Child Safety Seats:
Grayslake Fire Protection District residents receive free child safety seat inspections. Click here for details
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
How many firefighters does Grayslake have?
The Grayslake Fire Department currently has 38 full time firefighters and an additional 30 part time. The 38 full time firefighters consist of 3 shifts of 9 firefighter/Paramedics, 3 Lieutenants and 1 Battalion Chief. Each shift works 24 hours and have 48 hours off staffing the firehouse 24 hours a day. There is also the Fire Chief , Deputy Fire Chief , and two fire inspectors who work Monday-Friday 8am-5p.m. staffing the station during the day. Part time firefighter/paramedics also staff the fire stations. Three work during the day and two at night.
There are currently three fire stations located in downtown Grayslake, Brae Loch Road near the College of Lake County and on Behm Lane in Fremont Township near the Saddlebrook Farms subdivision.
Firefighters used to put out fires and that was all they did but as time has passed their jobs have evolved. A typical day will begin at 7a.m. with a morning briefing between the two shifts passing on details of the previous shift. After this begins rig checks which entails daily checks on every vehicle, weekly checks on specific vehicles, monthly checks on different vehicles for the first two weeks of the month, and inventories of the ambulances and the Advanced Life Support Engines. Each check is progressively more thorough and requires a greater amount of time to do. Monthly checks on a single vehicle can take 3-4 hours with multiple people. While the team checks vehicles there is also house duties to perform. These duties include a complete cleaning of the administration areas, dormitories, day rooms, training rooms, washrooms and vehicle apparatus bays. Does any one of the vehicles have a problem? Now is the time to work on fixing this which many times bleeds over into lunch. Public education tours are usually scheduled during this time and we always give a fire safety talk too. If uninterrupted, lunch is from 12pm-1pm with many firefighters preparing meals for the rest of the group. After lunch it's shift training which is prepared by the training officer for all three different shifts. A set schedule from the training division lets each shift know that they must prepare a shift training, the type, and the dates. Many times shifts miss trainings due to a call and each shift must make it up no matter what so multiple trainings are not uncommon. After shift training is project time giving each firefighter time to work on any project or responsibility given to them. Remember the shift trainings? This is the time for the firefighters to work on them. Other responsibilities include fire inspections, fire prevention, pre-plans, safety officer, quartermaster, map books, this website, and many, many more. Firefighters are also allowed one hour of fitness time either at 7am or 4pm whichever they choose, to stay in shape and healthy. At 5pm a firefighters day has ended and he is free to relax in the upstairs house area. Of course many continue to work usually surfing the internet for the latest in firefighting techniques to present at their next shift meeting. Dinner is again prepared by the firefighters and eaten quickly on Tuesday evenings. At 7pm on Tuesday evenings is when the part time personnel come to the fire station for their training which usually lasts until 10pm and on duty firefighters are required to attend. Evenings also see CPR classes, EMT classes, continuing education classes, and firefighter classes throughout the week. After training most firefighters retire for the evening after making sure the station is locked, dishes are washed and training materials and room are put back to normal. Firefighters are required to awaken by 6:45am making sure all the clean dishes are put away and the garbage is taken out. At 7am the process begins all over again. Oh yeah I left out the calls averaging anywhere from six to twenty per day, did you say they weren't busy?
All full time firefighters are required to become an Illinois state certified paramedic. This allows all full time firefighters to run both fire and emergency medical calls. Part time employees are required to become a state certified EMT-B but many go on to become paramedics. Paramedics and EMT-B’s are certified in the Condell Medical Center EMS system along with 6 other area fire departments. Paramedics are trained in the latest procedures and can treat everything from a sprained ankle to a patient in full cardiac arrest.
Grayslake has a very active fire department and responded to exactly 3,235 calls in 2011. That’s an average of almost 9 calls per day. Approximately 70% of all the calls were for an ambulance with the majority of the patients transported to Condell Hospital in Libertyville. The remaining calls were for Structure Fires, activated alarm systems, aid to other departments and other miscellaneous types. Ambulance calls generally run 1—1 1/2 hours from the time of the call until they are back in the station.
No, the Grayslake Fire department has a 24 square mile district including Grayslake, Wildwood, Gages lake, Third Lake and portions of Round Lake Park, Round Lake Beach, Hainesville, Highland Lake and Fremont Township. The district has approximately 30,000 residents.
Thanks to an aggressive public education campaign, the number of structure fires has significantly decreased over the years even though the number of residents has quadrupled in the last decade in Grayslake alone. In 2011 the Grayslake Fire Department had 16 structure fires ranging from small one room fires to fully involved structures. Along with the structure fires in our own district, we also assist other neighbor fire departments with help. The Grayslake Fire Department has agreements with Gurnee and Round Lake Fire Departments sending a vehicle automatically to their town for any reported structure fires. Grayslake responds automatically to Gurnee for fires reported on the west side of the tollway and to Round Lake for any reported fires on the east side of Cedar Lake Road. We also receive the same help by receiving an automatic engine from Gurnee for reported fires east of Atkinson Road and from Round Lake for the West side. This ensures adequate personnel for a manpower intensive operation. We still have a long way to go to eliminate the threat of fire destroying homes in our district but you can bet we’ll keep working toward that goal.
Grayslake is a member of MABAS Division 4. MABAS stands for Mutual Aid Box Alarm System. This system was designed and set up throughout Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin and is now quickly being adopted throughout the mid-west because of it's success. This system consists of different areas which are broken up into different divisions. Each department must submit cards to their division and each fire department. These cards contain different levels of alarms starting with a still alarm then a box alarm increasing to 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and finally 5th. Each level has pre assigned types of vehicles from other fire departments which would respond if any of the levels of box alarms are activated. There are different types of box cards for structure fires, Hazardous Materials, Ambulances, Water and ice rescue, Brush Fires, and Technical Rescue (Structural Collapse, Trench Rescue, Confined Space Rescue & High Angle Rescue). If an incident exceeds a fifth alarm, command has the option to tap into resources in other divisions, this is called an interdivisional box. With one call, Grayslake Incident Command has access to a nearly unlimited amount of resources.
The Grayslake Fire Department is always aware of the manpower situation in their town and adjust accordingly. If the crews happen to be out on calls, part time and off duty firefighter / EMT’s get called to come in and cover the fire station for additional calls. For the larger box alarms discussed previously, the box cards are automatically set up for change of quarters companies. If Grayslake activates any box alarm, an ambulance, fire engine and chief automatically respond to our fire station to cover any additional calls. These companies, also trained in using the MABAS box system, have the same unlimited resources available to them.
The Grayslake Fire Department is set up to run any type of medical call with any one of its ambulances or two of its engines which are advanced life support equipped. If the ambulance gets called for an unresponsive subject not breathing, an engine is automatically dispatched to assist the ambulance in its resuscitation efforts. Since the people on the engine are also paramedics the patient receives superb and timely care. These advanced life support engines can also remain available to run either a fire call or another rescue call since it is equipped for both. If the engine crew also happens to be out training or returning from another call, it can respond quickly if it happens to be close, and give all care needed while an ambulance responds.
Each firefighter must complete the Illinois Firefighter 2 state certification. This class is put on by the Northwest Training Cooperative which consists of qualified instructors from area fire departments. This class is held at a number of different fire departments in our area including Grayslake. Each firefighter learns about the equipment, how to use it and different tactics and strategies to fighting fires. Most of all they learn safety for themselves and any victims. After class is completed they are required to go through live burn downs. These are dilapidated homes or buildings that are being destroyed by the property owner. Fires are set in different rooms and the new firefighters must attack and extinguish the fires. These burn downs are also done by departments whenever the opportunity presents itself to provide valuable training to the new firefighters as well as the veteran firefighters. Grayslake firefighters also receive much experience through the fires in their district and also from fires in other towns when Grayslake is called to assist.
Firefighters often say that if an incident isn't properly handled initially, that the whole incident usually goes downhill from there. Unfortunately the fire service has learned this from experience and now responding to any type of incident that might threaten life or property is done with adequate manpower and equipment. Many crews need to be established at the onset of a fire including Incident command, fire attack, search and rescue, and ventilation. Ambulances also respond for any possible victims or injuries to firefighters. Each crew consists of a minimum of three firefighters which are assigned to one vehicle. Small one room fires can usually be handled by three vehicles but as the size of the incident grows, so does the need for more equipment. If an incident is deemed a false alarm or a lesser amount of equipment is needed, then incident command has the option to return the equipment back to the station. This is why you may see a fire truck driving full lights and sirens and then turn off their emergency lights while still driving.
People often mistake the fact that fire districts follow city borders. This is simply not true. Fire districts have changed over the years creating very different borders from the main cities they protect today. This also holds true for other taxing districts such as school districts, library districts and park districts just to name a few. Due to the needs of the Greater Round Lake Fire Protection District the need arose to have a fire station on the east side of the Rollins road railroad tracks. Because of this need the Round Lake Fire Protection District purchased property on the south side of Hook drive just east of Route 83. Although their Fire Station #3 is in the Round Lake Fire Protection District, much of the neighborhood across the street is actually in the Grayslake Fire Protection District. The Grayslake Fire Protection District recognized the opportunity to dramatically lower response times to those residents without spending tax dollars to build redundant protection. With the cooperation of both fire protection districts, an automatic agreement was established. This agreement allowed the Round Lake Fire Protection District to respond automatically with the Grayslake Fire Protection District when an emergency call is received anywhere north of Shorewood road. This agreement gives much better service to all residents located around the Greater Round Lake Fire Station #3. These types of cooperative responses familiarize each department with the other and that relationship is important when help is needed from either fire department.
A.R.A. stands for Automatic Response Agreement. These are agreements by neighboring fire districts to send equipment to each others towns for certain types of calls. For reported structure fires, an engine is dispatched automatically from either Gurnee or Round Lake. The department responding is chosen by the area where the fire is reported. All fires on the east side of Atkinson road receive a Gurnee engine and the west side receive an engine from Round Lake. Grayslake also responds to reported fires in Gurnee on the west side of the tollway and to Round Lake on the east side of Cedar Lake Road. These agreements insure proper initial staffing at these manpower intensive operations and familiarize each department with the other. This is important since Lake County fire departments rely so heavily on each other. These agreements are also in place for other types of calls. Below is a list of some of the additional ARA's Grayslake currently has in place.
When responding to an emergency call, it is important for fire engines and ambulances to respond as quick as possible. Although sometimes annoying to our residents, it is a state vehicle code that these vehicles must have emergency lights and sirens sounding for the safety of the person calling for assistance, the motorists, and the crew responding.
The state vehicle code states these vehicles must have both emergency lights and sirens sounding in the event life, property or the environment is in immediate jeopardy. When the fire department is called to assist a resident, training, or returning from a call, the emergency lights and sirens are not activated. Crews also try to minimize siren usage during light traffic conditions where it is safe however intersections are always hazardous and usually require all devices be activated.