After 39 service years with the Village of Arlington Heights, nine serving as its Fire Chief, Glenn Ericksen has announced his retirement from the Arlington Heights Fire Department effective February 13, 2014. Upon his retirement, Chief Ericksen, who was the fourth Fire Chief since the Department changed from a Volunteer Department to a full-time paid Fire Department in 1958, will take on the role of Section Chief of Administration with MABAS-Illinois (Mutual Aid Box Alarm System.)
MABAS is a State-wide mutual aid response system for Fire, EMS and specialized incident operational teams. MABAS alarms are designed to provide speed of response of emergency resources to the stricken community during an ongoing emergency.
Arlington Heights Fire Chief Glenn Ericksen.
“It has been a true honor to serve as a member of the Arlington Heights Fire Department for 39 years, and to serve the residents of this Village,” said Chief Ericksen. “It is with mixed emotions that I leave, but at this point in my fire service career I have been given an exciting, new professional opportunity with MABAS – Illinois. I believe the Fire Department command staff is more than capable of leading this Department into the future.”
Chief Ericksen’s extensive fire service career in Arlington Heights includes starting as a Fire Alarm Operator in 1974 when the alarm office was located at the front of the old Fire Station 2 at 709 North Arlington Heights Road.
Ericksen became a firefighter in 1981, then served as a Firefighter/Paramedic from 1986 to 1993. He was promoted to Fire Lieutenant in 1993 and was promoted to Fire Captain- Shift Operations in 1998. One year later the title Fire Captain was changed to Fire Commander, and in 2001 Ericksen was promoted to Deputy Fire Chief-Operations. Ericksen was named Fire Chief by Village Manager Bill Dixon in December, 2004 after the retirement of Fire Chief Bruce Rodewald.
Under Chief Ericksen’s leadership, the Arlington Heights Fire Department of 110 employees has provided residents and businesses with fire protection service, emergency medical services (EMS) and other rescue functions. The Department consists of four Divisions — Administrative, Fire Suppression, Emergency Medical Service and Training.
Chief Ericksen’s level of commitment to the Village of Arlington Heights has been outstanding,” said Village Manager Bill Dixon. “We are very appreciative of Glenn’s service with the Village, especially his 9 years of leadership as Fire Chief. Glenn’s style was that of a team-builder. He empowered his talented staff to do their best at every level. His expertise, reliability and impressive dedication to the Village and the Arlington Heights Fire Department has positively impacted essential services provided to our community.”
During his tenure as Chief, the Fire Department was able to obtain a Federal Grant several years ago that enabled the Fire Department to hire an additional 9 firefighters, or one company. The move was opposed by some trustees, who were concerned about budget demands for continued payment of salaries after grant money was depleted.
The additional fire company staffed by additional staffing resulted in the fire department’s ability to meet the minimum guidelines of 6-minute response times 90% of the time for ambulance and fire calls. However, the fire department suffered a disappointment when the insurance rating for the village was dropped from the top rating of ISO Class I to ISO Class 2. ISO (Insurance Service Office) collects information on a community’s public fire protection and analyzes the data using ISO’s Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS). ISO then assigns a Public Protection Classification from 1 to 10. Class 1 represents the best public protection, and Class 10 indicates no recognized protection.
Ericksen was instrumental in getting a 2010 SAFE Communities Designation from the National Safety Council on behalf of the World Health Organization. Chief Ericksen also oversaw the addition of an Emergency Operations Center which is an integral communication center for the Village in case of a local disaster emergency.
Village Manager Bill Dixon expects to name an Acting Fire Chief upon Chief Ericksen’s retirement. Dixon indicated that a decision regarding the process for naming a new Arlington Heights Fire Chief will be forthcoming in the days ahead.
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