Fire Engines at Night with Lights on

Learn more about the Department’s recent statistics in the Fire Department Annual Report (PDF).

All Winnetka firefighters are also licensed and certified paramedics. This means that all Department Firefighter/Paramedic receive training and review to ensure the latest in the delivery of pre-hospital care and emergency medicine to the public.

Ambulance Requests Require a Fire Engine

For any ambulance request, Winnetka also sends a fire engine. The reason for this is three-fold:

  • The ambulance may be on another call and the fire engine is paramedic equipped and can start pre-hospital care right away while waiting for a mutual-aid ambulance to arrive.
  • When we arrive on the scene, we bring the care to the patient. Numerous pieces of equipment are brought inside to treat the patient as soon as possible. This equipment requires several people to carry and set up while other members are tending to the patient. For comparison, if a person was to arrive at an emergency room and was in serious condition, it is possible that ten to fifteen medical personnel will attend to that person. We need to perform the same tasks with five people. Most of the time, we do this in challenging conditions (i.e. on the floor, in the bathroom, in a restaurant, in a car, etc.)
  • To properly move a person, it will take all five members on the call. The appropriate level of patient care for a medical or traumatic emergency cannot be achieved with only two firefighter/paramedics on the call. Therefore, on every ambulance run, an engine company responds along with the ambulance.


The Winnetka Fire Department operates in the Saint Francis EMS system which includes St. Francis Hospital, Evanston Hospital, Glenbrook Hospital, Skokie Hospital, and Highland Park Hospital. Of these, St. Francis and Evanston Hospitals are Level 1 Trauma Centers that maintain the highest level of preparedness for rapid treatment of life-threatening incidents. We are able to transport to any of these locations as long as the condition of the patient allows for it. The final decision rests with the emergency room doctor providing the orders.