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Rich Kukac
  • 78, Male
  • Orland Park, IL
  • United States
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Profile Information

Lives in:
Orland Park, Illinois
LaGrange FD - Paid & Orland FPD
11. 5 yrs LGFD Lt. (ret) & 18 yrs OFPD - Former FF., Trustee & Commissioner
Years of public service:
Agency structure:
Combination fire department
Top issues in your department:
Staffing, Funding
Professional Qualifications:
AAS - Fire Science - 1976
BS - Fire Service Administration - 1977
MPA - Public Administration - 1986
ERT - 1976
FAE - 1977
OFI - 1979
Topics you provide training for:
Building Construction
Areas of expertise:
Building Construction, Developing Hiring & Promotional processes
I became a volunteer FF with the then, Orland FD, an all volunteer department, at the age of 21, in 1967. On July 19, 1971, I became a full-time FF with the LaGrange FD, a municipal, combination department for a Village of about 16,000 located about 15 miles due west of downtown Chicago. Because we were a small department (18 paid), I spent 2 or 3 shifts a month riding with some of the busiest fire companies in Chacigo, like SS1, Eng. 100 and the 12 Bat. to help hone my fire fighting skills. In Oct. of 1978, I became a Lt. and served on both an Eng. and a 90 ft. snorkle. I also helped form the Union (IAFF Local 2338) at LGFD, and served as its first Sec. and then its second Pres. In Jan. of 1982, I began teaching in the fire science program at Moraine Valley Community College. I also owned and opperated a general contracting business from 1976 until 1983. We specialized in remodeling and building room additions but occasionally, we did work in strip malls and light industrial and manufacturing sites. On July 15, 1982, I was burried in a collapse at a construction site and broke my neck, thus ending my street service with the fire service. In 1984, after almost 2 years of hospitalization and rehab, I was asked to come back to Moraine Valley as the coordinator of their Fire Science and EMS programs. Additionaly, I returned to teaching (now from a wheelchair). Over the years, I have taught Intro. to Fire Science, Apparatus & Equipment and Building Construction. Because I lost 2 close friends who, were also firemen, at the MGM Grand Hotel fire, and also worked an extra alarm fire where the brother of a fireman on my Eng. Co. was trapped,and ultimately died along with another fireman, I have dedicated the last 27 years of my life to teaching fire service personnel (and aspiring fire fighters) as much as I can about what I learned during my active duty and from researching the causes of deaths and injuries to firefighters over the years in different types of structure fires. I have also been a member of the NFPA Education Committee for 22 years, the Illinois Fire Chiefs Scholarship Selection Committee for 7 years and was the President of the Fire Commission for the OFPD for 14 years. My main goal, as an instructor, is to help reduce the annual number of deaths and injuries to fire fighters.

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At 2:34pm on April 23, 2008, Joe McClelland said…
Rich. I am very familiar with the situation in Orland. To not use the Quint as an engine is pretty goofy. I understand the downing of two rigs and joining them onto one, but the officers have to be trained enough to know when that one rig should be used as an engine or truck. I speced out a quint in the AFG process and sold the idea to the Chief and Mayor by explaining we would use the rig as an engine first with the ability to throw the ladder if/when needed. My department has 3 trucks, all quints, in the departments that touch our borders. 2of them are auto-aid. We train with them so they know that if they pull up before we do, they are to pull a line and start the attack before going to the roof. People hanging out windows will change the roles a bit, but attack is first and foremost. To say it will never be used as an engine is a bonehead thing for a Chief to say. With the distance between stations in Orland, they are risking alot by waiting for another rigto get there to attack, since the first rig went to the roof. Many of those members were upset that the department was going to dedicated companys. That put more responsibility on them and their knowledge of how those units work. I think quints are a great idea. If I had my way, all the rigs at my job, except for the rescue, would be quints. No more b******* that the engine didn't leave room for the truck, it is already there. While the first in crew is fighting the fire, the next crew can work that rigs ladder, go to the roof without worrying about parking, spoting their rig. Best use is on the job with 3 man companys. Easy rigs to use with small companys.Two for the price of one.
At 1:20pm on April 16, 2008, Rich Kukac said…
As you can see buy the 3/4 boots, this was take a long time ago, when I was "young and dumb."

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