City Times Staff
The Park Ridge Fire Dept. has announced it will begin recognizing area employers of the department’s paid-on-call firefighting force.
Fire Chief Brian Lepper said most of the department’s firefighters work full-time jobs, but employers typically are cooperative when a worker’s beeper goes off and they need to leave. That makes all the difference, Lepper said, when the department is called to a fire or other emergency scene.
“We need firefighter to be able to leave his or her post more than we did 10, 15, 20 years ago,” Lepper said.
Lepper said he’s been in touch with other local fire departments, and so far Stockton and Bancroft are also participating in the program, as both utilize volunteer or paid-on-call firefighters. Interest is also growing statewide, he said.
The Portage County Fire Chief’s Association (PCFCA) developed a three-tiered program for recognizing employers, which was authored by Lepper. A ranking of “platinum”, “gold” or “silver” will be given to nominated businesses based various criteria.
Lepper said the department plans to present each of the nominated employers with a plaque.
“As the author of the program, I would really like to see any ‘platinum’ awards highlighted,” Lepper said.
So far, Lepper said there is at least one “gold” employer nominated. The employer requirements follow:
- No formal written policy in place.
- Employee can sometimes leave, other time cannot. Departure is delayed to obtain permission.
- Volunteers have preferred parking, allowing quicker exit upon page.
- Employer generally encourages involvement, perhaps informally.
- Employer recognizes or has recognized volunteers in emergency services.
- No formal policy in place, but employee is generally allowed to leave – or perhaps department/supervisor dependent. Leaving could be dependent on work-load or staffing at the particular time of call.
- Multiple examples of silver category are commonly attained.
- No negativity for employee answering call.
- Formal, in writing (employee handbook, contract, etc.), policy encouraging volunteer. firefighter/EMS work or other community service that fits the need.
- Employee can leave every time the pager alarms (no conditions).
- Compensates wages for time away from work (makes employee whole for lost income).
- Never any form of negativity for an employee leaving to answer call.
Lepper said he hopes to present awards by March.