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Welcome to the Fire Services Division.

This Division will provide you with great information that can help you in any fire emergency situation. Our goal is to educate you with fire protection and prevention that can keep you and others around you safe.

In remembrance of all those that we lost on September 11, 2001

Fire Facts

Fire in the United States

  • The U.S. has one of the highest fire death rates in the industrialized world. For 1998, the U.S. fire death rate was 14.9 deaths per million population.
  • Between 1994 and 1998, an average of 4,400 Americans lost their lives and another 25,100 were injured annually as the result of fire.
  • About 100 firefighters are killed each year in duty-related incidents.
  • Each year, fire kills more Americans than all natural disasters combined.
  • Fire is the third leading cause of accidental death in the home; at least 80 percent of all fire deaths occur in residences.
  • About 2 million fires are reported each year. Many others go unreported, causing additional injuries and property loss.
  • Direct property loss due to fires is estimated at $8.6 billion annually.

Where Fires Occur

  • There were 1,755,000 fires in the United States in 1998. Of these:
    • 41% were Outside Fires
    • 29% were Structure Fires
    • 22% were Vehicle Fires
    • 8 % were fires of other types

  • Residential fires represent 22 percent of all fires and 74 percent of structure fires.

  • Fires in 1-2 family dwellings most often start in the:
    1. Kitchen 23.5%
    2. Bedroom 12.7%
    3. Living Room 7.9%
    4. Chimney 7.1%
    5. Laundry Area 4.7%

  • Apartment fires most often start in the:
    1. Kitchen 46.1%
    2. Bedroom 12.3%
    3. Living Room 6.2%
    4. Laundry Area 3.3%
    5. Bathroom 2.4%

  • The South has the highest fire death rate per-capita with 18.4 civilian deaths per million population.

  • 80 percent of all fatalities occur in the home. Of those, approximately 85 percent occur in single-family homes and duplexes.

Causes of Fires and Fire Deaths

  • Cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the U.S. It is also the leading cause of home fire injuries. Cooking fires often result from unattended cooking and human error, rather than mechanical failure of stoves or ovens.
  • Careless smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths. Smoke alarms and smolder-resistant bedding and upholstered furniture are significant fire deterrents.
  • Heating is the second leading cause of residential fires and the second leading cause of fire deaths. However, heating fires are a larger problem in single family homes than in apartments. Unlike apartments, the heating systems in single family homes are often not professionally maintained.
  • Arson is both the third leading cause of residential fires and residential fire deaths. In commercial properties, arson is the major cause of deaths, injuries and dollar loss.

Who is Most at Risk

  • Senior citizens age 70 and over and children under the age of 5 have the greatest risk of fire death.
  • The fire death risk among seniors is more than double the average population.
  • The fire death risk for children under age 5 is nearly double the risk of the average population.
  • Children under the age of 10 accounted for an estimated 17 percent of all fire deaths in 1996.
  • Men die or are injured in fires almost twice as often as women.
  • African Americans and American Indians have significantly higher death rates per capita than the national average.
  • Although African Americans comprise 13 percent of the population, they account for 26 percent of fire deaths.

What Saves Lives

  • A working smoke alarm dramatically increases a person's chance of surviving a fire.
  • Approximately 88 percent of U.S. homes have at least one smoke alarm. However, these alarms are not always properly maintained and as a result might not work in an emergency. There has been a disturbing increase over the last ten years in the number of fires that occur in homes with non-functioning alarms.
  • It is estimated that over 40 percent of residential fires and three-fifths of residential fatalities occur in homes with no smoke alarms.
  • Residential sprinklers have become more cost effective for homes. Currently, few homes are protected by them.

Source: National Fire Protection Association 1998 Fire Loss in the U.S. and Fire in the United States 1987-1996 11th Edition (Back to Top)

House Fires

Living in a house surrounded by nature and wildlands can be peaceful and beautiful, but it can also be risky. All over the country, people are rapidly moving into formerly unpopulated areas. From previously underdeveloped Native American reservations to rapidly growing small towns and suburbs of larger cities, new homes are being built where there were just trees before.

To better understand how to protect your home, it is important to know how fire behaves.

Fire needs fuel and oxygen. To a wildfire, homes and other structures are a form of fuel, and the wind provides plenty of oxygen.

When the fire is close enough, its heat and flames directly threaten the home, causing combustible materials, like decks, sidings, fences and roofs to ignite. It will also melt plastics and break plate glass windows.

Deck on fireDirect Threat

When a fire occurs, the demand on the local fire department is intense. Protecting people's lives is their first priority. Protecting property and resources is secondary.

Often, the fire department may have to decide between attacking the fire or choosing which structure can be saved. You can help improve the fire-fighting effort by making your property a place to effectively battle a blaze, and make it more likely your structure can be saved.

If your access road is too narrow, poorly maintained or inadequately marked, fire apparatus may not be able to do any good.

1. Dispose of stove or fireplace ashes and charcoal briquettes only after soaking them in a metal pail of water for 24 hours. 5. Garden hose should be connected to outlet. 9. Shrubs should be spaced at least 15 feet apart. 13. Each home should have at least 2 different entrance and exit routes.
2. Store gasoline in an approved safety can away from occupied buildings. 6. Clean roof surfaces and gutters regularly to avoid accumulation of flammable materials. 10. Remove branches from trees to a height of 15 feet apart. 14. Names of roads should be indicated at all intersections.
3. LPG tanks should be far enough away from buildings for values to be shut off in case of fire. Keep area clear of flammable vegetation. 7. Remove portions of any tree extending within 10 feet of the flue opening of any stove or chimney. 11. A fuel break should be maintained around all structures. 15. Names and addresses of occupants should be posted at driveway entrance.
4. All combustibles such as firewood, picnic tables, boats, etc. should be kept away from structures. 8. Maintain a screen constructed of non-flammable material over the flue opening of every chimney or stovepipe. Mesh openings of the screen should not exceed 1/2 inch. 12. Have fire tools handy such as: ladder long enough to reach the roof, shovel, rake, and bucket for water. 16. All roads and driveways should be at least 16 feet in width.

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Your Home

Each year, fire claims the lives of 4,000 Americans and injures more than 25,000. Bedrooms are a common area of fire origin. Nearly 1,000 lives are lost to fires that start in bedrooms. Many of these fires are caused by misuse or poor maintenance of electrical devices, such as overloading extension cords or using portable space heaters too close to combustibles. Many other bedroom fires are caused by children who play with matches and lighters, careless smoking among adults, and arson.

The United States Fire Administration (USFA) and the Sleep Products Safety Council (SPSC) would like you to know that there are simple steps you can take to prevent the loss of life and property resulting from bedroom fires.

Kids and Fire: A Bad Match

Children are one of the highest risk groups for deaths in residential fires. At home, children usually play with fire - lighters, matches and other ignitables - in bedrooms, in closets, and under beds. These are "secret" places where there are a lot of things that catch fire easily.

  • Children of all ages set over 100,000 fires annually. Over 30% of fires that kill children are set by children playing with fire.
  • Every year over 800 children nine years and younger die in home fires.
  • Keep matches and lighters locked up and away from children. Check under beds and in closets for burnt matches, evidence your child may be playing with matches.
  • Teach your child that fire is a tool, not a toy.

Appliances Need Special Attention

Bedrooms are the most common room in the home where electrical fires start. Electrical fires are a special concern during winter months which call for more indoor activities and increases in lighting, heating, and appliance use.

  • Do not trap electric cords against walls where heat can build up.
  • Take extra care when using portable heaters. Keep bedding, clothes, curtains and other combustible items at least three feet away from space heaters.
  • Only use lab-approved electric blankets and warmers. Check to make sure the cords are not frayed.

Tuck Yourself In For A Safe Sleep

  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Replace mattresses made before the 1973 Federal Mattress Flammability Standard. Mattresses made since then are required by law to be safer.

Finally, having working smoke alarms dramatically increases your chances of surviving a fire. Place at least one smoke alarm on each level of your home and in halls outside bedrooms. And remember to practice a home escape plan frequently with your family. (Back to Top)


Smoke Alarm Q&A's

In the event of a fire, properly installed and maintained smoke alarms will provide an early warning signal to your household. This alarm could save your own life and those of your loved ones by providing the chance to escape. smoke alarms?

In the event of a fire, a smoke alarm can save your life and those of your loved ones. They are the single most important means of preventing house and apartment fire fatalities by providing an early warning signal -- so you and your family can escape. Smoke alarms are one of the best safety features you can buy and install to protect yourself, your family and your home.

Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement. Many fatal fires begin late at night or in the early morning. For extra safety, install smoke alarms both inside and outside the sleeping area.

Also, smoke alarms should be installed on the ceiling or 6 to 8 inches below the ceiling on side walls. Since smoke and many deadly gases rise, installing your smoke alarms at the proper level will provide you with the earliest warning possible. Always follow the manufacturer's installation instructions.

Many hardware, home supply or general merchandise stores carry smoke alarms. Make sure the alarm you buy is UL-listed. If you are unsure where to buy one in your community, call your local fire department (on a non-emergency telephone number) and they will provide you with some suggestions. Some fire departments offer smoke alarms for little or no cost.

Not a bit. In most cases, all you will need is a screwdriver. Many brands are self-adhesive and will automatically stick to the wall or ceiling where they are placed. However, be sure to follow the directions from the manufacturer because each brand is different. If you are uncomfortable standing on a ladder, ask a relative or friend for help. Some fire departments will actually install a smoke alarm in your home for you. Call your local fire department (again, on a non-emergency telephone number) if you have problems installing a smoke alarm.

Smoke alarms are very easy to take care of. There are two steps to remember.

  1. Simply replace the batteries at least once a year.
    Tip: Pick a holiday or your birthday and replace the batteries each year on that day. Some smoke alarms now on the market come with a ten-year battery. These alarms are designed to be replaced as a whole unit, thus avoiding the need for battery replacement. If your smoke alarm starts making a "chirping" noise, replace the batteries and reset it.
  2. Keep them clean. Dust and debris can interfere with their operation, so vacuum over and around your smoke alarm regularly.

Then it's doing its job. Do not disable your smoke alarm if it alarms due to cooking or other non-fire causes. You may not remember to put the batteries back in the alarm after cooking. Instead, clear the air by waving a towel near the alarm, leaving the batteries in place. The alarm may have to be moved to a new location.

About eight-to-ten years, after which it should be replaced. Like most electrical devices, smoke alarms wear out. You may want to write the purchase date with a marker on the inside of your unit. That way, you'll know when to replace it. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for replacement.

Other Fire Hazard Tips

click above to see campfire info


Charcoal Briquettes:

  • After using the burning charcoal briquettes, "dunk 'em!" Don't sprinkle. Soak the coals with lots of water; stir them and soak again. Be sure they are out--cold! Carefully feel the coals with your bare hands to be sure. (Back to Top)


  • When smoking is permitted outdoors, safe practices require at least a 3-foot clearing around the smoker. Grind out your cigarette, cigar, or pipe tobacco in the dirt. Never grind it on a stump or log. It is unsafe to smoke while walking or riding a horse or trail bike. Use your ashtray while in your car. (Back to Top)

Household Trash:

  • If you must burn trash, don't pile it on the ground. It will not burn completely and will be easily blown around. Local fire officials can recommend a safe receptacle for burning trash. It should be placed in a cleared area, away from overhead branches and wires.
  • Never attempt to burn aerosol cans; heated cans will explode. Flying metal from an exploding can might cause an injury. Burning trash scattered by such an explosion has caused the spread of many fires. (Back to Top)


  • Check local laws on burning. Some communities allow burning only during specified hours. Others forbid it entirely.
  • Check the weather; don't burn on dry, windy days.
  • Consider the alternatives to burning. Some types of debris--such as leaves, grass, and stubble--may be of more value if used for compost. Household items such as plastics, glass, paper, and aluminum cans can be recycled or hauled to a local sanitary landfill.
  • If you must burn debris, do it safely. (Back to Top)


Spark Arresters:

  • All types of equipment and vehicles are required to have spark arresters. Chain saws, portable generators, cross-country vehicles, and trail bikes--to name a few--require spark arresters if used in or near grass, brush, or a wooded area. To make sure that the spark arrester is functioning properly, check with the dealer or contact your local Forest Service or State forestry office. (Back to Top)

Agricultural Residue and Forest Litter:

  • Be sure you are fully prepared before burning off your field or garden spot. To control the fire, you will need a source of water, a bucket, and a shovel for tossing dirt on the fire.
  • If possible, a fire line should be plowed around the area to be burned. Large fields should be separated into small plots for burning one at a time. Be sure to stay with your fire until it is out.
  • Before doing any burning in a wooded area, contact your local forester. The forester will weigh all factors, explain them to you, and offer technical advice. (Back to Top)

Department of Emergency Services

1190 W Macclenny Ave

Macclenny, FL  32063

(904) 259-0232