Frequently Asked Questions

Below you'll find answers to the most common questions residents have about the Oak Forest Fire Department. If you have a question that is not included in the list below, please call us at 708-687-6050 or email us.  

Are tours of the fire station available?

Yes.  Please call 708-687-6050 to make an appointment.  Be mindful that our first priority is emergency response.  Disruptions and/or cancellations may occur.  When calling, please specify the following:

  • Date and time of visit
  • Number of participants
  • Age of participants 
  • Contact person's name, phone and email
  • Station 1 or 2

Can I burn waste and/or have a bonfire in my yard?

Open burning is prohibited at all times in the City of Oak Forest.  A small recreational warming fire is allowed so long as it does not produce offensive smoke or odor emissions, is contained inside an approved structure, and is not within 25 feet of a structure. Attendance is required at all times and the fire must be fully extinguished upon completion.  For more information, call 708-687-6050.

Can I use a propane or charcoal grill on my balcony?

The use of any heating equipment with an open flame is prohibited on balconies, unless the balcony is protected by an outside sprinkler system.  For more information, call 708-687-6050.

How do I get my child's car seat inspected?

Call us at 708-687-6050 to schedule an appointment.  A certified technician is not always on duty, so drop-ins are not encouraged.

Can I get my blood pressure taken at the fire station?

Yes.  Stop by either fire station, preferably between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., and we will take your blood pressure.

Why do fire engines/trucks and ambulances respond to emergency medical calls?

For faster advanced medical care, all Oak Forest firefighters are cross-trained as paramedics.  We carry much the same medical equipment on our fire apparatus as the ambulances.  Patients benefit from having the closest available unit respond to initiate care. Also, having additional personnel to assist with care and preparation for transport saves time.  In these cases, an engine company is sent with an ambulance so that advanced care – intravenous access, medication administration, cardiac electrical therapy – can be done promptly resulting in better patient outcomes.  

What should I do when an emergency vehicle is approaching with its lights and sirens activated?

When safe to do so, calmly pull to the right shoulder or curb and stop.

Why do I see fire trucks or ambulances parked outside of grocery stores?

Firefighters work a unique schedule consisting of 24-hour shifts and have no allotted meal breaks.  They generally combine their own money to supply food for their shift.  They do not have freedom to go anywhere alone as crew integrity must be maintained to allow the most effective service at the time of an emergency.  Firefighters are often out of their stations for long hours running emergency calls, training, conducting fire inspections, hydrant testing, and fulfilling public education requests.  They remain available for calls by portable radio and will respond regardless of location and non-emergent status anytime they are outside of the station.

How do I become a firefighter with the City of Oak Forest?

The Oak Forest Fire Department hires qualified individuals, as needed.  As with most career departments, the selection process is highly competitive and should warrant serious participation.  Tests occur every two years, or when the list has been exhausted.  The testing and hiring process includes: a written exam, a physical agility test, a psychological exam, a background questionnaire, and interviews.  

How do I become an EMT or paramedic?

All relevant emergency medical services coursework is offered through local hospitals. 

What do firefighters do when they are not running fire or EMS calls?

Oak Forest firefighters maintain 20 hours of training per month as a minimum standard.  All firefighters are paramedics so they are required to take continuing education courses for emergency medical services.  They also conduct "company-level" commercial fire prevention inspections, check and maintain equipment and apparatus, teach fire safety at schools, test hydrants, study, maintain physical condition, conduct station tours, supervise fire drills, and document all fire and EMS calls.  Some firefighters are involved in various departmental committees and special teams, such as hazardous materials, technical rescues, and fire/arson.  Due to 24-hour shifts, firefighters also shop, pay for, and prepare all of their own meals and complete station chores, such as laundry, cleaning, and making repairs. 

Does the fire department rescue cats from trees?

No.  Place an open can of tuna at the base of the tree and leave the area.  The cat should come down on its own.