Emergency Medical Service

All Arlington Heights firefighters are trained as Emergency Medical Technicians. Fifty-one firefighters have received advanced training and are licensed Paramedics prepared to deliver basic and advanced life support services to the residents of the Village 24 hours a day.  The Department has six ambulances and four specialized rescue squads. Following assessment and treatment, patients are transported to Northwest Community Hospital or, in special circumstances, to other area hospitals. 

When to Call 9-1-1

When you dial 9-1-1 in Arlington Heights, you are connected with the Northwest Central Dispatch System, located in the Village, which dispatches fire and police personnel and equipment in response to calls. When dialing 9-1-1, people often encounter a delay of several seconds before they hear the phone ringing at the dispatch center. This silence is not indicative of a problem but is a normal component of the 9-1-1 system called "setup time." It is important to remain on the line and not cause an additional delay in getting help by hanging up and redialing. 

Call 9-1-1 immediately if you, or someone you are with, experiences d
ifficulty breathing; pain or pressure in the chest or upper abdomen which can include: pressure, fullness, squeezing sensation or pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, pain that spreads to the shoulders, neck, jaw, arms or back, chest pain accompanied by dizziness, fainting, sweating, nausea or shortness of breath; fainting; sudden dizziness, weakness or change in vision; change in mental status (confusion, unusual behavior); sudden, severe pain anywhere in the body; uncontrolled bleeding; severe or persistent vomiting; coughing up or vomiting blood; and/or suicidal feelings.

If these, or other severe symptoms present themselves, dial 9-1-1. The dispatcher will ask pertinent questions to ascertain the specific nature of the problem and help provide appropriate intervention until the Paramedics arrive. Do not hang up until the dispatcher instructs you to do so.

Before the Ambulance Arrives

After you have called 9-1-1, there are some things you can do before help arrives... 

If you determine that the patient is pulseless and not breathing, begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), but only if you have been trained in this life-saving technique (All of the dispatchers at Northwest Central Dispatch are certified Emergency Medical Dispatchers and can provide CPR instructions over the phone until the Paramedics arrive.)

Stay calm. This will reassure the patient that help is on the way.

If possible, gather all the medication the patient may be taking. This will help the emergency service providers better determine the medical history of the patient.

If possible, move all furniture or obstacles out of the way so that the Paramedics have easy access to the patient. Secure pets in another area of the house.

If possible, assist the arriving Paramedics by turning on the outside lights and having someone standing at the curb to direct them. This is especially important in multi-unit buildings or remote locations.