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updated: 3/30/2011 1:09 PM

Barrington area fire stations improve response times

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Submitted by Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District

Recently completed equipment upgrades at Barrington area fire stations will significantly improve service to residents and businesses by speeding the emergency dispatch of firefighters and paramedics, Barrington Countryside Fire Protection trustees report.

An in-depth analysis of response times and future staffing requirements, including a review of current dispatch protocols, was recently completed by the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association on behalf of the district. Trustees commissioned the study as part of the district's continuing efforts to monitor and upgrade service to its residents.

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The dispatch protocol review found that by upgrading the in-house alarm system at each station, the Barrington Fire Department could reduce response times by up to 30 seconds in emergency situations.

Illinois Fire Chiefs Association Executive Director Robert M. Buhs says this 30-second improvement will significantly enhance the effectiveness of fire and emergency medical service to residents of the district and village of Barrington.

"Thirty seconds can mean the difference between life and death," Buhs said. "Statistics demonstrate that structural fires that burn for six minutes or more usually result in complete loss. In medical emergency situations where a patient has stopped breathing, the odds of brain damage increase greatly after just four minutes.

"The bottom line is that response times are a key indicator when measuring the effectiveness of fire and emergency medical services," he adds.

A review of dispatch data after three months will help to verify the upgrades' effectiveness.

The far-reaching analysis commissioned by the district also identified additional equipment and procedural upgrades that will improve response times to far-eastern segments of the district that are served by a separate regional dispatch system. Fire department officials expect these upgrades to be completed in April.

The Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District receives emergency fire and medical service from the Barrington Fire Department, which is responsible for protecting the lives and property of district residents through an intergovernmental agreement between the district and village of Barrington. The district serves portions of Barrington Hills, South Barrington, Lake Barrington and Inverness; and portions of unincorporated Cook, Lake and McHenry counties.

For information on fire district activities and events, visit www.bcfpd.org or call (847) 304-3600.

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