Silver Lake Emergency Services Committee meets with Silver Lake Rescue Squad

sl-rescue-squad-backThe Silver Lake Village Board Emergency Services Committee met Tuesday with representatives of the Silver Lake Rescue Squad Inc. as a part of village President Sue Gerber’s restarting of the process of determining the future of EMS and fire services in the village.

Gerber said the Village Board met as a committee of the whole last Tuesday on the fire and rescue issue. At that meeting, it was decided that the Emergency Service Committee (Gerber, Trustee Barbara Ironside and Trustee Soti Wilber) would meet with fire and rescue separately to start  the process off. Tonight was rescue”s turn. Next Tuesday at 7 p.m. the committee will meet with the fire department.

Here is a summary by topic of some of the discussion:

Where never is heard a disparaging word. — Gerber decried the mudslinging that has taken place between partisans of both the fire department and rescue squad. She said she has asked both organizations if they have disciplinary procedures in place for people who engage in such activity. Assured that both do, she said she will personally seek to have them enforced by both groups if false statements continue to be circulated. “I’m not going to tolerate it,” she said.

Should rescue run fire? — During discussion, Trustee Barbara Ironside raised the idea that perhaps the rescue squad should run the day-to-day operations of the fire department. Her premise seemed to be that the current rescue squad — an independent corporation — is on solid footing so perhaps the leadership there would do a better job of running the fire department too. ” I would like to see them (rescue) run the whole thing,” Ironside said. Rescue officials pointed out that there likely were several obstacles to that proposal that would have to be worked out, but they didn’t dismiss the idea outright. “It’s an interesting  concept, one that deserves more thought…,” said rescue lead representative Wendy Lasko.

How about a Silver Lake-Randall-Wheatland Fire Department? — Also discussed was the possibility of seeking a merger of the Silver Lake Fire Departments and other nearby departments. Mentioned Tuesday were the Randall Fire Department and Town of Wheatland Fire Department. Those fire departments also contract with Silver Lake Rescue Squad Inc. for at least some coverage of their areas. Gerber said she would approach the chiefs of both departments to gauge interest.

Rescue contract extension. — Gerber also asked the rescue squad to come back with a proposal for continuing service to the village through the end of the year. The current agreement ends at the end of July. Gerber said she didn’t feel any exploration of the fire-rescue situation would be settled soon. “That’s not something that’s going to be done this year, not going to be done next year, ” Gerber said. “… Let’s be realistic.” Trustee Soti Wilber raised the issue of seeking bids for rescue service due to the likely cost of the contract, as required by village policy. But rescue officials and Gerber said that would not be necessary because this was an extension of a contract, not purchasing of a new good or service.




  1. sandy says:

    I am glad to see the Trustee Ironside has already thrown the FD under the bus. Instead of trying to work to fix the problem, she just wants to give it away, all while the village would continue to pay for the gas, insurance and equipment. How is that a cost savings??? The problem also is a manning issue. We don’t have the personnel now, what is there to guarantee that putting them with the Rescue dept they will be able to hire enough people as well??? So that would only add more hard feelings to the FD side giving them away to a private organization. I think the best idea would be to look at merging with Randall and Wheatland, and creating our own fire district, using shared equipment, instead of having spare equipment here, we can sell it and use theirs as spares.

  2. mike says:

    Does Trustee Ironside realize that the reason that the rescue squad is on better financial footing than the fire dept is because rescue can CHARGE for their services and fire cannot. It has nothing to do with who manages it! This is her contribution to the board and the community??? Brilliant!
    And as for President Gerber, just more delays. No plan, no sense of urgency, just putting off decisons until the FD is as bad off as the sewers.
    What a team!

  3. Kathy says:

    Our Village Officials need to come to some resolution on this issue immediately as this has been going on for way too long. Silver Lake Residents deserve to feel comfortable with their Emergency Services and at this point, I am very confident with the services that SLFD can provide to us with the vast experience of Fire/EMT/Paramedic cross-trained skills that they have. SLRS has provided excellent service to us in the past however a large number of the SLFD have also served us through the rescue squad. It doesn’t matter what our Emergency personnel are called as long as they are there when we need help. On another note, I really feel that although Sue Gerber is the Village President, she should not have any dealings with the decision on the fire/rescue merger due to a possible conflict of interest with her son being in charge of SLRS. We really need to stand strong and move forward!

  4. Jenn says:

    SLFD actually has a lot of members who are cross-trained in EMS and fire. Not only First Responders but EMTs IV techs and Paramedics. They provide an excellent service to our community. As for trustee ironsides comment I’d like to see rescue run the fire department? ? I really hope your joking there barb that is a joke right there. Lets have a bunch of emts and IV techs run a Fire Department even though none of them are trained in fire but its ok because they can handle it. And that’s a pretty biast statement considering your the emergency government person shouldn’t you be neutral and do what’s right not attack one side you moron.

  5. Dave says:

    To mike. Fire has proposed if they are not doing so already to charge. Nothing says they can’t charge for services such as permits, nuisance alarms, and their contributions to rescue calls. They need to really look at fundraising efforts as well as a better hierarchy to get them back to a better financial state. As far as combining. I know Wheatland will not.

  6. sandy says:

    I believe that the Village passed an ordinance last year. Another good thing done by Trustee Wilber!!! So yes they can bill, but it is for very limited instances. Check the Village Website for more details on the billing. Maybe this is something the board needs to see if the FD has been doing???

  7. @ Jenn says:

    For your information, several of the members of SLRS are also fire trained. The rescue chief Robert John is also a fire chief at a real fire department in Antioch. Also several other members of rescue are crossed trained and belong to other local fire departments. Jenn, have you stopped by and talked to them? I think Barb’s idea is great, outside the box thinking. Kudos to Barb for having the guts to call a spade a spade. The fire department is dysfunctional and needs new leadership. If not SLRS taking the helm, then maybe Randall would like to put in a bid to cover the area.

  8. mike says:

    To Dave: as you addressed me personally, let me return the favor. All the fees, and allowable charges that the fire department collects doesn’t equal in one year what one medical transport returns to the rescue squad. Their other fund raisers such as the street dance, and pancake breakfast’s, etc. might combine for another two or three transports. Comparing a private company with amunicipal agency is not a valid comparison whatsoever.
    SLFD does fund raisers when they can and do a fine job of it. However remember that these are volunteers who have families, jobs and a social life: the many hours that they give up to train and re-cerfity so that Silver Lake citizens have them when it counts, like when when their home is on fire, is all they really should need to worry about. Berating them for not doing more, and suggesting that a change in heirarchy (apparently meant to replace them with rescue officers?) would make a difference in their financial state is simply not a credible comment.
    You and Ironside need to take a reality check.

  9. Bernard Punsley says:

    Jenn…with all due respect, if you are going to refer to SLRS Chief Bob Johnson as also serving on a “real fire department”(your words, not mine), you must also point out that Antioch Fire is providing fire based EMS services WITH THEIR FIRE TRUCKS! What a novel concept!!! And for Flip Flop Barb to suggest that a municipal entity(SLFD) be taken over and run by a private “non-profit”(there’s a misnomer..check SLRS financial balance sheets!)company, SLRS is absolutely LUDICROUS! “Thinking outside the box”…and “boxing yourself into a corner” are 2 seperate things. The village board has NO CONTROL over SLRS right now, at least they have SOME CONTROL over SLFD. Barb wants to turn all of that over to the private corporation? WOW! And if some members of SLRS are also “cross-trained” as firefighters, why COULDN’T they have been assimilated into the originally proposed consolidation of fire and rescue into an Emergency Services Department. Why not use their firefighting skills as well as their EMS skills? I suggest some of the Rescue members would have actually enjoyed that. That’s what the Ad Hoc Committee ,with over 200 years of fire/rescue experience under their belt, thought was the best use of existing resources. There was NO political agenda. The committee presented 5 options, with a recommendation(combine services). Rescue balked from day ONE…they weren’t about to give up their cash cow(transport fees).Bringing Randall FD into the picture…no disrespect to RFD, they can’t get a rig out the door in a timely fashion during the day…..neither can Wheatland. SLRS has to pay people to staff the station during the day(they are well worth it, and underpaid at that)
    so they can get a rig out the door. SLFD’s attempt to do the very same thing were met with stiff RESISTANCE!!! Can you imagine calling SLPD, and dispatch says “hold on, we have to call an officer in from home, he lives in Wheatland. He’ll have to come in and go to the police station to pick up the squad car, and respond to your house. He’ll be there in about 25 minutes”. If the “Save Our Rescue Squad” folks had a tenth of that passion for their Fire Department, we wouldn’t be in this mess. If you “We Need A Referendum” folks are banking on Mudslinging Sue and Flip Flop Barb to steer you through these muddy waters, keep your hip boots and life jackets handy.

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