The Fire Education Section is responsible for fire prevention education and outreach services. The section is composed of a Fire Prevention Coordinator who oversees all education efforts with children, schools, preschools, teachers and day care providers as well as a variety of educational and outreach efforts for the business, residential, and targeted high-risk communities.
How Citizens Use the Fire Department Each Day
The Raleigh Fire Department responds to over 100 calls on average each day. It could be a house fire, chest pains, a gas leak, a vehicle accident, or any other type of emergency. Firefighters are on duty 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Their average response time is less than five minutes from the time of dispatch.
In addition to emergency response, Raleigh Fire Department provides many other services to keep residents safe and prevent fires:
- Inspect businesses to ensure compliance with fire codes
- Work with building planners to ensure new structures are fire safe
- Provide free blood pressure checks at all fire stations
- Members work at accident prevention
- Full-time Fire Educator talks to the community about fire safety, and teaches children about the dangers of playing with fire
The department provides an emergency response bicycle team that is deployed to large public gatherings such as First Night or the July 4th Celebration. These members provide rapid medical care within large crowds that enhance response times.
Each day the citizens of the Capitol City call upon the Raleigh Fire Department for a wide variety of public safety functions. Our staff is always ready to address the needs of the citizenry of Raleigh through public fire education events, the citizens fire academy, and free smoke detector installation.
The Raleigh Fire Department, in a collaborative effort with Family and Children Services, provides fire stations as Safe Place Sites.
Safe Place Sites are locations where young adults go when they are experiencing some type of emergency crisis. Each fire station designated as a Safe Place Site has trained fire fighters on-site to assist individuals who may be in a crisis situation. Fire stations that are designated Safe Place Sites display a logo sign on the exterior front entrance.
When young adults visit the local fire station seeking assistance, fire fighters will attempt to comfort them while contacting a Safe Place volunteer. The Safe Place volunteer will respond to the fire station within minutes of the request.
Fire Safety Tips
In less than 30 seconds a small flame can get completely out of control and turn into a major fire.
It only takes minutes for a house to fill with thick black smoke and become engulfed in flames.
If there is a fire in your home or building you should leave immediately. Do not waste any time saving property.
Check closed doors for heat before you open them by using the back of your hand to feel the top of the door, the doorknob, and the crack between the door and door frame before you open it. Never use the palm of your hand or fingers to test for heat - burning those areas could impair your ability to escape a fire (i.e., ladders and crawling).
Do not open a Hot Door. Escape through a window. If you cannot escape, hang a white or light-colored sheet outside the window, alerting fire fighters to your presence.
If the door feels cool, brace your shoulder against the door and open it slowly. If heat and smoke come in, slam the door and make sure it is securely closed, then use your alternate escape route such as a window. If clear, leave immediately through the door and close it behind you.
- Crawl low under any smoke to your exit - heavy smoke and poisonous gases collect first along the ceiling. The air is clearer and cooler near the floor.
- Keep your mouth covered. The toxic gases from the smoke can disorient you.
- If your clothes catch on fire, you should stop, drop, and roll - until the fire is extinguished. Running only makes the fire burn faster.
- Close doors behind you as you escape to delay the spread of the fire.
- If you are trapped in a burning building, stay near a window and close to the floor and, if possible, signal for help.
- Stay out once you are safely out. Do not reenter.
- Call 9-1-1 when you are safely out.
It is illegal to burn trash or debris in the city of Raleigh. The only types of fires that are permitted are fires used for heating or cooking. These allowable fires cannot exceed 3 feet in height or 2 feet in diameter. The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources prohibits the burning of leaves or yard debris where curbside collection is available. The City of Raleigh offers curbside collection of yard waste.
While the Raleigh Fire Department discourages open burning, if you do decide to have a small warming fire please be sure to take the following steps:
- Make sure the fire pit or fire is 25 feet from any structure;
- Make sure the fire is constantly attended;
- Have a method for extinguishment such as a fire extinguisher or water hose available for immediate use; and,
- Be aware that fire code officials can order certain fires to be extinguished, such as those that create objectionable odors or smoke or when local conditions make these fires hazardous.
For complete open burning regulations please refer to the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Division of Air Quality.
Smoking materials are the leading cause of fire deaths in the United States. The majority of smoking material related fires that end in injury or death started in the living room or bedroom. As such, people are encouraged to smoke outdoors. However, smoking outdoors also carries the risk of unintentional fires. Here are tips for handling cigarettes and other smoking materials:
- Use deep, sturdy ashtrays and don't discard butts and ashes in flower pots or a bucket;
- Make sure the smoking material is extinguished all the way before returning inside. It may be necessary to douse the ashtray with water;
- Before discarding the butts or ashes into the trash can, again check to make sure they are out;
- Check under furniture cushions and in other places people smoke for cigarette butts that may have fallen out of sight;
- Keep matches and lighters out of the reach and sight of children;
- Never smoke in a home where oxygen is being used; and,
- If you smoke, choose fire-safe cigarettes as they are less likely to cause fires. A fire-safe cigarette has a reduced propensity to burn when left unattended. The most common fire-safe technology used by cigarette manufacturers is to wrap cigarettes with two or three thin bands of less-porous paper that act as "speed bumps" to slow down a burning cigarette. If a fire-safe cigarette is left unattended, the burning tobacco will reach one of these speed bumps and self-extinguish.