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posted: 4/14/2012 5:30 AM

Palatine Rural, Rolling Meadows fire to share resources

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In an effort to operate more efficiently, the Palatine Rural Fire Protection District and the Rolling Meadows Fire Department recently agreed to reorganize and combine certain resources.

The departments last month entered into an intergovernmental agreement to share a training/safety officer and battalion chiefs.

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"It's not saving a lot of money, but this is a better way of doing things without costing more money," Palatine Rural Chief Hank Clemmensen said. "Because of these economic times, fire departments have to look at various ways to be more cost-effective."

Scott Mohr of Inverness-based Palatine Rural was promoted to assistant chief. He'll work out of the Rolling Meadows Plum Grove Road station and be responsible for all training and safety for both departments.

The new partnership also reassigns Palatine Rural's three battalion chiefs -- two to administration and one to an engine as a company officer. Rolling Meadows' battalion chiefs will provide incident command coverage on all three Palatine Rural shifts beginning May 1.

"Rolling Meadows wanted a training officer but couldn't afford it, and my battalion chiefs weren't being used to their fullest capacity because we don't have a lot of calls," Clemmensen said. "It's a much more efficient way to operate."

Officials from both departments said the moves are a step forward in their efforts to combine and unite their training programs and command duties.

Clemmensen and Rolling Meadows acting Fire Chief Scott Franzgrote will develop joint operational protocols including training and emergency responses to help implement the agreement.

The reorganization helps prepare Palatine Rural for Clemmensen's departure later this summer. In August, he begins a one-year term as president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

Clemmensen and recently retired Rolling Meadows Fire Chief Ron Stewart said the agreement shows cooperation and a willingness by firefighters, district trustees and the Rolling Meadows City Council to think outside the box.

It's likely more and more fire departments will pen these sorts of partnerships.

Another recent example came last month when the Wheaton Fire Department joined the Winfield, West Chicago and Carol Stream Fire Protection Districts to create the West Suburban Fire/Rescue Alliance to better coordinate emergency services and share resources.

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