a resource for training of regional and even national emergency service personnel. It is truly one of the jewels for training in our state. To continue supporting and coordinating our training strategies we recently appointed a fulltime Training and Safety Officer who is rapidly impacting our efforts thereby making this community a safer place to live and raise a family.
I was also proud to be a part of the joint efforts of Chief John Konopek of the Plainfield Police Department and Chief Mike Vessling of the Oswego Fire Protection District to reach out to the public in our quarterly “Chat With The Chiefs” gatherings. We continue to fine-tune our format to provide easier access to these forums by our residents and businesses.
Our district has enjoyed the relationships we continue to strengthen with our other public partners like the Village of Plainfield and the City of Crest Hill, Plainfield School District 202, the Plainfield Park District and the Plainfield Library District. We meet frequently to improve our communications and to share and discuss areas of mutual concern that could lead to various levels of resource sharing of personnel and/or equipment.
In our permanent partnerships with the Village of Plainfield and City of Crest Hill we’ve cooperated on many fire safety initiatives and supported efforts in a variety of their strategies. Our working relationship continues to strengthen as partners in the shared interest of our citizens and businesses.
You’ll see that in addition to our improved website we’ll soon be expanding our social media presence into Facebook, Twitter and other appropriate instruments to help us improve communicating with you. These efforts will be coordinated through our Public Education Officer and we’re targeting the first quarter of 2019 for roll out of these communication paths.
Our customer satisfaction surveys will continue as will our efforts to be measured against other industry standards as a way to continue to improve our levels of performance and service delivery. As you know we received our ISO 1 grade certification, effective in November of 2017 and are exploring becoming an accredited fire agency through the Center for Public Safety Excellence, another internationally recognized organization.
Notwithstanding our high level of service delivery and emergency service performance, we have also applied for and anticipate recognition by the Government Finance Officers Association for abiding by the standards outlined in their Excellence in Financial Reporting program and being worthy fiduciaries of your tax dollars.
As our services expand and continue to improve in the coming years, our foundation remains solidly built on all of those volunteers, career members, fire commissioners and board members who have helped forge our path forward. Without them we wouldn’t be where we are today.
Without you and your support we would not be able to provide the high levels of performance expected by our residents and for that I say thank you on behalf of our organization.
Finally, I thank you all for letting me be a small part of this superb organization and for allowing me to contribute my experience in and commitment to the best job in the world. This vocation hasn’t been a living; it’s been a life.
Be careful out there…
David S. Riddle, Chief