FAQ’s

Why do you send a fire engine along with an aid unit to a medical emergency?

Why does the Fire Department bring the fire engine just for a simple inspection?

Why do fire trucks go through town with lights & sirens sometimes and other times they seem to drive normal?

Why do firefighters break out windows and cut holes in roof during a fire?

Why do you block traffic lanes at auto accidents, sometimes more lanes than necessary?

Why am I not supposed to drive over a fire hose?

Can you get my cat out of a tree?

What if I smell gas in my home?

What kind of extinguisher should I buy for my home?

Why do firefighters work 24-hour shifts?

Why do I see firefighters at stores while they are working?

What other responsibilities do firefighters have other than fighting fires?

What should I do when I see or hear an emergency vehicle coming towards me when I’m driving?

My smoke detector is chirping, what does that mean?

How often should I change the batteries in my smoke detectors?

Does the Fire Department fill fire extinguishers?

Can I ride along with the Fire Department?

How much does an ambulance ride to the hospital cost? How about a Fire Truck responding to a fire?

How do I sign up for a First Aid or CPR class?

How do I submit a question?

Does the fire department take needles for disposal?

Do I have to evacuate a building when the fire alarm goes off?

 

Why do you send a fire engine along with an aid unit to a medical emergency?

A lot of emergencies require more than the two people who respond with the aid unit to assist with a sick or injured patient and to facilitate the best medical care we have to offer.  Since firefighters also need to be available to respond to another emergency, the fire engine crew remains with their apparatus.  Fire engines also have essential equipment needed for a rescue, extrication, or stabilatzion of an incident.   An incident may require help from the police and/or the tech rescue team also.  The aid unit may provide transportation to an emergency room depending on the nature of the call.
Why does the Fire Department bring the fire engine just for a simple inspection?

Two reasons:

 

First, these inspections are conducted by on-duty engine companies that must be ready to respond to an emergency call from the field.

Second, an important part and a great value of the public safety inspection is to familiarize firefighters with the buildings and business in Enumclaw. While they check for hazards and consult with business owners on how best to eliminate or minimize the likelihood of a fire, they also familiarize themselves with access points and the layout of the facility.

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Why do fire trucks go through town with lights & sirens sometimes and other times they seem to drive normal?

Not all calls coming in to the fire department are classified as ”emergent”.  The fire department covers a wide range and all different types of service calls that need our assistance/response but are not true emergencies.  When a call for service comes into the dispatch center, the dispatcher will classify the “nature of the call” into either an emergency or non-emergency response, prior to alerting the police or fire department.  This is done to minimize the safety hazards associated with emergency responses of apparatus while at the same time assuring a prompt response. We will also turn off the lights and sirens at times when we are cancelled or it is no longer deemed necessary.

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Why do firefighters break out windows and cut holes in roof during a fire?

Ventilating super-heated smoke, poisons, and explosive gasses is paramount to the survival of a victim and the firefighters that go in to find the victim and extinguish the fire.  Ventilating improves visibility and overall safety of all involved.  It also can increase the intensity of the fire so it is precisely coordinated with the crews working on the fire scene.  Expedting the extinguishment of the fire with the coodinated efforts of ventiliation and fire suppression greatly reduces the damage to the structure.

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Why do you block traffic lanes at auto accidents, sometimes more lanes than necessary?

During a motor vehicle accident or other incident involving roads or highways, the police deparment and fire department may block traffic lanes for the safety of our personnel and our patients. When we are on scene of an accident, the situation is always changing and progressing.  We might begin by closing the road or highway and as the situation lessens, we will adapt the closure to allow traffic to move through.   The very nature of our work puts firefighters and police officers in danger.  Knowing that, safety of all involved is our top priority.  Over 25 firefighters are killed or injured each year while working at incidents on streets and highways.

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Why am I not supposed to drive over a fire hose?

Fire hose holds the water that is keeping the firefighter and any possible victim in the affected structure safe.  Fire hose is not constructed to be driven on.  Not only will it inturrupt the flow of water by the heavy vehicle it could also break the hose making water flow permantly cease, endagering firefighters and citizens alike.  Any hose that is driven over, without protection, has to be taken out of service and tested.

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Can you get my cat out of a tree?

EFD does not rescue cats trapped in trees. In almost all cases, the cat will come down on its own, in time. Encourage the cat to come down by putting some attractive-smelling food at the base of the tree, like tuna fish. The smell of the food will attract the cat’s interest and the cat will come down to eat. You can also call a local tree service to get the cat down – they have the proper equipment to safely rescue a cat.  For further information regarding domestic animals please contact Regional Animal Services of King County at 206-296-PETS (7387).

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What if I smell gas in my home?

If you smell a strong odor of gas-Get out of the house immediately!!  Do not turn any electrical switches on or off, use a flashlight, or the telephone. An electric spark from any electrical or battery-powered device or even from static electricity could ignite a gas leak and cause an explosion. Call 911  from a neighbor’s house as soon as possible. Never try to locate the source of a gas leak yourself.

Even if the smell of gas is faint, don’t take any chances. Leave the house and call 911.

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What kind of fire extinguisher should I buy for my home?

Homeowners should buy an extinguisher that can handle Class A-B-C fires. This type of extinguisher is designed to extinguish fires that usually occur in homes including wood, paper, flammable liquids, and electrical fires.

 

Fire extinguishers should be installed where the potential fire risk is greatest in the home. A Multi-purpose Dry Chemical fire extinguisher should be installed in the kitchen, laundry, workshop, garage and the top of the basement stairwell in the home. Extinguishers should never be more than 75 feet away from a Class A (ordinary combustibles) hazard, or further than 50 feet away from a Class B (flammable liquids) hazard.

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Why do firefighters work 24-hour shifts?

The bottom line – firefighters working a 24 hour shift saves the public money. It is the most efficient way to staff the fire department, which is why it is done nationwide. No schedule for firefighters is more predominant.

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Why do I see firefighters at stores while they are working?

Firefighters work a 24 hour shift and must remain in the station or in a fire department vehicle available for emergency response at all times. Therefore, all of the firefighter’s meals are eaten while remaining ready to respond.  Firefighters, using their own money, are permitted to go to the store during the day to purchase items needed for these meals.

Many other times Enumclaw Fire Department vehicles are at local businesses on official business such as inspections, performing training or education, or even answering questions or complaints. There are many public services performed by your fire department on a daily basis.

Finally, firefighters also routinely shop for needed fire department supplies and equipment.  Take advantage of this opportunity to interact with the firefighters and ask questions.  Please don’t be offended if they have to leave on a call, in a rush!

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What other responsibilities do firefighters have other than fighting fires?

Emergency calls represent only a narrow percent of the work in a typical day at EFD. The number of residential and commercial fires has steadily decreased over the years due to a variety of factors including improvements in construction, a greater public awareness of the risk factors leading to fires, and a significant reduction in smoking, nationwide.

Fires, however, are only some of the emergencies to which the fire department responds. Eighty percent (80%)of the Fire Department’s emergency responses are, in fact, calls for medical aid including illness and injuries at home and work and injuries resulting from vehicle accidents. Other calls for emergency response involve hazardous materials responses, technical rescues, response to fire alarms, and other calls for public assistance. Firefighters also spend much of their time maintaining equipment, doing routine public safety inspections for businesses, teaching fire and life safety to the public, training for all types of emergency responses, and filling out the reports and paperwork associated with these activities.

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What should I do when I see or hear an emergency vehicle coming towards me when I’m driving?

When it is safe to do so, you should pull over to the right and stop until all emergency vehicles have safely passed. If you cannot safely maneuver to the right, simply stop and stay stopped so the vehicles can go around you safely.
My smoke detector is chirping, what does that mean?

Most modern smoke detectors will chirp to alert you the batteries are low.  You should replace the batteries and test your smoke detector.  If the smoke detector still chirps after the batteries have been traded, it might be a defective device and need to be replaced.  Smoke detectors can be purchased at any hardware or large commercial department store.  Do not leave your house unattended or go to sleep with out a working smoke detector!

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How often should I change the batteries in my smoke detectors?

Batteries, even in “hard wired” devices, should be replaced every 6 months. An easy reminder is to change your batteries in your smoke detector when you change the clocks each Fall and Spring.

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Does the Fire Department fill fire extinguishers?

EFD is not equipped to fill fire extinguishers at this time. However, you can find local fire extinguisher businesses in the yellow pages to refill them.

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Can I ride along with the Fire Department?

Yes, citizens can request to ride along during regular business hours. For more information contact 360-825-5544.

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How much does an ambulance ride to the hospital cost? How about a Fire Truck responding to a fire?

Medical transportations via EFD are billed per department adopted base rates and charges.  The exact cost would be determined by the type of response and mileage traveled during transportation of the patient.  Fire Engines and Ladder Trucks are supported by taxpayer revenues and a response is at no charge for these pieces of equipment.

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How do I sign up for a First Aid or CPR class?

EFD teaches these classes on a first come, first serve basis.  Class space is limited.  For information regarding CPR/First Aid classes, please call 360-825-5544.  Registration in person at Station 1 (1330 Wells Street, Enumclaw, WA 98022) is required.

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How do I submit a question?

Follow this link and fill out the necessary form…

Contact Us

Or call 360-825-5544.

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Does the fire department take needles for disposal?

Enumclaw Fire does not take needles for disposal.  King County residents can go to the King County website for more information on needle disposal.

King County Website

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Do I have to evacuate a building when the fire alarm goes off?

Yes, the building has to be evacuated even if it is believed to be a false alarm.  Firefighters will clear the building for re-entry as soon as possible.  We have to assume it is a real fire alarm activation until we have performed a walk-through and deemed it a “false alarm”.

 

Helpful Links:

King County Fire Training Officers Association

King County Medic One

Washington State Association of Fire Chiefs

Washington State Fire Marshal

Washington State Council of Fire Fighters

Washington State Firefighters Association

Enumclaw Fire Department Master Plan

Puget Sound Clean Air Agency

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration