Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District formally signed an agreement with a Schiller Park company to provide full time firefighters to its newly formed department.
Paramedic Services of Illinois (PSI) will provide the District with 33 full-time firefighters/paramedics when the District begins its independent operations on Jan. 1.
The District is ending its agreement for fire services with the village of Barrington and has started preparing for the split at the end of the year.
The village of Barrington will be laying off 19 firefighters/paramedics as it restructures its fire department. Firefighters affected by the split will be hired through PSI to work for the District.
BCFPD Fire Chief/Administrator Jeff Swanson will begin working with PSI to fully staff the Barrington Hills and Lake Barrington fire stations. District Trustees also began discussions with PSI on ways to further increase staffing levels with supplemental part-time personnel, according to a release.
Plans call for hiring to begin in October, with firefighter training and familiarization starting in early November. All District firefighter/paramedics will be employed by PSI but report directly to Swanson.
Trustees had delayed the signing of the PSI contract until this week because the village has not yet released the names of the firefighters who will be laid off, according to the release. That makes it difficult for the District – and the affected firefighters – to plan accordingly.
“We hope the village will release those names immediately, so those firefighters have ample time to apply for positions with the District,” Swanson said.
These firefighters will receive salary and paid time-off benefits that are identical to what they earned as village employees. They will also have the opportunity to become officers in the new department.
Meanwhile, BCFPD trustees received a letter of support from elected officials representing Barrington Hills, Lake Barrington, North Barrington, South Barrington, Barrington and Cuba Townships, and Lake County – nearly every jurisdiction the District serves.
The letter applauds trustees’ decision to approve the staffing agreement with PSI, saying it “will ensure that well-qualified, experienced personnel – including those who may be separated from the village of Barrington as part of its reduction in force – will be available to serve all the District’s residents.”
With the PSI agreement
completed, District trustees will focus on confirming a date to divide the apparatus
and equipment jointly owned by both the District and village of Barrington.
Board members may consider supplemental equipment purchases, depending on how
the current equipment is divided.