Suffredin- Changing County Government  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
  The Cook County Law Library is the second largest County law library in the nation.
   
     
     
     



Scathing study faults procedures, firefighters

Thursday, July 08, 2004
Daily Southtown

A panel appointed to investigate last fall's fatal fire at the Cook County Administration Building recommended sweeping changes in Chicago Fire Department procedures and training, and called for retrofitting older buildings with sprinkler systems and modern stairway locking systems.

The commission, made up of retired judges and chaired by retired federal Judge Abner Mikva, blamed the deaths of six people in the fire on poor training, faulty communications and even the bad physical condition of firefighters at the scene. "It was apparent to us that certain individuals who were fighting the fire clearly did not know what they were doing," said commission member Sheila Murphy, a retired judge from the Beverly community.

That comment and the rest of the report are in stark contrast to the fire department's efforts to lay the blame for confusion at the fire and the resulting deaths on the building's managers and even on county workers themselves.

Fire Commissioner Cortez Trotter, who was named to head the department in April, said he has created a panel to analyze the commission's recommendations and determine how to put some of them into effect. He said the department already has implemented one of the recommended changes, requiring firefighters to take control of a building's public address system as soon as they arrive at the scene of a fire. Occupants of the administration building got incorrect instructions during the fire, the panel reported.

The report states that firefighters on the scene violated department policy by failing to set up search-and-rescue operations, focusing on putting out the blaze rather than rescuing people who were trapped.

The report also issues a scathing critique of the physical condition of some members of the department, suggesting some were incapable of performing their jobs and calling for a physical fitness training program with annual fitness tests to correct the situation.

The panel called for the installation of overhead sprinklers in high-rises, even those built before 1975, and said stairwells should have doors that remain unlocked or unlock automatically when there is a fire.

Questioning the qualifications of some individuals in the department, the commission called for new promotion policies mandating "competitive examinations" for every job in the department except those immediately below the commissioner. Promotion policies have long come under fire by members of the department who claim promotions favor white employees connected to the "old boy network," or that they favor minority workers because of affirmative action policies that consider race rather than qualificaitons.

The report finds fault with a wide range of the department structures, procedures and personnel, and it is difficult to quarrel with its conclusions. How can firefighting personnel not be aware that their first priority is to save lives rather than protecting property? How can training be so lax that personnel reporting to fight a fire don't know the department protocol? These are outrageous training oversights.

If individuals are being promoted without regard to their qualifications, or are not required to stay in a physical condition adequate to perform the tasks that are required of them, the department is putting not just fire department members but everyone who works or lives in Chicago at risk of grave injury or death.

The city council and fire department administrators need to move swiftly to evaluate the recommendations and put them in place as soon as possible.

 

 



Recent Headlines

Preckwinkle looks to claw back some oversight of Cook County Health
Thursday, January 16, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Pace Announces Public Hearings on Proposed North Shore Service Changes
Thursday, January 16, 2020
Special to suffredin.org

Pot taxes in Chicago could be as high as 41% by July as county moves forward with 3% levy
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle Wants Sweeping New Authority Over Cook County Health
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
WBEZ News

Preckwinkle urges businesses to help fight 'cost of segregation'
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Daily Herald

County Finance Committee set to approve $165K settlement in ‘political discrimination’ case
Tuesday, January 14, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

More Weed Taxes? New Hospital? What To Watch For At Cook County Board
Tuesday, January 14, 2020
WBEZ News

Seniors now able to apply for multi-year homeowners property tax break this year
Tuesday, January 14, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Owes $79 Million In Unclaimed Property Tax Refunds; Do You Have Money Coming?
Monday, January 13, 2020
CBS Chicago

Lincolnwood OKs sick days for workers but rejects minimum wage
Sunday, January 12, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Cook county Just Housing Ordinance affects associations
Saturday, January 11, 2020
Daily Herald

Cook County debt gets dinged
Friday, January 10, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle Again Calls For Hospitals To Treat More Uninsured
Thursday, January 09, 2020
WBEZ

Cook County Commissioners propose 3 percent cannabis sales tax in wake of legalization
Thursday, January 09, 2020
Daily Northwestern

Co-pay for taxpayers? Ousted Cook County Health CEO in line for ‘rich severance’ of half a million plus
Wednesday, January 08, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Preckwinkle names new budget director
Wednesday, January 08, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Cost of dismissing Cook County hospital CEO? More than $600,000, plus a big pension.
Wednesday, January 08, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Why some landlords shouldn't gripe too much about the assessor's new math
Friday, January 03, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

How will pot roll out in Illinois? Ask Colorado, Washington and other pioneering states
Thursday, January 02, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

The Fentanyl Overdose Crisis
Wednesday, January 01, 2020
CBS Local Chicago

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP