Friday, September 27, 2013

ORLAND FIRE DISTRICT REVIVES ROLE FOR SENIORS; Newly created group to work to address senior needs

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Newly created group to work to address senior needs

The Orland Fire Protection District launched the new Senior Advisory Council (SAC) this week at a member orientation, promising to engage the district's seniors in the its many services.

The new Senior Advisory Council succeeds the district’s old committee, which was consumed by politics and political bickering, Fire Officials said. It's founding was coordinated by OFPD Senior Liaison Rosemaria Genova.

Fire Chief Ken Brucki and Fire Prevention Supervisor Mike Ercoli addressed the Senior Advisory Council at a “member orientation” held on Thursday, Sept. 26. They emphasized the mandate of the new SAC is to educate seniors and the community about Fire District Services.

“We have a large senior community and we need to not only make them all aware of the services we have for them, and for the community at large, but to also encourage their feedback so we can constantly improve and be more responsive to their real needs,” Brucki said.

“Seniors rely on the Fire District services and we take this responsibility seriously. The new Senior Advisory Council is going to focus on ensuring that these services are delivered and that the Orland Fire Prevention District gets the feedback it needs to continue to address the needs of our senior community.”

The council was officially formed a few months ago and serves as a bridge between OFPD officials and the large senior population in the district. 

During the orientation, Chief Brucki stressed the importance of engaging seniors directly into the fire district administration.

“Our goal in the district is to preserve life and property.  Having a council in place, with representatives from all six fire stations, enables us to communicate life-saving strategies to a growing senior population,” stated Brucki.

“One of our most important functions as a Fire District is not only to respond to fire emergencies, but to also respond to emergency health needs. Our seniors, who are most important in our community, face many of these health problems and we want to ensure we are doing everything we can to address their needs.”

The council will perform studies and research on issues related to seniors, participate in district activities, support the fire foundation and its fundraising efforts, educate seniors about health and safety issues, and make recommendations to the Board of Trustees on policy matters affection the senior population.

Brucki urged seniors in the Fire District to join the Senior Advisory Council. SAC members must be 55 years of age, live within the district’s boundaries for at least one year, be persons of good moral character, and have legal citizenship in the country.

“What we need is for seniors to become active in the district. We value their experience and their insight in how the Fire District can best serve their needs,” Brucki said.

OFPD Board Chairman Jim Hickey said that seniors have always played an important role in the Fire District.

“It’s unfortunate that politics disrupted this important role a few years back. But that’s behind us. The past two elections have shown that the majority of residents, especially seniors, want the Fire District to focus on providing the highest quality emergency services and that is what this board is committed to doing,” Hickey said.

“The majority of Fire District residents want firefighters to stay focused on providing the highest quality emergency care services and response, not to be a political lobbying group. There are other places to talk about politics. The new Senior Advisory Council is committed to serving our senior community and to help the district continue to provide the best emergency services of any fire district in the Midwest. Because our firefighters are the best at what they do.”

Brucki said he is planning to introduce the new Senior Advisory Council at the next meeting of the Orland Fire Protection District on Tuesday, October 22. The meeting begins at 5 pm.


Photo Captions: Chief Brucki meets with founding members of the Orland Fire Protection District Senior Advisory Council. Picture from left to right are:Photo: Mane Pritza, Caryl Tietz, Rosemary Ihle, Chief Brucki, Grace Fiorenza, Diana Husband, Joe Gleiter, and Mike Ercoli. (Janice Pierhal not pictured).