|Background Information about our Fire District|
|January 9, 2018|
For many years the Fire Protection District that surrounds the City of St. Charles on the east, northeast, north, northwest and west sides was known as the ST. CHARLES and COUNTRYSIDE FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT. Prior to 2011, the District was what is commonly called a “paper district.” What that means is that the District had owned no fire stations, owned no equipment, and employed no fire fighters, paramedics or other personnel, except a very part-time Administrator. Fire protection services were contracted with the St. Charles City Fire Department. Emergency medical and ambulance service was provided through Tri-City Ambulance, an intergovernmental agency with members consisting of the City of St. Charles, City of Geneva, City of Batavia, Geneva Township and Batavia and Countryside Fire Protection District.
In the beginning, the Fire District outside of the boundaries of St. Charles was mostly rural or farm land. The arrangement worked very well for many years. However, over the years, the rural area developed. Many subdivisions were built. Many large homes without access to fire hydrants were built. The population of the District grew. The Randall Road corridor developed. Traffic increased substantially. And, of course, the number of fire and emergency calls within the District increased. As all of this occurred, the response times to the residents of the District increased. Because there are few fire hydrants in the District, for any structure fire, water tankers must respond. Although the St. Charles Fire Department is one of the best Fire Departments in the State of Illinois, their primary responsibility was and remains to their residents. Therefore, the residents of the Fire Protection District were always going to be the “step-children” for service. The St. Charles Fire Department could never have built or staffed stations outside of the municipal boundaries. Consequently, with the growth, response times were always going to be an issue.
In 2010, our contract with St. Charles had expired. When we began our negotiations to renew the contract, St. Charles suggested that we were not paying enough money. In fact, their Contract renewal proposal provided that within 5 years, we would have to pay more than our actual tax revenue. Therefore, it was decided that we would break away from St. Charles and become a working Fire District. We became the FOX RIVER & COUNTRYSIDE FIRE RESCUE DISTRICT. We faced many naysayers. Nonetheless, we built and staffed two stations to cover our 24,000 residents over a 38 square mile service area. The district purchased all the vehicles and equipment. We have now been in operation for nearly 7 years. Since beginning operations, the district has decreased its ISO rating from a 10 (being the worst) in the non-fire-hydrant areas to a 6. In the hydrant areas, the ISO rating went from a 6 to a 3. These results have created significant savings on residents’ insurance. Even more important is that our ambulance response times have improved dramatically. Minutes Matter. The improvements that our residents have experienced occurred because we are now responding from two fire stations located within the District.