Each fire department in the country is evaluated by an independent agency known as the "Insurance Services Organization (ISO)." This evaluation takes into consideration the department’s equipment, staffing levels, communications network, training, and Village water supply system. Based upon points obtained in all areas of the evaluation, the fire department is then placed in one of 10 categories with a "Class 1" being the best. Based upon the category assigned, fire insurance rates paid by residents and businesses are then determined by each private insurance company.
The Wheeling Fire Department's Class 2 rating places the department in the top 3 1/2% of all fire departments nationwide. Wheeling’s Class 2 rating is extremely good and homeowners, as well as local businesses, benefit from relatively low fire insurance rates. Residents and businesses are encouraged to discuss the fire department's ISO rating with their property insurance company to make sure they are getting all the premium discounts they deserve. The Fire Department was last evaluated and classified by ISO in 2017 and is re-evaluated approximately every ten (10) years.
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Based upon general travel conditions, proximity to the village, and the need to quickly return ambulances to the community, Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights and Glenbrook Hospital in Glenview have been chosen as the department’s designated receiving hospitals. Both of these hospitals are classified as Level II trauma centers and are capable of handling a wide variety of medical situations 24/7. While patients and their families may often be given a choice between these hospitals in which to be transported to, the ultimate decision as to where a patient will be transported to is up to the attending paramedic on the call, based upon the specific medical needs of the patient and/or available appropriate medical services at a particular hospital (ex. stroke center).
In cases of severe trauma and upon approval of the emergency room physician, patients are taken to Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge or Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, since they are Level I trauma centers. These hospitals are set up to handle the most severe trauma patients 24/7.
Patient's who request transportation to any other area hospital is performed by private ambulance service and is at the sole expense of the patient. Depending upon the medical condition of the patient, paramedics may standby on the scene until the arrival of the private ambulance and proper transfer of the patient. In these situations, the patient will be required to sign a release of service form.
Occasionally, a particular hospital may be placed on "by-pass" status due to patient overload or other extenuating circumstances within the hospital. In these situation, the paramedics will be directed by the hospital emergency room physician to take the patient to another regional hospital which may be further away from the Village. This same situation can occur during incidents involving multiple patients (i.e. mass casualty incidents). Diverting of patients may occur once the ambulance has left the incident scene and is already en route to the hospital. While not the intent, this may result in some confusion for relatives of the patient thinking that the patient went to a particular hospital and ended up at another. Unfortunately, once the ambulance has left the incident scene and personnel are focusing their attention on the patient, they will not be able to call relatives to advise them of this change in most cases.
Yes, the current fee is based upon an average of regional ambulance service rates and varies based upon the overall complexity of the medical services provided. Patients who refuse service and are not transported to a local hospital are not charged for the service. However, fees are charged for individuals who utilize the Fire Department's services for invalid assists (ex. lifting off of the floor) and have no medical basis for their call for emergency service. Ambulance fees are charged regardless if the patient is a resident or non-resident of the community.
A third party billing company, hired by the Village of Wheeling, handles billing for ambulance service. Medicare, Medicare Supplemental Part B, and/or private medical insurance payments are accepted as payment in full for all charges. Patients are responsible for paying any amount of the ambulance bill that is applied to their insurance deductible or any amount not covered by an insurance settlement, much like a standard physician's fee. Ambulance fees cannot be waived for those individuals who choose to not have medical insurance or who choose to purchase medical insurance policies with high deductibles These are personal choices and therefore, the individual is solely responsible for their ambulance bill. Ambulance bills are charged to patients receiving medical care by the Fire Department regardless of who specifically calls for ambulance service.
For questions regarding medical billing, contact the telephone number that appears on your bill or call the Fire Department at 847-459-2662 (M-F; 08:00 am - 04:30 pm).
Copies of fire and/or ambulance reports can be obtained from Fire Administration Office, 499 South Milwaukee Avenue, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (excluding recognized holidays), 72 hours after the incident occurred.
Copies of ambulance reports are only released to the actual patient, legal guardian, documented relative (such as a spouse or parent),or by legally executed subpoena. Ambulance reports will not be released as part of a Freedom of Information Act (I.e. FOIA) request due to Federal laws regarding patient confidentiality.
All shift personnel are cross-trained as firefighter/paramedics. On those calls that may be life-threatening (for example, chest pains, car accidents, stroke, unconscious patients, etc.), a fire engine is dispatched to provide additional manpower needed to initiate advanced life support treatment. If they are not needed, the fire engine is released from the call.
In addition, the fire engines carry the same paramedic equipment as an ambulance, but cannot transport patients. In those rare cases where an ambulance is not immediately available, the personnel from the fire engine can still initiate paramedic services, prior to the arrival of an ambulance on the scene.
Smoke detectors typically last up to ten (10) years. As they reach the end of their useful life, they will typically "beep" and will not stop "beeping" even if new batteries are installed. Most smoke detectors also have a manufacture date sticker on the inside battery compartment or on the bottom plate of the smoke detector. New smoke detectors come with ten (10) year long-life batteries installed which cannot be changed and when the battery is depleted, it is time to replace the entire smoke detector assembly. Starting in 2023, only ten (10) year life smoke detectors with sealed battery chambers may be sold and installed in the State of Illinois.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors have a shorter life span - typically five (5) years. When they reach the end of their useful life, they typically go into "alarm" and will not stop, even if reset and/or new batteries are installed. Like smoke detectors, CO detectors typically have a manufacture date sticker on the inside battery compartment or on the bottom/backside plate of the detector.
When replacing smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, look for units that have been independently tested and have either the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) seal or Factory Mutual (FM) seal. Smoke detectors should be installed (as a minimum) on every floor and inside every bedroom of your home.Smoke detectors with both ionization and photoelectric sensors (i.e. dual sensors) provide the most protection. Don’t put smoke detectors in your kitchen or bathrooms, since cooking smoke and/or moisture will cause false activation of the detector. The Fire Department recommends selecting a CO detector unit with a digital read-out for easy of use. Smoke detectors and Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors can be purchased regionally at Wal-Mart, Target, ACE Hardware, Home Depot, and Lowes. The Fire Department does not routinely sell or provide smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors to residents. Occasionally, these devices may be available free of charge through special grants received from time to time by the Fire Department and information regarding these special events will be listed in the Village newsletter.
In rental properties, it is the responsibility of the landlord to provide and maintain working smoke detectors
The open burning of garbage, refuse, litter, waste paper, cardboard, plastic, landscape waste, leaves, construction debris, treated lumber, pallets, flammable and/or combustible liquids, wet or damp wood, and/or unseasoned wood are prohibited by both the Village's Municipal Code and Fire Code. Individuals in violation are subject to being issued citations and fines. Repeat offenders are subject to additional legal action by the Village.
Recreational fires using portable fireplaces at single family homes and townhomes are permitted as long as they are used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions, are not operated within 15 feet of any structures or combustible materials, and only clean, seasoned (i.e. dry) wood is used as the fuel source. Recreational fireplaces used near townhomes may be subject to additional restrictions based upon their particular homeowners association. All recreational fires must be constantly attended and must either have a nearby fire extinguisher, bucket of water, and/or a garden hose. Disputes between neighbors regarding portable fireplaces should be worked out between neighbors and not by calling the Fire Department or the Police Department unless there is a clear and present danger.
Bonfires are strictly prohibited except for public events and only with pre-approved permits and the fire department on standby.
Typically, lock-outs are not an emergency situation and are more of an inconvenience. As such, the Fire Department does not typically handle lock-outs and individuals should contact a locksmith, landlord, or property manager for assistance. Only in very extreme circumstances where a possible emergency may exist will the Fire Department respond to requests involving lock-outs. Any property damage as a result of the Fire Department attempting to resolve a lock-out situation are solely the financial responsibility of the property owner and/or tenant.
Barbecue grills are prohibited on all balconies unless it is fully protected by an automatic fire sprinkler system and the grill is fueled by propane gas with a cylinder size no greater than 2 1/2 pounds (i.e. small cylinder). Additional regulations may apply based upon the individual tenant lease and/or the homeowners association rules and regulations. Occupants are strongly encouraged to utilize amenities provided by their individual complex for outside recreational cooking.
Storage of propane cylinders and/or barbecue grills, regardless of size, are not permitted to be stored in the common building tenant storage rooms/closets or common tenant parking garages.
Builders and/or developers needing a fire hydrant flow test in order to design their project or upgrade their existing fire sprinkler system can schedule this test by calling the on-duty Battalion Chief at (847) 459-2664. Flow tests need to be schedule a minimum of seventy-two (72) hours in advance and are subject to weather conditions. Flow tests will only be completed if the outside temperature is thirty-five (35) degrees and rising, in order to avoid ice accumulating on the pavement.
No. Due to the quantity of professional certifications required for our personnel being cross-trained as both a firefighter and a paramedic, as well as the number of specialty training/certification requirements (ex. hazardous materials, technical rescue, airport firefighter, etc.), all emergency response personnel are full-time employees. Individuals who are interested in becoming a full-time firefighter/paramedic with the Wheeling Fire Department should review the information contained on the Fire Department's main web page.
Yes, classes are held several times throughout the year at Fire Station 24, 499 South Milwaukee Avenue. A moderate fee is charged to cover the cost of the instructor(s), training supplies, and certification. Click Here to enroll in a CPR class. For more information call 847-459-2662, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Yes, visitors are welcome anytime between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., subject to availability of personnel due to emergency calls, training, etc. For groups larger than ten (10) or for station tours during the evening hours, we ask that reservations be made. Reservations can be made by calling 847-459-2662, in advance, Monday - Friday, 08:00 am to 04:30 pm.
No, due to security reasons, these items are not released to non-Wheeling Fire Department personnel. While this has not occurred involving the Wheeling Fire Department, these types of items have unfortunately been misused by other individuals involving other fire departments throughout the country. Wheeling Fire Department patches and logos are our "brand" and we take our identity very seriously. We apologize to those individuals who are serious patch collectors for this inconvenience.