Flossmoor has agreed to a partnership with a neighboring community that assures proper fire department staffing while reducing vehicle costs in the years to come.
Flossmoor village board members agreed this month to a partnership with Park Forest that allows the fire departments in both communities to share an older pumper truck that has been moved to reserve status.
Fire Chief Chris Sewell said the partnership, over time, will permit Flossmoor to reduce its vehicle replacement schedules by one fire truck. That would reduce replacement costs by one-third and save the village about $1 million in the next 30 years, he said.
The cost of a new fire engine is now in excess of $500,000, Sewell said.
The village board approved the agreement at its Oct. 17 meeting. Park Forest’s village board approved the agreement on the same evening.
Flossmoor currently has three fire engines, each with a 20-year service life. Under the plan, the fire department will move to two trucks – that means the vehicles will be replaced once every 10 years. Park Forest will move to a similar replacement plan.
When one of the villages replaces a fire engine, the old truck will be rotated to reserve status for five years. Both communities will always have two “front line” fire engines for daily response purposes. The fire truck that is moved to reserve status can be used by either department when a front line engine is down for routine maintenance or repairs, Sewell said.
By implementing the partnership, both communities will be in full compliance with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards, which call for 20 years of service from front line vehicles and an additional five years for trucks in reserve status, he said.
Both communities have a 3,500 gallon per minute pump requirement set by the Insurance Services Office (ISO) and maintain the three engines to meet that number.
Sewell said Flossmoor and Park Forest have similarities that make the agreement possible. Both towns have similar street designs and functional needs in regard to fire apparatus. Park Forest is the only nearby community with a Capital Replacement Fund similar to Flossmoor’s account for the long-range replacement of vehicles and other major equipment used by municipal departments, he said.
Also, both towns participate in the Intergovernmental Risk Management Agency (IRMA), an insurance pool for municipalities and other governmental agencies in Northeastern Illinois. If either community terminates its IRMA membership, it could lead to the end of the agreement, Sewell said.
Flossmoor currently has a shared ambulance agreement with both Homewood and Hazel Crest, Sewell said.