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Frequently Asked Questions


Q. What is the proper way to use and maintain smoke detectors?

A: Working smoke detectors can alert you to a fire in your home in time for you to escape, even if you are sleeping. Install smoke detectors on every level of your home, including the basement, and outside each sleeping area. If you sleep with the door closed, install one inside your sleeping area as well.

Test detectors every month, following the manufacturer's directions, and replace batteries once a year, or whenever a detector "chirps" to signal low battery power. Never "borrow" a smoke detector's battery for another use--a disabled detector can't save your life. Replace detectors that are more than 10 years old.

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Q. How do I make a fire escape plan?

A: If a fire breaks out in your home, you have to get out fast. Prepare for a fire emergency by sitting down with your family and agreeing on an escape plan. Be sure that everyone knows at least two unobstructed exits--doors and windows--from every room. (If you live in an apartment building, do not include elevators in your escape plan.) Decide on a meeting place outside where everyone will meet after they escape. Have your entire household practice your escape plan at least twice a year.

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Q. As a smoker, are there any special precautions I should take?

A: Careless smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths in North America. Smoking in bed or when you are drowsy could be deadly. Provide smokers with large, deep, non-tip ashtrays and soak butts with water before discarding them. Before going to bed or leaving home after someone has been smoking, check under and around cushions and upholstered furniture for smoldering cigarettes.

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Q. How can I make my kitchen fire-safe?

A: Never leave cooking unattended. Keep cooking areas clear of combustibles and wear clothes with short, rolled-up, or tight-fitting sleeves when you cook. Turn pot handles inward on the stove where you can't bump them and children can't grab them. Enforce a "Kid-Free Zone" three feet (one meter) around your kitchen stove. If grease catches fire in a pan, slide a lid over the pan to smother the flames and turn off the heat. Leave the lid on until cool.

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Q. How can I use a space heater safely?

A: Keep portable heaters and space heaters at least three feet (one meter) away from anything that can burn. Keep children and pets away from heaters, and never leave heaters on when you leave home or go to bed.

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Q. What safety precautions should I take regarding children and lighters/matches?

A: In a child's hands, matches and lighters can be deadly. Use only child-resistant lighters and store all matches and lighters up high, where small children can't see or reach them, preferably in a locked cabinet. Teach your children that matches and lighters are tools, not toys, and should be used only by adults or with adult supervision. Teach young children to tell a grown-up if they find matches or lighters; older children should bring matches and lighters to an adult immediately.

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Q. How should I treat a burn?

A: Run cool water over a burn for 10 to 15 minutes. Never put butter or any other grease on a burn. If the burned skin blisters or is charred, see a doctor immediately. Never use ice.

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Q. Are there any precautions I should take regarding household electricity and/or appliances?

A: If an electrical appliance smokes or has an unusual smell, unplug it immediately, then have it serviced before using it again. Replace any electrical cord that is cracked or frayed. Don't overload extension cords or run them under rugs. Don't tamper with your fuse box or use improper-size fuses.

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Q. What should I do to get out of a burning house or structure?

A: During a fire, smoke and poisonous gases rise with the heat. The air is cleaner near the floor. If you encounter smoke while you are escaping from a fire, use an alternative escape route. If you must escape through smoke, crawl on your hands and knees, keeping your head 12 to 24 inches (30 to 60 centimeters) above the floor.

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Q. What should I do if my clothing catches fire?

A: If your clothes catch fire, don't run. Stop where you are, drop to the ground, cover your face with your hands, and roll over and over to smother the flames.

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Q. How do I obtain a fireworks permit?

A. Have the licensed Pyrotechnics contractor (that you are hiring to shoot the display) call the Fire Prevention Division. We will supply them with the proper Outdoor or Indoor application paperwork for them to complete. There is a permit fee of $135.00 due at the time the permit application is filed.

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Q. How do I obtain a Knox box?

A. Call the Fire Prevention Division and we will supply a manufacturer’s pre-filled purchase form with the information as it pertains to the City of Clearwater for proper keying and authorization. If you have an electronically controlled entry gate, a Knox Key Switch is required by county ordinance and the procedure for obtaining the Key Switch is the same as the Knox Box. Once the form is completed by you, mail it to the manufacturer along with your check for the costs incurred.

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Q. Where do I go to have my plans reviewed?

A. The Fire Plans Examiners are located within the Municipal Services Building at 100 S. Myrtle Avenue, Clearwater. Go into the building to the service counter and one of the greeters will assist you in making contact with one of the Fire Plan Examiners.

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Q. What should I do after a fire?

A. We have a booklet we supply to the victims of fires on scene, usually given by the District Chief to the occupants, which will guide you through the recover after a fire loss. We have the availability of assistance for temporary housing, clothing, food and medication through the American Red Cross, which is a great bit of comfort at the onset of a personal tragedy. Most importantly, it is early notification to your insurance carrier of a fire loss, so that they can get there and begin to assist you with the needed resources available through your coverage. Prior to speaking with and meeting your insurance representative, be very cautious not to sign any documents for services with anyone not officially (by letter or ID) representing your insurance company.

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Q. How do I obtain a fire patch?

A. Currently, due to security issues, the department is not providing patches to citizens.

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Q. How do I obtain a fire report?

A. Contact Fire Administration with your incident number, date of incident, and address. Normally, a fire report can be obtained with 3-5 days after the incident.

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Q. How do I obtain a medical report?

A. Contact Fire Administration with your incident number, date of incident, name and address. Due to HIPAA and other federal regulations, personal health information can only be provided to the individual who was medically treated with proof of identification or as subpoenaed by an attorney.

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Q. How do I submit a public records request?

A. All public records requests are to be requested in writing and submitted to the City’s Official Records & Legislative Services Department, located at 112 Osceola Avenue, Clearwater. Fees are charged per the City of Clearwater’s Public Records Policy.

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Q. How do I find the nearest fire station from my business/residence?

A. Each fire station and their addresses can be found at our Station web page on the Internet site. If you need further clarification of locations, you can contact our Fire Administration office.

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Q. How do I find the nearest fire hydrant from my business/residence?

A. Fire hydrants are relatively placed 500-1000 ft. from businesses/residence. For more detailed information, you can contact Pinellas County Utilities at 464-3473 who can provide fire hydrants locations from their maps.

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