Lifesaving achievements focus of media presentation by Orland Fire Protection District officials
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Orland Park — The Orland Fire Protection District hosted a media availability on Thursday May 25, 2023 to review their many achievements as one of the region’s and State of Illinois’ best Fire Districts.
Board President John Brudnak welcomed media and guests and outlined the district’s many achievements and the commitment to serving the needs of the district’s citizens, families and taxpayers.
Speakers presented an overview of the district’s finances, the amount of fire alarms they respond to, and also detailed their active schedule of educational events and public participation programs.
Among those attending and speaking were Fire Chief Michael Schofield, OFPD Finance Director Kerry Sullivan, Fire & Life Safety Education Coordinator Betsy Dine, Rosemaria DiBenedetto of the Senior Advisory Council, SAC members, OFPD Trustees Beth Damas Kaspar, Tina Zekich and Angela Greenfield, Battalion Chief Nick Cinquepalmi, and, attorney Megan Roche Steigauf.
“When it comes to saving lives, extinguishing fires and saving homes, the Orland Fire Protection District is number one in the region, if not in the country. We are so proud of what our firefighter/paramedics achieve every day that they set aside their own personal safety to protect the lives and property of our citizens,” Brudnak said at the briefing held at the OFPD Admin Building, 9790 W. 151st Street.
“They are the epitome of what every First Responder strives to be. Over the past decade that I have been on the Fire District Board we have seen a steady movement away from politics and an intense focus on professional firefighting, which is what this district does best. The Orland Fire Protection District has the highest Cardiac Arrest ‘Save Rate’ of the region and possibly in the country. That is not a small achievement. Just ask the survivors, many of whom we have brought to this board room to celebrate and to honor the firefighter/paramedics who saved their lives.”
Brudnak said the OFPD District’s 71 percent ‘Save Rate’ towers above the national average which is between 10 and 15 percent.
“It represents what we stand for in this Fire District and where our commitments rest,” Brudnak said.
“We have a great board and their dedication is to our residents and our firefighters and it has shown in everything we do here,” said Schofield who began with the Fire District in 1977.
“As President Brudnak said, they are the best of the best. We train hard. We work hard. We perform hard.”
Schofield said the majority of the OFPD calls are EMS.
“If you look around this area in Orland we are surrounded by medical facilities. Our Fire Department is the busiest Fire District in the state of Illinois. No fire district runs more calls than Orland. We had more than 13,000 calls this year which is amazing.”
Schofield said that the district has one mission, “To do the best job we can for our citizens.”
Sullivan detailed the strength of the OFPD District’s financials and how the district maximizes every tax dollar to provide the best and most possible services at the least amount of cost.
Sullivan noted the district has received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for past six years, and the Certificate of Achievement in Financial reporting for past 14 years.
She noted the 76 percent of the district’s revenues from property taxes which are subject to caps and the CPI is 7 percent and the district is capped at 5 percent also.
Emergency Medical Services (EMS) fees account for 13 percent of the district’s revenues, dispatch fee 4 percent, Grants from the state 3 percent and other sources 4 percent.
More than 84 percent of the budget goes to personnel costs with six percent covering supplies, repairs, equipment, utilities, & fuel. The OFPD Pension Fund is nearly “Fully Funded” which reduces the burden on taxpayers.
“Most importantly, the costs of Ambulance services for our residents is only collected from insurance coverage and residents do not pay when they need an ambulance to address an emergency,” Sullivan explained.
DiBenedetto introduced several members of the Senior Advisory Council including SAC Chairman Curt Unander.
“The Senior Advisory Council’s mandate is to serve as the liaison between the district’s senior population and fire district’s officials,” Unander said.
“SAC’s main purpose is to identify and address specific needs of the senior residents of our district. And as you all know, we have a lot of seniors in our district.”
Dine discussed the district’s many upcoming public information events and programs including educating young students to better understand the importance of life safety skills and fire education including with students as young as in the First Grade.
Upcoming programs, Dine said, include:
Fire and Life Safety Kids Camp, July 10 -12, for ages 8 to 12 years of age where they learn CPR, and other life saving techniques.
“They will understand the reasons for the really important message about why we need working fire alarms in our homes. Smoke alarms are supper important and we like to bring that message to the kids as young as pre-school,” Dine said.
“And the kids go home and tell their families they need them and they need to run escape drills. We learn all of these skills at the camps.”
Junior Cadet Camp for students between the ages of 13 and 16 years of age is held in July which offer “more in-depth” information about life saving strategies.
The Open House begins at the conclusion of the Junior Cadet Camp and will be held on July 13 from 6:30 AM to 8:30 PM.
The OFPD also hosts Fire House Barbecues every month moving from each of the district’s six fire houses. The next BBQ is at Station 2 on June 7 from 5 PM to 7 PM.
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