Silver Lake fire and rescue chiefs say authority breaches on calls won’t happen again

silver-lake-fd-doorSilver Lake Fire Department Chief Andrew McFarlane and Silver Lake Rescue Squad Chief Bob Johnson said Wednesday night that their respective departments will respect the authority of the other on fire and rescue calls in Silver Lake.

Last year, the fire department came under criticism for calling for a paramedic response from Town of Salem Fire/Rescue on a medical call before Silver  Lake Rescue could make that determination. Just last week, Silver Lake Rescue Squad was criticized by McFarlane for calling off automated mutual aid  response from other fire departments at a fire call last week. The fire in a stove was out by the time a village police officer and two rescue squad members arrived on the scene. Firefighters also were responding.

sl-rescue-squad-backBoth chiefs were in the audience at a village board committee of the whole meeting Wednesday night. On the night’s agenda was discussion of the recent incident.

The fire department is part of the village government. The village government contracts with Silver Lake Rescue, a private corporation, for emergency medical services.

Johnson said the rescue squad member who called off the mutual aid committed “gross negligence” and that such a situation would “never happen again.”

The two involved rescue members have been talked to about the situation and the whole membership will be briefed at a meeting Thursday night, Johnson said. The squad’s procedures also will be modified to emphasize the proper response in such situations.

That assurance appeared to be good enough for McFarlane, who assured rescue that his firefighters also would not overstep their bounds in making calls for paramedics, like what happened last year.

But Trustee Pat Dunn said he felt there should be sanctions against rescue if the situation occurs again. Village President Sue Gerber replied that she didn’t feel that was necessary and that Johnson’s assurances should be good enough.

After the Dunn and Gerber back and forth, McFarlane criticized how the board has been handling fire and rescue issues of late.

“We need to work with them (rescue),” said McFarlane. “I am losing members left and right because of the (BS) going on in this room. The bickering between you seven,  we just cant take it any more.”

McFarlane then turned to face Johnson, who was sitting in the row behind McFarlane, and said to Johnson  “We need to work together until they decide what the hell is going on.”

“It won’t happen again,” Johnson said of the mutual aid call off.





  1. Bernard Punsley says:

    The rescue chief admits his employee committed “gross negligence”. I commend him for both admitting it and assuring the board the appropriate action will be taken to make sure it does not happen again. And kudo to the fire chief for taking the board to task for their continued lack of support for the fire department and the issues that they face. When the new “save SLRS” folks are voted in, fire might as well pack up their bags and go home. The financial woes facing our village continue to mount daily……………let’s keep on bickering..that will provide some resolve. And please, lets’ keep an eye on the “dumb-ster” issues!

  2. Bernard Punsley says:

    How ironic…when SLFD “overstepped their bounds” making a rescue decision, the Queen declared if that happened again, firefighters would be ARRESTED@
    “THIS HAS GOT TO STOP” she bellowed! But when SLRS “overstepped their bounds” making a fire decision, she was satisfied when told it would not happen again, and no further intervention would be needed if indeed, it did. She’s consistently inconsistent, I have to give her that. She continues to “confound the confounded”.

  3. Bruce Francart says:

    You want this resolved, vote for Soti, Paul, and Carolyn Dodge.

  4. Bullied in Silver Lake says:

    I was disappointed Mike Faber was absent from the meeting last night. We had to rely on the Colleen and Roger tag team to try and beat up on the crowd. The fire department continues to be cast into the role of “villains”…..and their pleas for support from the board continue to be ignored. It would have been nice to hear SOME words of encouragement from Mike Decker, but he doesn’t think there is enough “work” to warrant having firefighters staff the fire station. Of course, following Mike Faber’s “when was the last time we had a fire in Silver Lake” rationale, maybe we should just disband the fire department permanently. Sell the fire trucks for scrap, convert the building into our new library, and contract with Salem for fire response only. We keep our ambulance, we eliminate all of our fire department issues, and we move on to other issues facing this village. Let’s call this “Option 6”.
    I’ll probably get pounded on by Mr. Punsley for suggesting this!

  5. John K says:

    Well I’ve kept my jaw shut long enough. It appears to me Punsley that it’s people like you that make our community bicker backer back and forth. You are constantly posting on here without using your given name so you don’t get criticized because you’re scared to. It sounds to me like our fire & rescue crew work just fine together, but people like you and people on a couple new FaceBook pages that have popped up, make the public think they have a big problem with each other. I’ve talked to a couple fire boys, as well as a couple rescue people and the rumors going around about them talking garbage about each other seem to be just that, rumors. Our Fire Chief said it like it should be, they need to work together and they do, but I imagine it’s hard with all the rumors going around. Then you have GG who’s on fire and keeps posting lies on that new page and talking to people who oppose him like garbage. He spreads rumors on there and the sad thing is, people actually believe him. I’ve known him for years and he’ll say whatever he thinks you want to hear, as long as you believe him. I am appalled that he is allowed to run his jaw off at all and not get reprimanded for it. It’s probably him that started that page.
    You citizens need to fight for what we have. This town can be booming again with some work, filling some business, with our Citizens for Growth and just us doing everything we can. Stop pointing fingers and ignore the few garbage talkers that obviously don’t have anything better to do. If they put as much effort into saving our little town as they do garbage talking, we’d be high in the clouds. I don’t plan on packing up the wife and children and moving out of this town, so get off your high horse Punsley and shut your jaw!

  6. Concerned says:

    I agree with some things from both sides of this issue I agree with Sue that there isn’t enough call volume to pay for staffing I also agree with Greg that volunteerism is all but extinct. This situation here is a catch 22 for the village and the only one that comes out on the losing side is the citizens. The village and firefighters are so passionate for what they believe that they butt heads and can’t come to a resolution.
    What people need to realize that society has changed meaning many different things such as families are more on the go with kids going to extra activities or whatever. Life has become more busy for people and don’t have the time to volunteer like there use to be in past. We are no longer a close knit community anymore within the village and outside the village. With this change the fire dept will never be the same as it used to be no matter what is done. The fact of the matter things change whether we like it or not So either we change with the times or we don’t and fight it and watch it implode before our eyes. Technology has changed the way my company has done business and as an employee I have had to change the way I preform my job if neither my company or I didn’t adapt to change there would no longer be a company and I out of a job.

  7. Bernard Punsley says:

    @Bullied……..well……you might just be on to something there. I’m guessing you might have had your tongue firmly planted in your cheek….but you do bring up some ideas for possible consideration. So far ..NOTHING has worked! The current board was unable to bring about any remediation to the woes facing the fire department, despite several board members sincere attempts to address the issues. That being said, there will be a minimum one new board member after the next election, and possibly more. I think the “Option 6” you present has some merit. I suggest a “Bad Hoc” committee be formed. Given their obvious expertise on fire and rescue needs in our village, I would recommend Roger, Colleen, Mike Faber and Al Bryner be named to the committee, along with Dean and 2 board members. This would be a “Kenosha Klean” committee, given a clean slate. While you might think I’m being just a tad facetious here, what would it hurt? I’ve laid out a groundwork for them that maybe they could figure out a way to make it work? Option 6!!!

  8. Bernard Punsley says:

    @John K………seems like your jaw is wired just a little too tight!!! I’m the one causing the bickering in the village? Hilarious! Attending a village board meeting and watching Mike Faber completely take over the meeting, bullying people, making sarcastic comments, listening to Phil Willkomm berate a board member from the audience then storming up to him and threatening him after the meeting…….you think our fire and rescue crews work smoothly together?? were you NOT at the meeting last night? Things between fire and rescue have deteriorated to the lowest this village has ever seen. That’s MY FAULT? Which “rumors” would you be referring to? Our fire trucks are all 16 years old? We don’t have enough village residents in the village during the day to answer fire calls in a timely fashion? Our fire department does not have the financial resouces to adqueately perform their job? Our fire department had to borrow used breathing equipment from Gateway Technical College(USED equipment,not NEW!) because their’s was obsolete? Our Fire Chief said “fire and rescue need to work together” he did not say “we DO work together well”. As for you keeping your jaw shut long enough(your words,not mine)…just WHERE have you been for the last 2 years as our village continues towards oblivion? $250,000 spent on a library? Rumor? Village board requests DA investigate that purchase. Rumor? You’ve spoken to a “couple of fire boys” and some rescue people, and according to you, every thing is “hunky dorey”. REALLY? I’m staying right up here on my “high horse”….you can step around the droppings. Read your own posting again and cite one example how to improve the problems facing our village? “filling some business” and “Citizens for Growth”…brilliant! Keep reading the Save Silver Lake website……..keep that blood pressure percolating….you keep “bickering” with Mr.Galich….oops “GG”……..I’ll continue to monitor the pulse of this village to the chagrin of many, yourself included. As for your reference to “garbage talkers”……it appears you could use a new industrial sized dumb-ster for all of the drivel pumping out of your pie hole!

  9. Bernard Punsley says:

    @John K: “you citizens need to fight for what we have”(your words, not mine). So tell “us citizens” John….just exactly WHAT have you done to help “fight” for or support our fire department in the last 2 years? Visited the fire station to talk to the fire chief to see what the concerns are? “Volunteered” to join the department? Helped out with any of the SLFD fund raising efforts? Talked with a board member(s)to see what the issues are? Attended any of the numerous board or committee meetings over the last 2 years? Any suggestions you could give us to help “fight for what we have” would be useful. Sticking a “Support Silver Lake Rescue Squad” sign in your yard, while admirable, does NOTHING to support the fire department. Since your jaw has finally loosened up, feel free to inform us of your efforts.

  10. Citizen says:

    Concerned you are correct. That is why SLFD is trying to merge with Salem. They just respond in a 1 and half mile area. Greg explained that last night at the meeting.

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