Question & Answer

WHY DOES A FIRE ENGINE RESPOND WHEN I CALLED FOR AN AMBULANCE?
Our department will send an engine on all life threatening calls; heart attacks, trouble breathing, possible stroke etc. We also respond with an engine on all auto-accidents.

WHEN I CALL FOR AN AMBULANCE, WHY DO I SEE AN AMBULANCE FROM ANOTHER TOWN?
During the course of a day it is not unusual for two calls for the ambulance to come in at the same time. We will then dispatch a paramedic ambulance from the next available town, either River Grove or River Forest.

HOW MANY FIRE DEPARTMENTS DOES ELMWOOD PARK HAVE?
Just one! But, there are 2 stations within the village limits, Station One is located in the Circle and Station Two is located at the new Public Safety Building 7420 W. Fullerton.

WHY DO I SEE FIRE ENGINES OR MEDIC UNITS GO THROUGH INTERSECTIONS WITH THEIR RED LIGHTS FLASHING, AND THEN TURN THEM OFF? ARE THEY JUST IN A HURRY TO GO SOMEWHERE?
Emergency lights and siren are used when responding to a call. Apparatus responding to calls are frequently cancelled, or the first arriving unit determines that the call is not an emergency and tells the units to respond in a non-emergency mode.

WHY DO FIREFIGHTERS BREAK WINDOWS AND CUT UP ROOFS WHEN THE FIRE IS INSIDE A BUILDING? IT SEEMS THAT THEY ARE CAUSING MORE DAMAGE THAN THE FIRE
Fire in a building creates a tremendous amount of heat and smoke. In many instances, firefighters must remove this heat and smoke before they can get close enough to extinguish the fire. Heat and smoke rise, so cutting a hole in the roof and breaking out windows in strategic locations allows the smoke to vent upwards, allowing cool air to enter the structure from below. We call this “ventilation”. This improves visibility and lowers heat conditions for the firefighters inside, allowing them to quickly and safely extinguish the fire. Remember, heat and smoke cause damage too, so ventilation can actually reduce overall damage to a building and contents.

IF I WAS TRAPPED IN A BURNING BUILDING, WOULD FIREFIGHTERS BE ABLE TO RESCUE ME?
This all depends on you and the fire protection features of the building you are in at the time of the fire. Relying on the expertise and resources of your local firefighters to save you in a fire is risky at best. The best rescue is self rescue. Install smoke detectors in your home, and check them monthly. Have a fire escape plan that includes 2 ways out of each room/home, and practice it. Learn what to do in the event of fire in your home. Never re-enter a burning building. If you panic, your chances of survival decrease drastically. If you are trapped and you know the fire department is on scene, make your location known by yelling, opening a window and dropping something out, or calling 9-1-1 and relaying your location to the dispatcher. Stuff bedding or towels under the door to keep deadly smoke and gases out of the room. Do not hide under a bed or table! Stay near a window or doorway. Firefighters are taught to search under windows and doorways during rescue searches. If you are on a second floor you may be able to hang from a window and drop to the ground without suffering significant injury. This option should be considered a last resort, when smoke and/or heat make the room you are in uninhabitable.

WHEN I SEE AN EMERGENCY VEHICLE APPROACHING WHILE I AM DRIVING, SHOULD I ALWAYS PULL OVER TO THE RIGHT AND STOP?
State law, and common sense, dictate that vehicles yield to emergency vehicles that are operating their emergency lights and siren. Emergency vehicle drivers are taught to pass on the left whenever possible when responding in an emergency mode. When safe, slow down, pull over to the right, and stop. However, there are circumstances where that may not be possible (if you car is already stopped, and you don’t have anywhere to pull over). Simply stay put until the emergency vehicle goes around you. If you are blocking the route of the emergency vehicle, and you are able to pull ahead and over into a clear area, use your turn signal to indicate your intentions, and proceed at a safe speed. Never slam on the brakes and stop in the middle of the road when you see apparatus approaching. Make no sudden moves. If an emergency vehicle is approaching from the opposite direction, you should pull over and stop. You have no idea if they are proceeding down the road, or are planning on turning into a driveway or intersection right in front of you. You are not required to slow down or pull over for emergency vehicles that are responding in the opposite direction on a divided freeway or highway. Do not tailgate, “draft”, or follow a responding apparatus closely. Not only is this illegal, you run the risk of collision as vehicles pull back out into traffic after the emergency vehicle goes by.

DO YOU GET CATS OUT OF TREES/TELEPHONE POLES/OFF THE ROOFS?
No. Put an open can of tuna at the bottom of the pole and wait for the cat to get down on its own.

HOW DO I GET A COPY OF A FIRE INVESTIGATION REPORT?
Call the Fire Prevention Bureau at 708-452-3934.

I NEED A CPR COURSE. WHO TEACHES THESE COURSES LOCALLY?
The Elmwood Park Fire Department offers CPR Courses usually twice a year. If you are interested in signing up for the next class simply call Station One at 708-453-2600 and ask to be put on the CPR class list. You will be notified when the next class will be offered.

WHERE CAN I GO TO GET MY BLOOD PRESSURE CHECKED?
Blood pressure testing is done at Station One on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday’s of the month from 10 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.

CAN WE SCHEDULE A FIRE ENGINE PRESENTATION OR STATION TOUR?
Yes, contact the fire department at 708-453-2600 and ask for the Shift Commander; he will be happy to assist you with your request.