Dear Resident: On behalf of the Fire Prevention Bureau and Fire Department, the following information packet is has been sent to help us help you.

In the Event of a Fire/Getting Out Alive:  It’s all about Exits and Alarms. Fire is dark, hot, and moves quickly, so you must have an escape plan. You have less than 3 or 4 minutes to get out before the smoke, temperatures, and carbon monoxide become unbearable.

Alarms: Smoke detectors are needed on each level of your home and especially outside of sleeping areas. They must work. Place them on the ceiling a minimum of 4 to 6 inches from the wall. Too many times the Fire Department has responded to a house without a working smoke detector.

Change your smoke detector batteries (and carbon monoxide detector batteries) when you change your clocks. Carbon monoxide detectors are a must. Having a minimum of one in each sleeping area; and, as prices have dropped, all levels of the house is a strong recommendation. Carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless. A malfunctioning appliance or a nest on top of a chimney can be deadly. Other alarms such as gas detectors are now available. If you smell gas, get out and call 911.  Specially designed detectors for the hearing or visually impaired are available for special situations.

Exits: Make a plan and do fire drills. Know at least two exits from each level of your home. Ensure that windows are operable and are big enough to get out of. A chain ladder may be needed for upper levels of your house. Practice setting up the ladder. I do not recommend that you practice going down it. (Save the practice for the fire safety trailer available at Monroe Day, the Oktoberfest, and all third grades during school hours. Basement sleeping is hazardous without an egress (escape window). Even a Bilco-type door can become covered with snow and will block your escape. 

Plan: All household members need to know how to get out independently. Some fire drills should be conducted during sleeping hours and can help to determine family members that have a hard time or are slow to wake up. Use a spare smoke detector by holding down the test button to simulate a real fire. A flashlight by your bedside may be helpful, as fire is dark. Determine a meeting place such as a neighbor’s front door or a tree in the front yard (away from the house). You can then determine any missing people and direct firemen.

Escape:  When the alarm sounds, wake up household members and get out and stay out! Do not waste time getting valuables. If you see fire or heavy smoke or if the doorknob is hot, use a different way to get out.  If you must turn around and use a bedroom window, use the escape ladder (climb down facing the ladder) or go out feet first facing the house, hang and drop. If you must go through smoke, stay low by crawling under the smoke. That’s where the cool air is. The difference may save your life.  Go to the meeting place and do not go back inside for any reason. Call from the neighbor’s house or meeting place, not inside the burning building. Always call 911, even for the smallest fire that you thought you put completely out. The fire department can check behind the wall electronically for heat (not an axe) for any additional or extension of the fire.

Selling or Renting Your House?
Your house must be inspected before you close if you are moving or before a renter can move in and any subsequent change of occupancy. You must have a smoke detector on each level of your house as well as a carbon monoxide detector. As a result of a recently adopted law, you must also have a fire extinguisher. The requirements are:

  1. At least one portable fire extinguisher shall be installed in all one-and-two-family detached dwellings upon change of occupancy;
  2. The extinguisher shall be listed, labeled, charged, and operable;
  3. The size shall be no smaller than 2A:10B:C and no larger than 10lbs;
  4. Must use hangers, or in brackets supplied by the manufacturer;
  5. Within 10 feet of the kitchen area;
  6. Located with the top of the extinguisher not more than 5’ above the floor;
  7. Visible and in a readily-accessible spot, free from blocking by furniture, storage, equipment and other items;
  8. Near a room exit or travel way that provides an escape route to the exterior;
  9. Accompanied by an owner’s manual or written information regarding the operation, inspection, and maintenance of the extinguisher; and
  10. Installed so the operation instructions shall be clearly visible.

Stop by the Fire House (located on Harrison Ave. near Woodland School) for details, pick up an application, and schedule an inspection.

Fire Prevention Tips are attached. Please read them and take a tour of your home. Call if you have any questions.

Further: Free Voluntary Home Fire Inspections
The Bureau is starting a new program of Home Fire Safety Inspections in an effort to reduce the amount of residential fires. The free inspection will be conducted in the evening hours by licensed fire inspectors. Call to set up an appointment.

Special Program for homes with fire alarms monitored by an outside alarm company:  For homes that have a smoke detector and burglar alarm system, the Bureau is offering a program where the homeowner can purchase a safe-like box (called a Knox Box) to be cemented into your house, wired to the burglar alarm, that contains a set of keys to get into your house in the event of a fire or alarm activation. This allows us to gain rapid entry without taking an axe to your door. This not only reduces damage but also allows us to re-lock the door in the event of a false alarm without you having to leave work. In the event of a fire, rescuing people and pets is accomplished much quicker. Again, call the office for details.