Representatives of the Chicago Fire Department were present. They discussed a recent Sun Times article ripping CFD for dropping “bunker gear” from the equipment issued to paramedics, which is a move being challenged by Firefighters Union. The reps for CFD at our meeting said the equipment is never used and is unnecessary – paramedics are not sent into situations where it would be needed. Fire fighters go in and bring patients to a location where paramedics can tend to them. They said the equipment is not used and is a waste of tax payers money.
Also, they stressed the importance of keeping unit doors closed in the event of a fire. They discussed sprinklers, the life safety ordinance and answered questions, but said buildings such as Park Tower were not built for sprinklers. They said they have placed emphasis on door closers and communication systems, such as those at Park Tower. The communication system allows first responders to communicate with the hallways and building, and each other. Door closers, which automatically shut and latch the entry doors, compartmentalize a fire, and the buildings construction does the rest. In most cases, first responders have the time to get to the scene and respond before the fire has an opportunity to spread.
Also, they talked a bit about education programs for buildings and residents. They encouraged condo high rises to have at least one or two events each year to give folks an opportunity to learn about responding to emergencies. The “C.A.L.M.” pamphlet and other materials were available, and they talked about the youtube safety video available to help educate residents how to best respond to an emergency situation. They then transitioned over to Alderman Harry Osterman and his Assistant Jerry Goodman, who spoke about the progress of buildings in our Ward and along Sheridan Road to come into compliance with the Life Safety Evaluations. The dealing is January 1st 2015 for all high rises to come into compliance. They gave Park Tower kudos for being the first building in the neighborhood and Ward to pass the Life Safety Evaluation. They also answered questions and responded to some criticism about the availability of City Inspectors to answer buildings questions and performing the necessary inspections. The Alderman said they would be working closely with buildings and so long as the building is making progress and working diligently toward compliance, his office will help suppress any citations or fines.
The Alderman also expressed optimism about the neighborhoods economy, saying that the presence of Mariano’s and the coming Whole Foods location on Broadway, are bringing in other businesses and opportunities. He talked about working to re-initiate the scavenger rebate program. Personally he believes it is unfair for condo owners to be taxed for pick up, but pay for separate service, and suggested owners write the Mayor. He announced that the Bluewater Group has not proposed anything for the lot across the Street that he would support. So it will likely remaining a dusty parking lot for the foreseeable future. He touched on the increase in homeless population and said Care For Real reported serving 5600 families in one month. He is working to get more of these folks into outreach programs.
Finally, in response to a question he mentioned that a “Mega Station” (e.g. article from Chicago Curbed) was being planned at Bryn Mawr. He said this may improve the noise conditions.
Folks with questions can contact Jerry Goodman, one of the Alderman’s Assistants at firstname.lastname@example.org.