October 7, 2014
TO: Helping Hands Members and all interested parties
FR: Chief Michael Spain
RE: Request for clarification on Helping Hands Program
The intent of this letter is to address the questions referenced regarding the status of the Helping Hands organization as I presented at the September 8th meeting. Yes, the program is not disbanded only under restructuring. It is my pleasure to address your questions.
The genesis of the program was the result of many years of seeing the family’s post fire incident having all their personal belongings and home devastated by fire and not knowing where to turn for assistance. In addition, the Red Cross was experiencing limited access due to the decrease in funding. This is what led me in the development of the Helping Hands response program.
Although the program has worked well, I felt the need to restructure the program and align it with the department’s strategic plan and truly make it a response team. The goal is to partner with the Police and Emergency Management Agency of Bensenville to provide an expanded scope of the post traumatic services to our residents. The Helping Hands program is being downsized to a select few individual responders chosen by the district’s Board of Fire Commissioners and officers of the respective agencies. Yes, there will be an application process along with interviews that will be conducted to ensure that the appropriate candidates are chosen to be part of the response team. The Board of Fire Commissioners is the review board that reviews and hires the firefighters and all promotions below the position of Fire Chief. From there, a list by the Board of Fire Commissioners will be developed and the top six to eight individuals will be placed on the response team. Rest assured that everyone as part of the current Helping Hands program is welcome with open arms to apply. Frankly, it’s my desire to have all who are interested to apply.
Once the team is established, the volunteer responders will go through a series of educational development programs that will enable them to deal with all the catastrophic and psychological events that they will be exposed to. Addition we are adding a Chaplin position for all the services and residents to avail themselves to in the time of need.
Although the new response team has yet to be established, key personnel will be available to respond in the event of a family being displaced.
Lastly, you have an application attached to this emailing for your convenience and completion to be returned to me by October 31 2014.
To the members whom decide not to apply, I thank you for your kind and considerate time and effort in the formulation of the Helping Hands program. Most importantly and admired for her service, Denise Gallagher, Thank You!
Chief Michael Spain