Why does a fire engine respond when I call for an ambulance?
It is our department policy to send an engine company on all life threatening calls; heart attacks, trouble breathing, possible stroke, etc. The vehicle may be an engine, truck or other support vehicle squad depending on the type of call. These personnel assist the ambulance crew with equipment, patient assessment and transportation.
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 Park Forest, Flossmoor, Richton Park, Chicago Heights, or Frankfort. This Mutual Aid Agreement works both ways; therefore Matteson ambulances are commonly dispatched to the other municipalities.
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 only 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, 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 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 will actually reduce overall damage to a building and contents.
If I were 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, 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. However, there are circumstances where that may not be possible (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.
How do I get a copy of a Fire Report?
Call Fire Administration at 708-748-5129.
I need a CPR course. Who teaches these courses locally?
The Matteson Fire Department offers CPR Courses on an as needed basis. If you are interested in signing up for the next class simply call 708-748-5129 and ask to be put on the CPR class list. You will be notified when the next class will be offered.
Where can I get my blood pressure checked?
Blood pressure testing is done at both Matteson Fire Stations any day of the week between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
Can we schedule a fire engine presentation or station tour?
Yes, contact the Fire Department at 708-748-5129 and we will be happy to assist you with your request.
I recently received a telephone call asking for a donation that benefits my local Fire Department. Who receives the donations?
The Matteson Fire Department does not solicit donations. All 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 Matteson, 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 Matteson Administrative Services Department (708) 283-4950.
Why do so many fire apparatus respond to simple incidents?
Fire Department units are dispatched according to information received by the 9-1-1 operator. The Matteson 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. Plus, we respond as fast as we can prepared to encounter the worst. The winner in these situations will always be the citizen who needs help.