Feb. 18, 2019 – The Oak Park Fire Department reported an overall increase in total calls for service in 2018 as compared to the prior year.
Oak Park’s firefighter/paramedics responded to 7,268 total calls in 2018, compared to 6,822 in 2017, an increase of about 6.5 percent.
Calls for rescue and emergency medical services continued to make up the majority of aid provided in 2018, representing more than 63 percent of all calls, a share of activity similar to 2017. Fire-related calls represented only 1.4 percent of responses in 2018, compared to just under 2 percent in 2017.
“The data continue to reflect the evolving role of the Fire Department as a medical emergency first responder, rather than being focused on fighting fires as was the primary mission when municipal departments were first created,” Fire Chief Tom Ebsen said. “Oak Park recognized this trend many years ago, which is why the men and women who serve in our Fire Department are paramedics as well as firefighters.”
Ebsen said that advancements in fire prevention and suppression technology required of new construction, along with better fire safety public education, has led to a decline in serious structure fires, but the threat is still real.
“Fighting fires may represent a small share of a modern fire department’s overall activity, but being equipped, trained and ready to face the life-threatening dangers of a burning structure remains a key mission – especially in a community like Oak Park with so many older buildings,” he said.
Response times continued to be impressive, according to Ebsen, who said crews were on the scene of incidents in an average of four minutes and 25 seconds in 2018, compared to four minutes and seven seconds in 2017, well under the national response benchmark of five minutes and 20 seconds.
The Fire Department compiles data within several different categories, six of which make up more than 99 percent of all calls for service. Here’s an overview of the data ranked by share of overall activity:
- Rescue and emergency medical: The Oak Park Fire Department logged 4,607 rescue and emergency medical service calls in 2018, compared to 4,294 in 2017. This category included responding to 302 motor vehicle accidents in 2018, compared to 287 in 2017.
- General service: The Fire Department responded to 1,062 calls categorized as general service calls in 2018 compared to 973 in 2017. This category, which represented about 14.6 percent of calls in 2018 and 14.3 percent in 2017, includes individuals locked out their homes or vehicles and assisting those with special needs.
- Good intent: The Fire Department responded to 623 good intent calls in 2018, compared to 601 in 2017. These calls, which include reports of smoke and unknown odors, represented 8.4 percent of all responses in 2018, compared to 8.8 percent in 2017.
- Alarms: Fire alarms had Oak Park’s firefighter/paramedics on the road 613 times in 2018, compared to 596 times in 2017. This category of calls represented 8.43 percent of call in 2018, compared to 8.73 percent in 2017.
- Hazardous conditions: The Department responded to 254 calls reporting hazardous conditions in 2018, compared to 211 in 2017. These calls, which included downed power lines, carbon monoxide concerns and electrical wiring issues, represented 3.5 percent of responses in 2018, compared to 3.1 percent in 2017.
- Fire: The Department responded to 102 fire-related calls in 2018 compared to 136 in 2017. The data included 33 structure fires in 2018, compared to 50 in 2017. Fire-related calls represented only about 1.4 percent of responses in 2018, down from 2 percent in 2017.
Oak Park has three fire stations that house a variety of equipment from ambulances to ladder trucks and command vehicles. Fire Headquarters is located at 100 N. Euclid Ave.
Always on call for emergency service, the Fire Department maintains three shifts, each with more than 20 trained professionals ready to provide around the clock protection to residents.
The Fire Department also provides a range of non-emergency service, including alarm registration, child auto seats inspections, public education and CPR/AED training, station tours and pre-fire planning.
Department personnel also inspect the fire safety readiness of every commercial and public building in the Village each year.
For more information on the Fire Department visit www.oak-park.us/fire.