Frequently Asked Questions

If your question isn't listed below, feel free to Contact Us! 

Do you inspect child car safety seats?

We do! We offer safety seat checks at no cost to the public. Visit our Child Safety Seat page.

What does it mean when my smoke detector emits a small beep every few minutes?

The “chirping” noise you hear usually means your batteries are starting to run low. Replace them as soon as possible. Batteries should be replaced at least once per year and the entire smoke alarm should be replaced every 10 years.

The alarm on my carbon monoxide detector just went off, what do I do?

If your CO detector goes off and you feel ill, leave the house immediately and call 9-1-1. If you don't feel ill, push your detector's reset button. If the alarm goes off again after a few minutes, open the windows, leave the house and call 9-1-1.

Why do firefighters break windows and cut holes in roofs when the fire is inside a building?

It may appear that by breaking windows or cutting holes in roofs cause more damage than the actual fire. However, internal building fires create a lot of heat and smoke and firefighters must remove the heat and smoke before they can get close enough to put out the fire. Heat and smoke rise, so cutting a hole in the roof and breaking out windows in planned locations force smoke to vent upwards, allowing cool air to enter the building from below. This is called “ventilation”. This also improves visibility and lowers heat conditions for the firefighters inside, allowing them to quickly and safely extinguish the fire. Heat and smoke can cause extensive damage; ventilation will actually reduce overall damage to a building and contents.

When I called for an ambulance, why did an ambulance from another town show up?

Our fire/rescue district has mutual aid agreements with many neighboring towns so that calls are handled expeditiously. During the course of a day it is not unusual for two or three calls for an ambulance to come in at the same time. If all of Woodstock's ambulances are busy, one from the next available town will be dispatched. The mutual aid agreements work both ways; therefore, Woodstock ambulances can be dispatched to the other municipalities.

Why does a fire engine come when I call for an ambulance?

A fire apparatus will sometimes arrive at an incident first because it is the closest emergency unit to the scene, and we are committed to getting help to your location as fast as possible. All WFRD firefighters are crossed trained as firefighters and EMT’s or paramedics. Since there are only three ambulances in our district, firefighters may also respond to calls involving life-threatening symptoms. They initiate treatment to stabilize patients and provide information to the paramedics responding to the call so they will be aware of any additional advanced life support equipment that will be needed on the scene

Why do so many fire trucks respond to an incident?

We have designated response plans that determine the amount and type of equipment that is sent to each emergency incident. The Incident Command has the authority to request additional units beyond the basic response plan or to disregard incoming units depending on the incident type.

What kind of fire extinguisher should I keep in my home?

Homeowners should have an extinguisher that can handle Class A-B-C fires. The ABC extinguisher is designed to extinguish fires that most commonly occur in homes.

Can I have a bonfire or recreational fire on my property?

With our district covering 90 square miles, the specific burn ordinance will depend on where you live (City of Woodstock, Village of Bull Valley, or unincorporated McHenry County). Visit our Open Burning page for more information.

Why do firefighters take the fire engine to buy groceries?

To ensure the most effective service at the time of an emergency, our crews must remain with their designated vehicles during their entire shift. Our crews work 24-hour shifts and meals are not provided by the District. Personnel on each shift must purchase their own food and prepare their own meals, so they may make a daily trip to the grocery store to buy whatever they need to prepare their meals for the entire shift. Very often, our firefighters and paramedics spend long periods of their day running calls, without returning to the station or stopping to eat, and they frequently have to return to the grocery store several times to finish purchasing food that they might not get a chance to cook during the shift.

Can I dispose of sharps at the fire house? What about old/unused meds?

We do not accept sharps (syringes, hypodermic needles, epi-pens or lancets) at any of our 3 WFRD stations. Our friends at the Woodstock Police Department have a kiosk in their lobby, which is open 24/7/365, where you can safely dispose any old/unused medications.