FIRE DEPARTMENT: FAQs
My water isn’t clear after a hydrant flush in my area. What do I do?
Answer: After a hydrant flush in your neighborhood, you should run a faucet of cold water until it runs clear, which may take up to five minutes. Do NOT run hot water during the flush.
What is the best fire detector to use in my home?
Answer: Smoke alarms are critical for fire safety. The Northeastern Ohio Fire Prevention Association has information regarding the three types of sensor technology used in smoke alarms: photoelectric, ionization and a combination that incorporates both sensors in one smoke alarm.
What is the best place to put smoke alarms in my home?
Answer: Photoelectric smoke alarms should be placed, at a minimum, on every level of the home including the basement, outside every sleeping area and in every bedroom. On all floors, a smoke alarm should be placed at the base of the stairs to the floor above.
Smoke alarms should be mounted on the ceiling or high on the wall (smoke rises). Always follow the manufacturer’s instruction. Additional smoke alarms can be added to increase your protection.
How often should I test my home’s smoke alarm?
Answer: Test each smoke alarm monthly by pushing the button.
- Replace 9 volt and AA batteries in smoke alarms twice a year. (Remember: change your clocks, change your batteries.)
- If the alarm “chirps,” warning that the battery is low, replace the battery right away.
- All smoke alarms have a recommended service life of 10 years. Replace your smoke alarms at this time or sooner if they are not functioning properly.
Vacuum or dust out cobwebs and dust that have accumulated in smoke alarms at least once per year.
My smoke alarm goes off every time I burn bread in the toaster, so it must be working fine, right?
Answer: Not Necessarily! The airborne particles from burned toast, ordinary cooking and shower steam are different from the smoke from burning furniture and household items. These nuisance false alarms lead people into a false sense of security that their ionization smoke alarm is ultra-sensitive and will give them an early warning in the event of a fire in their home. In fact, your ionization smoke alarm may not go off early enough to save your family in an actual fire. Ionization smoke alarms are, on average, over five times more likely to have a nuisance false alarm.
Photoelectric smoke alarms are 72% less prone to these nuisance false alarms and may alert tens of minutes earlier than ionization or dual-sensor alarms in an actual fire.
What is the best way to protect my family from a home fire?
Answer: In addition to installing smoke alarms and testing them twice a year, create a home escape plan so that every member of your family knows at least two ways out from every room or space in your home. Your family should know how to:
- Crawl low in smoke. Smoke rises so the air near the floor will be clearer. It will be easier to see and breathe near the floor.
- Feel doors before opening them. If the door is hot, do not open it. If the door is cool, stay low as you open it. There still may be heat, smoke or fire on the other side.
- Leave immediately. Don’t stop for anything. No possessions are worth your life.
- If you cannot leave a room, make sure the door is closed and go to the window. Open it or break it out and exit if you can. If you can’t exit the window because it’s too high, use a bedsheet, towel, etc. to wave and yell to attract attention. If necessary, use towels, clothing, pillows, etc. to block smoke coming through door cracks or vents.
- Have a family meeting place outside. Count to ensure everyone is out safely.
- Once you are out, stay out. Never go back inside for anyone or anything.
- Call the fire department once you are out safely. The emergency number is 911. Call from a neighbor’s home or a cell phone.
- Practice your escape plan at least once a year. Try different ways out. Try it with your eyes closed or in the dark.
- Consider an escape ladder for windows too high to jump from. They are available at local hardware stores.
- Consider and plan for family members with special needs. The fire department can assist you in your escape planning.
Who do I contact for an environment study of a commercial property?
Answer: Please contact the Elyria Fire Prevention Bureau to schedule an appointment to view the paper files, at 440-323-1027.
Who do I contact for a public visit or public education event?
Answer: Please contact the Elyria Fire Department Training Officer at 440-323-1113.
There's a bat in my house! What do I do?
Answer: No need to panic – you can remove them safely and humanely.
Sometimes a bat may go off course and accidentally find their way into a home. This is no cause for alarm. Stay calm, and follow these steps to remove them safely and humanely.
The bat may be first seen flying around a room early in the evening, landing on curtains or furniture and then taking flight again.
- Remain calm and keep pets and children away. The bat will tend to fly in a U-shaped path, flying higher near the walls and lower in the center of the room, so keep near a wall.
- Close interior doors and give the bat a way to get outside. If the bat doesn’t exit on their own, it is best to wait until they land to try to catch them.
- Important: Never try to handle a bat with your bare hands. Wear thick leather or similar work gloves—not cotton. Most bats can easily bite through cotton. If gloves are not available, you can capture a bat in a rolled-up t-shirt or something of similar material. Make sure there is enough thickness to the material used so you will not be bitten. (Don’t use a towel, as the bat’s claws might get snagged in its loops.)
- Bats will most likely land somewhere they can hang—behind curtains or upholstered furniture, on hanging clothes, or in house plants. Carefully place a plastic tub or similar container over them. Gently work a piece of cardboard or stiff paper under the container, trapping the bat inside. Now you are ready to release the bat outdoors.
- Because most bats cannot take flight from the ground, tilt the container, or allow the bat to climb a tree trunk or other vertical surface.
Next, find how they got in. The bat may have been roosting somewhere in the house and mistakenly found their way to the living space. Common entry points include gaps and openings that lead to attics or cellars—places that may harbor more bats. Inspect thoroughly and seal potential interior entrances.