Frequently Asked Questions
When I see an emergency vehicle approaching while I am driving, should I always pull over to the right and stop?
State law dictates 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. There are circumstances where it may not be possible to pull to the right (if your 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 highway. Do not tailgate, "draft", or follow a responding apparatus closely.
Why did the sirens go off?
Weather warning sirens are tested at 10:00 a.m. on the first Tuesday of every month to ensure they are in proper working order. Should we be experiencing severe weather at 10:00 a.m. on the first Tuesday of the month, the sirens test will not be conducted until the first Tuesday of the following month. When you hear the sirens during severe weather, seek shelter and tune your radio or television to a news or weather channel for additional information. Please refrain from calling 911 during these weather events to ask about the sirens. During an emergency, all emergency responders are typically very busy responding to weather-related emergencies.
How do I get a copy of a Fire or Ambulance Report?
You can call the Fire Department Administrative Office at 708-748-5605 or stop by the Fire Station during normal business hours (Monday-Friday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.). There is no charge for a copy of a fire report. There is a $5 charge for a copy of an ambulance report which will only be released to the patient or the patient’s parent/guardian if the patient is a minor.
Why do so many pieces of fire apparatus respond to simple incidents?
Fire Department units are dispatched according to information received by the 9-1-1 operator. The Park Forest Fire Department thinks pessimistically when they respond to citizens in need of help. In other words, the firefighters are prepared to deal with the worst that could happen. The fire department's philosophy is to get our firefighters there as soon as possible.
There may be three or more fire department vehicles on the scene for what appears to be a "simple" incident. However, in emergency services, we have learned that if we assume something is "simple," we can be horribly mistaken. We respond as quickly as we can, prepared to encounter the worst. The winner in these situations will always be the citizen in need of assistance.
The Fire Department has three members certified in child safety seat installation. Please contact the Fire Department at 708-748-5605 to schedule an appointment.
The Park Forest Police Department also has individuals certified in this area and can be contacted at 708-748-4700 for further information.
When I call for an ambulance, why do I sometimes see an ambulance from another town?
During the course of a day, it is not unusual for two or three calls for the ambulance to come in at the same time. If all of our ambulances are busy, we will dispatch a paramedic ambulance from the next available town, normally Matteson, Richton Park, South Chicago Heights, University Park, or Chicago Heights, depending on the location of the incident. This Mutual Aid Agreement works both ways; therefore, Park Forest ambulances are commonly dispatched to the other municipalities.
I need a CPR course. Who teaches these courses locally?
The Park Forest Fire Department does not currently offer CPR classes on a regular basis. Information and registration for upcoming classes are available here. Additionally, we will schedule classes on an as-requested basis for groups or organizations. If you are interested in a CPR Class for your organization, please contact the Fire Department at 708-748-5605 to schedule a time.
Why do I see fire engines or medic units go through intersections with their red lights flashing, and then turn them off?
Emergency lights and sirens are used only during an emergency response. Apparatus responding to calls are sometimes canceled while en route, or the first arriving unit determines the call is not an emergency and tells the units to respond in a non-emergency mode or to return to their station.
Why do firefighters break windows and cut holes in roofs when the fire is inside a building? It seems 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 will actually reduce the overall damage to a building and its contents.
Where can I get my blood pressure checked?
You can stop by the Fire Station any day between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to have your blood pressure tested.
Can we schedule a fire engine presentation or station tour?
Yes, contact the Fire Department at 708-748-5605, and we will be happy to assist you with your request.
The South Cook County Professional Firefighters is an organization associated with different Firefighter Unions in the southern suburbs. Our Firefighters' Association is a member of this group and receives funds through its efforts. All monies received by the union belong to them and are not given to or used by the Fire Department. Anyone wishing to donate money for Fire Department use should do so directly to the Fire Department.
The Park Forest Fire Department does not solicit donations. Department funding comes from the Village budget.
How are members of the Fire Department hired?
In order to be hired as a Firefighter/Paramedic in the Village of Park Forest, candidates must first take a written examination and pass a physical agility test. These examinations are offered every two years. Any inquiries regarding the hiring process should be directed to the Village of Park Forest Personnel Department at 708-283-5603.
We also have a Paid-On-Call division, with positions being filled on an as-needed basis. More information regarding applications and employment is available on the "Employment Opportunities" page of our website.
When a smoke detector's battery is running low, it will beep intermittently to alert you to change the battery.
Should you notice an open fire hydrant, contact the Water Department at 708-748-1112, and they will have someone take care of the problem. After normal work hours or on the weekend, call the Police Department at 708-748-4700, and they will contact someone to handle the situation.