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-Photo by Larry Shapiro

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

All of Winnetka’s 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 per-hospital care and emergency medicine to the public.

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, 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.

RED Center


The Department is a member of the Regional Emergency Dispatch (RED Center)—making it part of a centralized emergency dispatch center with other area fire departments. The system is capable of providing efficient fire and emergency medical dispatch. Emergency medical dispatch provides pre-arrival instructions such as CPR or first-aid, prior to the arrival of paramedics. It is important to note that when you do call 911, you will first reach our Police Dispatch Center who will transfer the call quickly to RED Center for fire dispatching. During this time, there may be a short moment of silence on the phone line. Do not hang up: this is part of the transfer process. Once you reach a 911 Telecommunicator, do not hang up with them until you are told it is okay to do so.

MABAS Division 3


In addition to being part of RED Center, the Winnetka Fire Department is also a member of MABAS (Mutual-Aid Box Alarm System) Division 3. This is a predefined inter-operational agreement with fire departments in the area to provide assistance to each other in the event of a significant incident. Currently, there are 17 North Shore departments that belong to MABAS Division 3—offering service from 40 fire stations and over 950 firefighters. Assistance may be provided in incidents such as a large fire, multiple victim incidents requiring the need for multiple ambulances and for incidents requiring specialized skills such as water rescue, hazardous materials and technical (above and below grade) rescue. It provides the Village a wealth of resources that can come from as far as Wisconsin or Indiana, if necessary. The Winnetka Fire Department is also committed to assisting the other departments for calls of automatic aid.

Specialized Teams

The Winnetka Fire Department is made up of specialist teams, and Department members also participate on MABAS Division 3 Teams for each area.

  • HazMat Team This type of incident includes spills, leaks or vehicle accident, involving highway, rail, waterborne, air or pipeline transportation or those involving the use of storage or hazardous materials at a fixed site. Incidents could involve release or threatened release of toxic, flammable, or reactive substance in solid, liquid or gaseous form.
  • Water Rescue Team - The MABAS 3 Dive Team is trained to provide search, rescue and recovery to victims of all water, ice, and swift water related incidents. Specialized monthly training is scheduled to enhance team preparedness & response, through both practical & technical skill assessment/evaluations.
  • Special Rescue Team - SRT members are trained and equipped to respond to above and below grade emergency incidents such as trench and building collapse, confined space emergencies, and situations involving a difference in elevation where normal means of access and evacuation are not possible. This type of team is usually seen in an area devastated by storms or a tornado where there is a great amount of structural collapse with possible rescues.
  • Fire Investigation - As required by the State of Illinois statutes, the Winnetka Fire Department has a team of Firefighters and Police Officers to determine the origin and cause of all fires occurring within our response area. This team can also request the assistance of the MABAS Division 3 Fire Investigation Team if additional assistance is required to process a scene.


As firefighter/paramedics, one can never receive too much training. This is why department training is of primary importance. Each month, every Firefighter/Paramedic receives about 20 hours of hands-on and classroom training, which is documented using the Office of the State Fire Marshal Standards. The training topics include but are not limited to:








In addition to our monthly training, all our Fire Officers receive additional training in management and supervisory skills. Most recently, every Fire Officer has completed the “Blue Card” Program. This is a new certification in the command of an emergency incident.

One of the best training tools and assets we have is the training tower located at the Village Yards. Winnetka’s Training Tower allows the most realistic multi-variable training in residential and commercial fire and rescue. One great example of training is our Night Drills. Night training, which is required annually, is conducted twice a year at the Training Tower. This training includes multi-company operations with fire departments from our surrounding communities.

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