Community Education for Fire and Life Safety

A variety of community education resources are available through the Spokane Fire Department Prevention Division to help meet the needs of both children and adults. Fire safety presentations can be arranged for neighborhood, business, civic, or education groups. Contact Public Education to arrange station tours and Spokane Fire Department participation in community events.

Residential and Apartment Fires

Over 80% of the persons who die in a fire in the US each year, die in their home. While more fires typically happen in single-family residences, the problem can be compounded when families live in closer proximity in apartment units. Spokane Fire Department launched a monthly “Apartment Safety Notes” newsletter in January 2010 providing recommendations for maintaining a fire free home. You can subscribe to this free newsletter by visiting the newsletters page.

Before a Fire

Fire Departments often list After a Fire actions that can help to recover from a structural fire. An extensive listing is located at the U.S. Fire Administration website. Below are some recommendations for actions to take Before a Fire to assure that you have the knowledge and tools to prevent or reduce the extent of damage to your home and family.

  • Adequate homeowner's or renter's insurance
  • Key records and important papers stored in a safety deposit box, off site
  • Copies of irreplaceable family photos in more than one place
  • Home sprinkler system and smoke detectors
  • Family escape plan
  • Stove equipped with safe-T-elements that prevent stovetop fires from starting (see Pioneering Technology's website)
  • Exterior landscaping that helps keep fire and embers away from the structure
  • Fire extinguisher on every level
  • Fire escape ladders from second story rooms
  • Periodic self-inspection to assure there are no typical fire hazards, e.g. overloaded outlets, out-of-date electrical cords, space heaters within 3 feet of combustible materials, chimney filled with creosote, haphazard storage of flammable materials, or lighters and matches within sight and reach of children.

Smoke Detectors

About 2,500 Americans die in residential fires each year. In most cases, the death could have been prevented with an early alert from a working smoke detector. This Smoke Detector handout (PDF 161 KB) provides information on keeping your detectors up to date and understanding the difference between the two major types of smoke detectors. Below are our answers to some of the most common questions we receive regarding smoke detectors.

Common Questions:
  • What is the most effective alert system for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing?
    For persons who are deaf a strobe detector with vibrating device is the most effective alert system. For persons who are hard of hearing, there is also the option of using a receiver that picks up the T3 tones of an audible smoke detector and translates them to a lower frequency pulse vibration. There are several product types available through online vendors.
  • What can I do when my smoke detector alarms while I'm cooking?
    Consider replacing it with a photoelectric detector that has a “hush button”. You will have fewer nuisance alarms and you will be able to easily stop the sound.
  • How many smoke detectors do I need in my house?
    Install at least one on every level of the home and outside every bedroom group. Spokane Fire Department recommends one in every bedroom as well. (If a fire starts in a bedroom and the door is closed, the person inside would likely die before the smoke could activate the detector in the hallway.)
  • Should we have a smoke detector in the kitchen?
    No
  • Do you also have to change out hardwired smoke detectors every 10 years?
    Yes!
  • How much does a reliable smoke detector cost?
    An audible photoelectric single station model or dual-sensor photo/ion detector with long-lasting battery and hush button will cost between $15 and $30. Strobe detectors for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing range from $60 to $200.
  • Does the Spokane Fire Department give smoke detectors at no cost?
    The Department depends on grants and donations to install smoke detectors for low income homeowners, when possible. To find out the current availability of smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, contact Public Education.

Escape Plan

This Escape Plan handout (PDF 154 KB) is a useful tool that provides a checklist of everything a basic fire escape plan needs and a grid to map out your escape path.

Residential Sprinkler Systems

A residential sprinkler system reduces the risk of dying in a home fire by 80%. The Spokane Fire Department advises including a sprinkler system when building a new home. The following video is a demonstration of the effectiveness of a sprinkler system performed by the Spokane Fire Department. For additional information on sprinkler systems, visit Home Fire Sprinkler and Fire Sprinkler Initiative.

Urban Wildland Interface

The City of Spokane, bordered by areas with Ponderosa pines and impacted by the devastation of Firestorm '91, recommends that residents become familiar with the fire prevention basics associated with urban-wildland interface. Information on creating a survivable space around your home and neighborhood is available at FireWise

School Programs

Preschool children are about 2.5 times more likely to die in a home fire than the average population. The Spokane Fire Department works closely with pre-school providers to help parents stay informed regarding topics such as home escape planning, babysitter instructions, storage of lighters, and adequate smoke detector protection.

Firefighter “Show-and-Tell” preschool presentations are provided for classes with at least 24 children. Sessions last approximately 30 minutes and are generally scheduled for 10:00 AM or 1:30 PM. Prior to the firefighters arrival, teachers are provided with a lending library of age-appropriate fire-themed books and two fire safety curricula, NFPA's “Learn Not to Burn” and Bic's “ Play safe! Be safe!”. Call to arrange an “Our Friend the Firefighter” site tour and/or parent meeting.

Elementary students are offered three fire safety education programs.

Grades 1 and 2 - The Hazard House is a tabletop model of a four-story home illustrating a variety of common fire and injury scenarios. Firefighters on the teaching team use a remote control to achieve special effects such as a cooking fire in the kitchen, potential electrocution in the bathtub, and the movement of simulated smoke from the basement to upper story bedrooms.

Grades 3 and 4 - The Children's Fire Safety House, designed by architect Joe Hensley and funded primarily by ten Spokane-area Rotary Clubs, has been on the road for third and fourth graders since November 1972. Approximately 43,000 students have participated in the one hour lesson designed for this two-story mobile unit. Videos in the first floor living area supplement instruction on managing a small grease fire and making a simulated 9-1-1 call. On the second level, students learn more about smoke detectors and home fire escape planning and drills before having a chance to escape from the bedroom area filled with artificial smoke.

Grades 5 and 6: Students learn the reasons behind Spokane's ban on consumer fireworks as well as the burn consequences of misusing flammable materials with a classroom presentation on “Fireworks and Flammables”.

Presentations for other grade levels or Scout groups may be arranged through the Public Education office.

Fire-Stoppers

The goal of Fire-Stoppers is to help children better understand the responsibility and potential consequence of fire and to help adults provide adequate safeguards in the home and community.

If parents have concerns about the level of their child's fire interest, or if they are aware of a fire situation their child has been involved in, they are encouraged to contact Fire-Stoppers to set up an educational intervention as soon as possible. It is imperative that each child has access to an age-appropriate fire education experience.


Contact Information

Michael Miller
Fire Marshal
509.625.7040
mmiller@spokanecity.org

Fire-Stoppers
509.625.7058