People holding up a ribbon during a ribbon cutting for a fire station

A suburban Chicago fire department has opened a smaller satellite station within a senior living community in an effort to cut response times.

The Lincolnwood Fire Department opened Station 45, an emergency medical service station, in January at The Carrington at Lincolnwood — an independent living, assisted living and memory care community in Lincolnwood, IL, to reduce response times to the community and the surrounding area.

The station houses an ambulance bay and living quarters for two paramedics. It also serves residents and businesses in the east end of the city, Lincolnwood Town Center Mall, and Lincolnwood Place, a nearby assisted living community. Lincolnwood Fire Chief Michael Hansen told the Chicago Tribune that the immediate response times for Carrington residents is a significant benefit. 

Initially, the station will be staffed from 6:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. Hansen said he wants to get a year of data before making any changes. Emergency services will come from the village’s main station during the remaining part of the day.

The satellite station was a goal for South Bay Partners LLC and LAMB Properties, which own Carrington at Lincolnwood. They proposed the setup during a pitch for the community to the village.

“To my knowledge, it is a new idea,” Carrington Executive Director Tom Whitaker told the media outlet. “In the independent living (facility), we have a nurse who is here full time, but knowing that we have that support overnight is great. If there is an emergency and 911 is called, they can come right around to the front entrance of the community, they have emergency keys and it takes under a minute to get to the front door.”

Hansen said the fire department has a good partnership with the community and said there are discussions about providing mobile integrated healthcare. He told the Tribune that he believes that Lincolnwood is the first town in the area to station paramedics so close to assisted living communities, which generate a “fair number of calls for emergency services.”

Lincoln Towers

Officials in Wilmington, DE, went one step further when they partnered with the Wilmington Housing Authority to combine an affordable senior housing community with a neighborhood fire station all in one building.

Lincoln Towers, an 88-unit affordable housing community for older adults that opened in 2013, also houses Fire Station #5. The joint venture replaced an outdated public housing building at the site, and an aging fire station down the street that was built in 1893.

The facility was built using high-energy, efficient systems and materials, making it one of the city’s premier green buildings.