Local

Crystal Lake fire stations to get new alert system

CRYSTAL LAKE – Crystal Lake firefighters will get a less rude awakening when an emergency call comes in.

The Crystal Lake City Council unanimously approved buying a new firehouse alert system for all three of the city’s stations, along with the repavement and improvement of the downtown Brink Street parking lot and the hiring of a firm to assess the city’s information technology systems and to create a strategic plan.

The new alert system has been something the Crystal Lake Foreign Fire Insurance Tax Board – a board tasked with overseeing the money collected by a 2 percent tax on out-of-state insurance companies that operate in the city limits – has been working on for two years, Fire Rescue Chief Paul DeRaedt said.

“It’s something that’s near and dear to them because they understand the stress that occurs when the tones go off at full blast in the middle of the night or bringing the lights up softly,” DeRaedt said. “It’s better for their health.”

The system also may reduce the department’s response times by getting the firefighters out the door quicker, he said. Information about the situation will come in as the dispatcher is taking the call, appearing on a screen and notifying the firefighters that they should start to head for their vehicles.

In the future, the alerts also may be limited to one station that needs to respond instead of all three, as is currently the case, DeRaedt said. Making that happen would require changes at the county level.

Low bidder APS Firehouse Alerting of Westminister, Maryland, was awarded the contract at just less than $130,000, according to city documents.

The council also unanimously awarded a $380,000 contract to Copenhaver Construction Inc. of Gilberts, also the low bidder, to repave and improve the Brink Street parking lot this summer.

The goal is to complete the work – which includes lowering the northwest corner of the parking lot so it’s more even – before the end of July, city engineer Abby Wilgreen said.

The improved lot will have 10 additional spaces, including three 15-minute parking spaces, as well as a larger outdoor seating area at the northeast corner, according to city documents. The space also will be upgraded to provide more convenience for outdoor events, including outlets and a seat wall along the west edge.

The city also hired Martin Yarborough and Associates of Fort Worth, Texas, for $35,000 to assess the city’s current equipment and technology infrastructure before developing a plan for it.

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