Fire Department

Frequently Asked Questions

Here you will find questions that are frequently asked of the Schererville Fire Department. If there is a question you are curious about not on the list, please contact one of the members of the Schererville Fire Department staff via the directory page and, if enough people are curious about this, we will permanently add your question to the FAQ. If you are having trouble locating a specific piece of information please use the search tool at the top of any page

Fire Department Questions

Questions & Answers

How many people work for the Fire Department?

The Fire Department has a total of 66 employees.

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Do we have volunteer firefighters?

The Fire Department no longer has volunteer members. All of the members are either full time or part time employees of the Town of Schererville. All members must go through the same physical agility testing to work for the Schererville Fire Department. Almost all part time employees work full time for other area fire departments.

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Does the Fire Department offer CPR and/or First-Aid Classes to the public?

The fire department offers CPR classes occasionally throughout the year. Contact Deputy Chief Patterson at 219-322-2599, ext. 5302 or email at rpatterson@schererville.org for more information.

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Can I get my blood pressure taken at the firehouse?

There are medical personnel on duty at the fire station that are glad to help you with a blood pressure check or any other EMS issue that you might have.

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Why do your fire trucks use lights and sirens, even in the middle of the night when there is no traffic?

The purpose of emergency warning equipment is to let drivers and pedestrians know that an emergency vehicle is on the way to an emergency. By state law, we do have certain privileges extended to us. Some of those being; to proceed through controlled intersections without stopping or to travel against the designated flow of traffic. All of these privileges have rules that the state legislation and our department policies put on the drivers of these emergency vehicles. The main rule of safety is that all traffic is aware of us responding even in the middle of the night.

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Why do I see fire trucks from neighboring communities in Schererville on calls?

The Schererville Fire Department has mutual aid agreements with all of the departments in Lake County. This agreement provides for the closest fire engines, trucks and ambulances to respond in the event of an emergency and when additional resources are needed. The National Fire Protection Association recommends that for every structure fire that there be a minimum of 18 firefighters on scene within 8 minutes.

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I saw a Schererville fire truck at a local grocery store and some of the firefighters were inside shopping for food or I saw the trucks sitting outside a local restaurant. Why do firefighters use fire trucks for non-emergency purposes while they are on duty?

To ensure the most effective service at the time of an emergency, our crews must remain in their designated response territory with their fire trucks and ambulances during their entire shift. Our crews work 24-hour shifts with no scheduled breaks, and meals are not provided by the Town. Personnel on each shift must purchase their own food and prepare their own meals, so they usually make a daily trip to the grocery store to buy whatever they need to prepare their meals for the entire shift. Fire and Medic crews do not have to be sitting in the fire station to be dispatched to a call. Since all personnel maintain constant radio contact with Fire Communications and the entire crew must always be together with their truck, they are always ready to respond to any emergency, regardless of their current location or non-emergency assignment. 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. Occasionally, the fire and medic crews will opt to patronize a local restaurant in Schererville when their duties exceed any food preparation time. Once again, they remain on-duty in the event of an alarm.

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Why does a fire engine come when I only requested an ambulance?

All firefighters in Schererville are cross-trained to provide emergency medical services as well as firefighting duties. A fire truck will generally respond to all calls involving life-threatening symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, chest pains, severe bleeding and all motor vehicle crashes in order to assist the ambulance crew. In many medical situations it takes more than two personnel to tend to a victim. For example, if a person fell and needed to be immobilized, it takes a minimum of three personnel to properly perform this task. Additionally, when the ambulance transports to the hospital, the fire truck still has paramedics on board and paramedic equipment to respond to a new call for assistance.

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Why is there a charge to be taken to the hospital? Don’t my taxes cover that?

You are correct that your taxes are supporting the ambulance service. Tax monies are utilized to assure that the services are available and that we have firefighters and paramedics available in Schererville 365 days a year. Your taxes also help cover the cost of the operating and maintenance of facilities and equipment associated with the emergency services but do not cover all of those costs. The ambulance fee is a user fee which goes directly to support the ambulance service. Never use this fee in making a decision to call us in an emergency, your health and safety is priceless! Our office manager spends a great deal of time assisting residents with insurance filing and payment considerations. We want to make sure that our citizens are properly cared for in their time of need and advise our patients that the billing will be handled at a later time.

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Why do you send so many fire vehicles to a fire, especially a small fire?

There are a number of specialized roles that firefighters undertake on a fire call, and it is necessary to have enough firefighters on the scene of an incident. Firefighting is a very labor intensive activity. If you get behind because there are not enough firefighters on the call, it is more difficult to extinguish a fire quickly. Also, adverse weather conditions can certainly play a role as well. The basic philosophy is to have more than enough firefighters on scene.

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Can I burn leaves or brush in my yard?

No. The Town of Schererville has an ordinance against residential open burning. The state also has an ordinance against residential open burning in Lake County. This is an “air quality” issue, rather than a fire protection issue; however the fire department will become involved if a complaint is made to our 911 center.

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How can I get a smoke detector from the Fire Department? Will you change the batteries?

If you have a question or concern regarding installation of your own smoke alarm, please contact Battalion Chief Howe at 219-322-2599, ext. 5305 or bhowe@schererville.org. We will make every effort to assist you.

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Where should I place my smoke detectors?

Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your home and if possible, every room. Please visit: https://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/smoke_alarms.html for more information. If you have a question or concern regarding the placement of your own smoke alarm, please contact our Battalion Chief Howe at 219-322-2599, ext. 5305 bhowe@schererville.org. We will make every effort to assist you.

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What is Carbon Monoxide and how does it harm you?

Carbon monoxide, CO, is a tasteless, odorless, colorless, poisonous gas. It is a by-product of “incomplete combustion”. When a person inhales high levels of carbon monoxide for a long period of time, it displaces the oxygen in the blood causing the heart, brain, and other vital organs to be deprived of oxygen. Extended exposure to strong concentrations of carbon monoxide is life threatening. Loss of consciousness and suffocation may result without warning! Make sure your home has a detector! If you have a concern that you may have a Carbon Monoxide problem in your home or business, please exit the structure and call 911.

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How do I select a fire extinguisher?

There are four basic types of fires. Portable extinguishers are labeled so that the most appropriate extinguisher is chosen for use on a specific type of fire. Portable extinguishers are labeled using standard symbols for the classes of fires. A slash through any symbol means: “that certain extinguisher should not be used on that certain type of fire.” A mission symbol means: “that certain extinguisher has not been formally tested for a given class of fire”.

Multi-purpose extinguishers i.e. ABC, may be used successfully on all three types of fires:

  • CLASS A: Ordinary combustibles such as wood, cloth, and paper
  • CLASS B: Flammable liquids such as gasoline, oil, and oil-based paint
  • CLASS C: Energized electrical equipment – including wiring, fuse boxes, circuit breakers, machinery, and appliances
  • CLASS D: Flammable metals
  • Class K: It is used on synthetic cooking oils, and gets its identity as “K” from “KITCHEN”.

Always use the most appropriate extinguisher so that you don’t cause the fire to escalate (become worse) or endanger yourself or others. If you have a question about purchasing a fire extinguisher, please contact our Battalion Chief Howe at 219-322-2599, ext. 5305 or bhowe@schererville.org.

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Does the fire department service fire extinguishers?

No, the fire department does not service fire extinguishers. There are private fire protection companies that offer those services. They can be found in the phone book or internet search.

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Where can I purchase a fire extinguisher?

Portable fire extinguishers can be purchased at a wide variety of retail stores. Home improvement centers and hardware stores generally carry an adequate selection to choose from.

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Can I call the Fire Department to dispose of household hazardous materials?

No. The appropriate way to dispose of household hazardous materials is through the Lake County Hazardous Waste District. Visit http://www.lcswmd.com/ for a schedule and additional information.

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Will the fire department come to my home and fill my swimming pool?

No, the fire department is not permitted to fill swimming pools. There are private firms that can help you with that.

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When does the town test the severe weather alarm?

Sirens are activated/tested at 12:00 (noon) on the first Friday of every month. The only time the siren would not be tested as part of that program is if the weather conditions appear to be right for the generation of a tornado/severe weather. The Schererville Fire Department is a paid professional fire department and does not utilize the town sirens to notify firefighters of an incident.

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Do you have bingo or fish fry’s at the fire station?

No.

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How do I arrange a tour of a fire station?

Any group can schedule a tour of the fire station. Please call Office Manager Jamie Rossiano at 219-322-2599, ext. 5301 to schedule a tour. If any individual would like a tour, we encourage you to stop by. Please keep in mind that with all tours, the personnel are on-duty and in the event of an alarm they will need to respond.

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Do fire stations host birthday parties?

Unfortunately, we do not have the proper facilities to have birthday parties. While we are not able to accommodate birthday parties at the fire stations, we welcome groups to schedule a fire station tour. (See station tour information.) Also, during the summer months you can request a fire truck to stop by a birthday or block party. As above, keep in mind that the personnel are on-duty and in the event of an alarm they will need to respond. Please call Office Manager Jamie Rossiano at 219-322-2599, ext. 5301 to schedule.

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How can I get a copy of a fire incident or medical incident report?

You can arrange to receive an incident report by calling the Schererville Fire Department Office Manager Jamie Rossiano at 219-322-2599 ext. 5301. There is a fee of $5.00 for each report. Reports for medical incidents require the authorization of the individual patient or guardian and proof of relationship.

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Where can I go to have my child safety seat inspected or installed?

The Schererville Fire Department does not have a child safety seat installation and inspection program. We direct all of these requests to the Schererville Police Department at 219-322-5000 which maintains this program for the Town of Schererville.

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A fire truck came up behind me while driving and just laid on the air horn. Why are they so rude?

Indiana State law requires that motorists pull over to the right when designated emergency vehicles (fire trucks, ambulances and police units) are responding. That being said, many motorists either stop in the lane of traffic, pull to the left or completely ignore our warning devices. The driver of the emergency vehicle has a great responsibility to the residents and our personnel to use extreme safety measures when driving. If motorists DO NOT pull to the right to allow us to pass, it puts the driver as well as the crew in danger. The only device we have to let the motorist know to move is the air horn. In summary, please pull to the right when lights and sirens approach you from the rear and yield to the emergency vehicle.

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Why does a fire engine and ambulance come to do a fire inspection?

The Schererville Fire Department makes every attempt to provide annual fire inspections to our businesses and multi-family residential units. First, these inspections are conducted by on-duty personnel that must be ready to respond to an emergency call from the field. Second, an important part of the value of the public safety inspection is to familiarize your local firefighters with the buildings and business in Schererville. While they check for hazards and consult with business owners on how best to eliminate or minimize the likelihood of a fire, they also familiarize themselves with access points and the layout of the facility. Many inspections are conducted by a single Fire Inspector; however, the on-duty personnel may be called upon to assist.

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Why do you block traffic lanes at car accidents, sometimes more lanes than necessary?

We block traffic lanes for the safety of our personnel and our patients. Blocking extra lanes keep our personnel safe when they go back to our apparatus to get more equipment and help protect the victim we are trying to stabilize. Over 25 firefighters are killed or injured each year while working at incidents on streets and highways.

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Why am I not supposed to run over a fire hose?

Firefighters are very concerned about running over fire hoses because the hose can be damaged and any firefighter at the end of a nozzle will have the water interrupted, possibly resulting in injuries or death. Any hose that is driven over without protection has to be taken out of service and tested.

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How can I ask a question of the fire department?

If you ever have a question in regards to your safety, smoke detectors, open burning, or anything that we may be able to assist you with, we encourage you to call 219-322-2599 ext. 5303. You can also email Fire Chief Joe Kruzan at jkruzan@schererville.org.

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