Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti praised three Northwest suburban fire departments Monday for working together to provide more efficient services, saying they should be an example for consolidation efforts statewide.
Sanguinetti recognized the fire departments of Rolling Meadows, Palatine and Palatine Rural for their "RPM" initiative, which stands for "Rural Palatine Meadows." Since initial discussions in 2012, the partnership has led to the sharing of equipment, standardized training, and streamlined responses to incidents.
"We realized when someone calls 911, they expect a fire department to show up and they're not necessarily looking at what patch or what name is on the side of the rig," said Palatine Fire Chief Scott Andersen, who along with his counterparts received recognition certificates from Sanguinetti Monday afternoon at Palatine Rural's headquarters.
The RPM initiative is one of 27 examples of consolidation "best practices" statewide outlined in a Dec. 31, 2016, report from Sanguinetti's office. She chairs a task force aimed at streamlining local government to save tax dollars.
Andersen described the local effort as a "functional consolidation" more than anything else. Among their practices:
• The three departments do training together, taught by a Palatine training officer. They also use a field operation guide that outlines the responsibilities of each fire truck when it arrives to a scene.
• They've combined special response teams on hazmat, technical rescue and dive rescue.
• Palatine Rural eliminated its three shift commander positions due to low call volumes. However, under a shared staffing arrangement, Rolling Meadows provides an incident commander when needed, in exchange for Palatine Rural providing a part-time fire marshal.
• Rolling Meadows saved $180,000 by using Palatine's heavy duty rescue vehicle and purchasing a smaller vehicle of its own, thus changing its apparatus replacement schedule.