Manhattan Fire Protection District
The newly consolidated Manhattan Fire Protection District; A time of transition, growth, and community
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By Public Education Coordinator Jackie O'Hara
March 20, 2023

The Manhattan Fire Protection District (MFPD) started the new year by hiring six full-time firefighters and promoting three firefighters to Lieutenant to serve the new, expanded Fire District, solidifying its staffing following the consolidation with the Peotone Fire Protection

The consolidation, which Peotone voters approved via a referendum in the November general election, is now in effect—following the MFPD Board’s recent approval of a resolution accepting new service area boundaries, which include the entirety of the now former Peotone Fire Protection District. The district’s service area has since expanded by 72 square miles and now covers 145 square miles, making MFPD one of the largest in the State. As of January, MFPD proudly serves the Villages of Manhattan and Peotone, Manhattan and Peotone Townships, Jackson Township, Will Township, and Wilton Center out of three fire stations. Each fire station is staffed with full-time staff and supplemented with part-time members; nine full-time Lieutenants, 15 full-time firefighters/paramedics, and 25 part-time firefighter EMT-B/paramedics.

As part of the consolidation, the District’s Board of Trustees has also expanded to include two additional representatives. Brian Hupe, the former Peotone Fire Protection District (PFPD) Board of Trustees President, and Bill Osborne, a former PFPD trustee, have been appointed by the Will County Board to ensure all areas of the district have representation. Both appointees were sworn in as Trustees during the February 20th MFPD board meeting.

In February, the district announced its intent to relocate fire station 81 to enhance service capabilities to the community. This decision was discussed throughout a 2-year study and is supported by data from our standard of cover/community risk assessment. The district
also developed a 20-year station study, which located areas for future stations. The goal is to provide a response time of 6 minutes and 20 seconds, 90% of the time, for all incidents. The new location of station 81 results from the collaborative relationship between the
Fire District, School District, Village, and Park District; all four organizations have worked together to improve public safety and intergovernmental cooperation for the betterment of the community.

During this period of transition and growth, the Manhattan Professional Firefighters Union Local 4991 and fire district members have given their hearts and time to support and give back to children fighting critical illnesses by joining Project Fire Buddies.

The Manhattan Project Fire Buddies Chapter has three fire buddies who have become part of the fire service family. When Project Fire Buddies mobilizes, it is not unusual to see a dozen police officers, firefighters, and a favorite cartoon character jump out of emergency vehicles carrying piles of donated goodies for a fire buddy and their family to enjoy. Manhattan firefighters visit their fire buddies throughout the year, not just on special occasions. Firefighters will play catch, a board game - anything to make their fire buddy laugh and brighten their day. Many businesses and taxing body partners in Manhattan have also embraced Project Fire Buddies by donating, fundraising, and volunteering their time.

Though many changes and new endeavors are happening within MFPD, we will continue making data-driven decisions to provide the best service possible to the entire district.

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