Huntley Fire District Candidates Talk Safety at Forum
Fire district candidates discuss important community issues.
Emergency calls were one of the main concerns from audience members at the candidate forum for Huntley fire district candidates, Sunday afternoon.
The forum was held at the Huntley Park District and moderated by the League of Women Voters.
The candidate forum for the Huntley fire district brought together six candidates and questions from the audience were posed to each candidate.
Candidates present were Bonnie Bayser, Patrick Conley, Terry Hora, Joseph Mahoney, Sean Smith and David Veath.
One of the questions posed to the candidates was why 911 emergency calls are sometimes transferred when called from a landline.
Hora said this once happened to him and he was told that calls made from cellphones are less likely to be transferred when making an emergency call.
“I’m going to find out why calls with landlines are transferred, because that is usually what people go to (while at home),” he said.
Sean Smith, another candidate, said being transferred while making an emergency call happens in less than one percent of towns and he has been trying to get it changed for the past three years.
Candidate Bonnie Bayser said calling 911 using a cellphone could go through any tower, though.
“If you hang up from a cellphone, they won’t know where you’re at,” she added.
Bayser stated a statistic that said in 2010, 74.28 percent of emergency calls were less than five minutes.
Candidates had different opinions on the most important safety issues in the community.
Hora said that the district needs fire stations to protect people and make sure everyone is safe in the 55 square miles that the district covers, with a population of 60,000.
Bayser said the community needs to continue to listen to its residents and meet their needs.
“We also need to expect the unexpected, such as epidemics,” she said.
Smith said he would like to see education of fire safety to the youth expanded to more than once a year.
“I would like [the students] to bring that education home,” he said.
When asked about a 911 Emergency Call Center, Veath, Conley and other candidates said it was not cost feasible.
Mahoney also mentioned that his brother is in charge of the 911 center in Chicago.
Candidates also discussed the Insurance Service Office (ISO) fire rating, which can affect home insurance premiums and is evaluated in regards to manpower, water flow, educational training, maintenance and type of equipment used.
After the forum, Smith said, in 2009, the Huntley Fire Protection District laid out its plan from 2009 to 2013.
“In that strategic plan, it asks for an Emergency Communications Assessment,” he said. “I’ve been asking for this to be completed since 2009. It is the best way to go forward with fire protection in the future.”
He also wants to eliminate fractured services in regards to the fire and police departments and look at all radio, 911 and other communications in the district.
“Analysis for the district has not been done since 2008,” Smith said.
Elections take place on April 5.