The Village of Niles, incorporated in 1899, is located adjacent to the city of Chicago, 15 miles northwest of downtown, eight miles northeast of O'Hare Airport, and seven miles west of Lake Michigan. The fire department was organized in 1910 and used a chemical pump and two hose wagons. The first custom pumper was purchased in 1936 from Pirsch. The department has operated a free ambulance service to residents since 1946. The first full-time firemen were hired in 1947.

Over 29,000 people live in six square miles of the village, but due to the strong industrial and commercial base, day-time population rises to over 100,000. The village is home to more than 150 national and international corporations and over 600 retail and service centers. The Niles Fire Department (NFD) currently maintains a Class 3 ISO rating.

​Fire Chief
Steve Borkowski was appointed fire chief in May of 2011. He has been with the department for 31 years. He had been serving the department in the capacity of deputy chief since 2006. The NFD has 49 sworn personnel and two civilians. This includes:
  • 1 chief
  • 3 district chiefs
  • 9 lieutenants
  • 9 engineers
  • 27 firefighters / paramedics
  • 1 administrative aide
  • 1 clerical support personnel
There are two divisions: fire prevention and fire suppression / emergency medical services. The two divisions are housed in two fire stations. The department was one of the first in the area to utilize at its major intersections the Opticom traffic control system; now, the system is installed at most intersections in the village.

Targeted Hazards
There are two large shopping malls. Golf Mill was built in 1959, and was the first major mall built in the Chicagoland area and is now enclosed. The second, Village Crossing, was a joint venture with the neighboring village of Skokie. There are also eight smaller shopping centers and several strip malls, eight nursing homes / homes for the aged, along with several residential and office high-rises and a large industrial area. 

Statistical Data
​Niles Fire Department firefighters work in a three platoon system, with 24-hour shifts, and 48 hours off, for a total of 50 hours weekly. All members are trained through a regional training academy to state level Basic (Firefighter II), Hazardous Material Operations, and Technical Rescue Awareness Certifications. All new recruits are also required to be paramedics. Companies attend four mutual aid, multi-company drills a year, along with department single and multi-company drills, and annual evaluations at the Station 2 training tower, including two annual night drills. All paramedics have monthly continuing education requirements.

During 2012, NFD responded to 6,245 alarms: 4,023 were EMS and 2,222 were fire / rescue in nature. The estimated loss due to fire damage in 2012 was $477,731. The budget for 2013 is $11,819,150.

Read about the 2009 Niles Fire Department annual report online.