Fire Department

Fire Department
185 W. Sauk Trail
South Chicago Heights, IL 60411

Welcome to the Fire Department page of the Village of South Chicago Heights web site. The South Chicago Heights fire department is located at 185 W. Sauk Trail with the Police Department in the Public Safety Building. The department operates with a minimum of two (2) personnel on duty 24/7/365 who are trained in Emergency Medicine, Firefighting, Rescue, and a host of other emergency response duties. The duty crew is supported by a network of 12 part-time/paid-on-call fire fighters, to assist with staffing one (1) fully equipped paramedic ambulance, one (1) basic life support ambulance, and two (2) fire engines.

Our mission is really quite simple, Save Lives and Protect Property in a professional and compassionate manner. We complete that mission through weekly in house training and frequent outside training classes. The Fire Department is part of the SilverCross Emergency Medical System which required all of our staff to maintain monthly continuing education hours in emergency medicine.

The Bureau of Fire Prevention is responsible for preventing fires through enforcing fire prevention codes and educate the citizens in fire safety. The Bureau conducts annual inspections of all businesses in the community and offers free non-binding home fire inspections to all residents. Please call us at 755-9589 Monday - Friday 8am - 4pm to schedule an appointment.

During any given day we may respond to a gas leak, assist a citizen during a heart attack, help someone at a traffic accident, or give a group of children a tour of the new fire station. We work 24 hours in a row so you might see us shopping for food or putting fuel in the ambulance. It is not unusual for us to sit down for a meal and end up eating an hour later because someone needed our help. It is not unusual to be interrupted during a bathroom break to respond to an ambulance request. No matter if it is 2PM or 2AM we are there to help you during the worst time of your day. That is how any given day may go. . . and we wouldn’t change a thing!

We see ourselves as the luckiest people around because of this rewarding profession we get to participate in. Some of us have been doing this for over 4 decades and still enjoy it. Stop by the fire station any day and check out your fire department, look around, ask questions, and bring the kids. You never know you might get interested in the best job around. . . If you have what it takes!

In case of emergency: Dial 9-1-1

Non-Emergency contact: 708-755-9589

Questions can be directed to Chief Gericke at pgericke@southchicagoheights.com or Assistant Chief Vlietstra at: cvlietstra@southchicagoheights.com


Fire Chief: Pat Gericke

Pat GerickeChief Gericke has been with the South Chicago Heights Fire Department since 2012. He served on the Matteson Fire Department from 1971 – 2011 starting as a Cadet and retiring as the Fire Chief. He has served as Chief of the Lombard Fire Department, Algonquin Lake-in-the-Hills Fire Protection District, and the Palos Fire Protection District. Chief Gericke is certified by the Commission for Professional Credentialing as a Chief Fire Officer and holds a Masters of Public Administration Degree. He and his wife Debbie reside in Oak Forest.

To contact the Fire Chief, you can email him at pgericke@southchicagoheights.com.

Public Education

We are here to provide professional fire, life safety, industrial fire training and other related services to the residents, property owners and managers of occupancies within the Village of South Chicago Heights. We strive to be the best and our Public Education Coordinator organizes all fire prevention programs taught or represented throughout the community. The education taught in our grade schools and community is the most current standards available through the National Fire Protection Association.

Additionally, we conduct an annual Open House to invite the community in and tour the department. We supply a range of informational brochures in the realm of life and property safety. We invite you to come tour the facility and get to know the staff.

Finally, the South Chicago Heights Firefighter's Association hosts an annual Car Show to help raise money for continuing education and training as well as assisting the Village with vehicle and equipment purchases. If you have any questions about Public Education or would like to schedule an event, you can email the Public Education Coordinator Kristina Roszak at: kroszak@southchicagoheights.com.

Fire Safety:

What every member of the family should know about escaping a fire:

  • Know all possible escape routes from each room of the house.
  • Stay close to the floor, breath via a wet cloth, breathe short breaths.
  • Don't open a door that is hot, feel it first!
  • Keep doors and windows closed.
  • Have a group meeting place established outside the house.
  • Never re-enter a burning building.
  • Call 911 as soon as you can.


Fire Safety Website for Kids


The Training Committee is responsible for the implementation of safety standards and the on-going training within our department and our surrounding communities. The Training Committee strives to accomplish the mission of the department by delivering quality training and safety programs in a cost-effective manner to comply with established laws, regulations and standards. Training is a critical function for any modern fire service agency. Our goal for the Training Committee is to provide leadership for the continued advancement of public safety training and education, increase firefighter safety, and enhance customer service within the community.

Every Tuesday night year-round, the Fire Department performs training at the station or at our surrounding Fire Departments stations or training facilities. Our training is also completed with Prairie State College, St. James Hospital Silver Cross Hospital, South Suburban Hospital, Ingalls Hospital and the Illinois Fire Service Institute. If you have any questions on training or in becoming a part-time/paid-on-call firefighter, you can email Assistant Chief Chad Vlietstra at: cvlietstra@southchicagoheights.com.

Department Memberships

The Village Fire Department are members of the following:

  • International Fire Chiefs Association
  • Illinois Fire Chiefs Association
  • MABAS 27
  • MABAS 24
  • NFPA
  • Illinois Fire Inspectors Association
  • Cook County Fire Chiefs Association
  • Metro Chiefs Fire Association
  • Illinois Fire Instructors Association


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