The following contain answers to questions frequently asked of our personnel. They are broken out into the following sections:General:
How many fire stations does Lapeer Fire & Rescue have?
Our department operates out of a single station in the City of Lapeer.
Does the Fire Department provide fire services to other municipalities?
Yes; the department provides these services to Lapeer Township, Mayfield Township, and the southern half of Oregon Township through fire service agreements with each. In addition, we have automatic and mutual aid agreements with all other fire departments in Lapeer County.
Is the department staffed by full time firefighters?
No, our personnel are predominately paid-on-call firefighters who are members of the community. We have one part time firefighter who works 28 hours each week, with the Fire Inspector, Fire Marshal, and Fire Chief being full time positions.
Are there firefighters at the station 24 hours a day?
No. As we are a predominately paid-on-call department, the firefighters respond to the station form home or work when the department is dispatched to a call.
How do I get a copy of a fire report or fire inspection report?
Copies of reports are available at our office. For most department reports, the fee would be $5. Larger reports have a $5 charge for the initial page and a $1 charge for each additional page. Charges for reports requested under the Freedom of Information Act are determined at the time of the request. If you have questions regarding reports, please contact us at (810) 664-0833.
What is my ISO or fire insurance rating? My insurance company wants to know where the nearest fire hydrant and station is.
Most insurance companies base the cost of a policy on the Insurance Services Office (ISO) Public Protection Classification rating for a given location. It is based on many factors, including the number of responding firefighters and officers, distance to fire hydrants or a recognized water source, capabilities of available fire apparatus, and the distance from a fire station just to name a few. The lower the number, the better the Fire Department’s rating. The City of Lapeer has an ISO rating of 5. Lapeer, Mayfield, and Oregon Townships have ratings that range between 5-10, with the rating being determined on the distance from a fire station and a recognized water source. For questions about a specific address, contact us at (810) 664-0833 or at email@example.com.
I am disabled and in an emergency, I may have trouble or would not be able to get out of my house by myself. Is there anything I can do ahead of time to alert the Fire Department?
If you are disabled and believe that you would have difficulty getting out of your house/apartment in an emergency, please contact us at (810) 664-0833 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. This information is kept strictly confidential and will only be shared with Lapeer County Central Dispatch. This is done so that if there’s ever an emergency at your address, the dispatchers will alert us to your situation.
Are outdoor fireplaces and similar devices allowed? Are small campfires and bonfires allowed?
City of Lapeer - Due to the potential for even a small campfire to create a smoke or odor nuisance, recreational burning (bonfires, campfires) are not permitted in the City of Lapeer. The only exceptions are at a single location at the Water Tower Travel Trailer Park, or by special permit given for certain special events.
Contracted Townships - Recreational burning (bonfire, campfires) consisting of firewood or similar natural vegetation materials is permitted in Lapeer, Mayfield, and Oregon Townships as long as a burn permit has been obtained (see below) and burning rules are followed.
Can I burn trash, brush, grass, leaves or debris on my property?
City of Lapeer- The burning of these materials is not permitted in the City of Lapeer.
Contracted Townships - The burning of natural vegetation materials (branches, brush, firewood, grass, leaves, logs, yard clippings, and similar items) is permitted in Lapeer, Mayfield, and Oregon Townships as long as a burn permit has been obtained (see below) and burning rules are followed. Lumber or wood products such as dimensional lumber, plywood, chipboard, etc is not considered to be natural vegetation and the burning of such materials is not permitted. Burning of any type of construction materials including PVC, siding, wiring, paint, etc is strictly prohibited by State law.
The burning of household trash (only untreated paper generated at a household) may only be burned at one or two family dwellings in Lapeer, Mayfield, and Oregon Townships; and only in an approved container as long as it does not create a smoke or odor nuisance. Items that are not permitted to be burned at any time include plastic, rubber, foam, textiles, electronics, chemicals, construction waste, natural vegetation from a commercial site, pallets, tires, paint, petroleum products, hazardous materials, etc.
How do I get a burn permit?
A resident of Lapeer Township, Mayfield Township, or the southern half of Oregon Township can obtain a burn permit by utilizing our online program. You can access the program from our website or from your township’s website. The permit can be good for up to seven (7) days as the permit cycle runs Monday-Sunday. If you are unable to access the burn permit program, you may also get a permit by calling our office at 810.664.0833 during normal business hours.
If you are doing a large burn, it is suggested that you contact the Fire Department in advance at 810.664.0833. Depending on the location, the size of the pile, and/or the weather conditions at the time, we may want to check it prior to you beginning to burn.
How do I know if there is a ban on burning?
Burning bans are usually announced on the local news channels. During a burn ban, the online permit system will not issue a permit. You can also call the Fire Department at 810.664.0833 if you have questions about a burn ban. Even if there is not a ban on burning, always use good judgment about burning in dry and/or windy conditions, and always be prepared before burning by having a rake, shovel and garden hose nearby.
What number do I call for a non-emergency situation?
To report a situation or condition of a non-emergent nature, please call Lapeer County Central Dispatch at 810.667.0292.
What number do I call if I have a question related to the Fire Department, its operation, or the services provided?
Questions related to the Fire Department can be directed to our office at 810.664.0833 between the hours of 8:00 am-4:30pm, Monday-Friday. If you are unable to call during these hours, you can leave a voicemail and it will be forwarded to the appropriate party who will respond as soon as possible. You can also contact the department via email at email@example.com.
Does the Fire Department offer CPR classes or provide blood pressure checks?
As the department is not tasked with providing emergency medical services, we do not offer CPR classes or do blood pressure checks. If you are looking for these, please contact Lapeer County EMS at 810.664.2927 or MedStar Ambulance at 586.468.6510.
How can I get a Fire Department patch or shirt?
Neither department patches nor shirts are available to the public through sale or trade.
Can I purchase a reflective address sign from the Fire Department?
The department does not make or sell address signs. Reflective address signs can be purchased at home improvement and hardware stores, or at stores such as Meijer and Walmart.
Where can I get my child’s car seat inspected?
The following law enforcement agencies in Lapeer County provide this service:
- Lapeer Police Department - 810.664.0833
- Lapeer County Sheriff Dept. - 810.664.1801
- Michigan State Police - 810.664.2905
Does the Fire Department refill fire extinguishers?
The department does not refill or repair fire extinguishers. You will need to contact a fire extinguisher company for this. There are companies listed in the Yellow Pages Directory and you can also do an online search. Most companies charge a nominal fee for this service. As an added note, if your extinguisher has a plastic neck, it may not be possible to refill the extinguisher.
Does the Fire Department empty or fill up swimming pools?
The department does not offer this service. Companies that provide these services can be found in the Yellow Pages or online.
Can I use a fire hydrant to fill my pool?
The Department of Public Works is responsible for the care, use and maintenance of all fire hydrants in the City. If you want to use a fire hydrant for any purpose, contact the DPW offices at 810.664.4711.
Why is the top of my fire hydrant a different color than the one down the street?
Hydrant tops are painted to indicate the available water in gallons per minute:
- Red - Less than 500 gallons per minute
- Orange - 500-999 gallons per minute
- Green - 1,000-1,499 gallons per minute
- Blue - 1,500 + gallons per minute
There is a fire hydrant in my front yard. Can I paint it a different color? Can I plant bushes or flowers around it?Fire hydrants may not be painted by residents or businesses. They are painted by the Department of Public Works to identify the amount of water available.
As access to fire hydrants must remain clear at all times and because they must be visible, the City’s Fire Code requires a minimum of three (3) feet of clear area around hydrants at all times. If you wish to plant any bushes, flowers, or other foliage near a fire hydrant, we suggest that you contact us prior to planting anything. The Fire Marshal or Fire Inspector will arrange a time to meet with you to discuss your plans and to ensure no code violations exist.
I saw a fire engine go through an intersection with the red lights and siren on and they turned them off as soon as they got through the intersection. Why did they do that?
We only respond “emergency” (red lights and sirens) to actual emergency calls. Sometimes as we are responding to a call, the call is cancelled or is downgraded to non-emergency (no red lights and sirens) status because the situation is no longer an emergency or there is no need for that particular truck/vehicle to continue to respond in an emergency fashion.
I see fire trucks driving through my neighborhood or around town/townships. There doesn’t appear to be any emergency so what are they doing?
These personnel are most likely doing some type of training. Frequently new personnel and/or personnel learning to drive our trucks will be out with an experienced driver or officer learning the operation of the truck/equipment. They may also be out training on street familiarization, hydrant or fill site locations, or pre-incident planning.
What do different colored fire helmets signify?
Helmet colors are used to help identify the rank of the individual. Within our department, the following colors are used:
- Black - Firefighter
- Yellow - Health & Safety Manager
- Red - Lieutenant or Captain
- Green - Chaplain
- White - Chief Officer
Why do firefighters break windows and cut holes in roofs when the fire is inside a building? It seems that they are causing more damage than the fire.
Fire in a building can create a lot of heat and smoke. In many cases, firefighters must remove the heat and smoke before they can get close enough to put out the fire. Heat and smoke rise, so cutting a hole in the roof and/or breaking out windows in planned locations allows the smoke to vent up and out, allowing cool air to enter the building from below. This is called “ventilation”. It also improves visibility and lowers heat conditions for the firefighters inside, allowing them to safely extinguish the fire. Heat and smoke can also cause extensive damage, and utilizing proper ventilation can actually reduce overall damage to a building and its contents.
I recently received a telephone call asking for a donation that would benefit the Fire Department. Who receives the donations?
Our department does not solicit donations via the telephone. All department funding comes from the City’s General Fund. If someone has contacted you by telephone soliciting a donation, or if you suspect that you may be the target of a scam, contact the Lapeer Police Department at (810) 664-0833 if in the City, or the Lapeer County Sheriff’s Dept at (810) 664-1801 or the Michigan State Police at (810) 664-2905 if in a township.
Why are the tornado sirens going off?
The tornado sirens are activated any time that the National Weather Service issues a Tornado Warning for Lapeer County. They are also activated for testing purposes on the first Saturday of the month at 1:00 p.m. from April through October. Testing does not occur when severe weather is present to avoid confusion. When the sirens are activated, they cycle for 3 minutes. There is NO all clear signal. Occasionally, individual sirens are momentarily activated as part of routine preventative maintenance or repair.
What is a Knox-Box or Key-Box and how do I order one?
Knox products provide a secure way for firefighters and police officers to gain immediate entry into commercial properties without forced entry damage or delay. Keys for facility doors, access cards, and contact information can be kept in high-security Knox Boxes mounted near building entrances. Each Knox Box installed in the City of Lapeer or in Lapeer Township is keyed to a master key specific to each municipality. Contact the Fire Marshal’s office at 810.664.0833 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Do I need a Knox-Box for my business?
The City of Lapeer and Lapeer Township Fire Codes both require key boxes for certain business, commercial, and industrial occupancies. Contact the Fire Marshal’s office at 810.664.0833 or at email@example.com for information specific to your business.
Who do I call if I think there is a fire hazard in a building?
You can contact the Fire Marshal’s office at 810.664.0833 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I cook with a Barbecue Grill on my apartment’s balcony?
Use of charcoal or wood grills is prohibited on any apartment balcony by the City’s Fire Code. The use of some propane grills may be permitted; however, you need to check with your apartment manager prior to any use. Most apartment buildings prohibit the use of any grill on any balcony.
What’s the requirement for address display at my business?\
The City’s Fire Code requires that the numbers and/or letters must be displayed on the building or on the property, be at least 6 inches high and on a contrasting background so that they are clearly visible from the street.
My neighbor has junk, debris and other items stored on his property which I think creates a fire hazard. What can be done to remedy this condition?
Potential blight issues are the responsibility of the Police Department’s Code Enforcement Officer. He can be contacted at 810.664.0833. If necessary, he will work with the Fire Marshal’s office to rectify the situation.
How do I report a fire hazard such as blocked fire lanes, locked exit doors, over grown weeds, etc.?
Please contact the Fire Marshal’s office at 810.664.0833 or at email@example.com.
What size fire extinguisher do I need for my business and where should it be placed?
The Fire Marshal’s office can help with determining the correct type of extinguisher, the number needed, and placement location(s). This and other extinguisher related questions can be answered by contacting us at 810.664.0833 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is required prior to moving my business to a new location?
City of Lapeer - Changing locations may require input from several City departments (Building, Clerk, DPW, Fire, Planning, Police) depending on the business type and new location. We suggest that you contact the Planning Department at 810. 664.4553 as they will be able to answer specific questions and put you in touch with the other departments as applicable.
Contracted Townships - You need to contact the applicable township office regarding their requirements. We also appreciate hearing from you about your move as it allows us to update our pre-incident plans for the facility.
Why does the Fire Department perform inspections on my business?
The best way to prevent a fire is to keep them from occurring. Routine fire safety inspections are one of the most effective ways to do that. The Fire Department conducts fire safety inspections at all business, commercial and industrial facilities in the City of Lapeer and Lapeer Township (Mayfield Township has its own inspection program). An integral part of our inspection program is educating owners, managers, and employees on common fire hazards and ways that they can help to prevent fires.
How often will my business or property be inspected?
We do our best to inspect all businesses annually.
How much will the inspection cost?
City of Lapeer - There are no fees for the annual inspection or one re-inspection. Fees ranging from $25-$175 will be assessed if additional re-inspections are required to confirm all violations have been corrected.
Lapeer Township - The fee for the annual inspection is based on the square footage of the occupancy, and one re-inspection is included at no additional charge. For example, the fee for a facility that is 4,200 square feet would be $65. Additional re-inspections are $40 each regardless of size.
How long do I have to correct the fire code violations noted on an Inspection Report?
At the completion of each inspection, the Fire Inspector or Fire Marshal try to meet with the owner, manager, or employee in charge to review/explain any violations that were identified, to answer any questions, and to provide a timeline on when the violation(s) need to be corrected. Unless a violation requires immediate attention due to its severity, you will typically have 14-30 days to have the violations corrected. A re-inspection will be conducted to verify compliance. Should you believe that more time may be needed to correct a violation, you can contact the Fire Marshal’s office prior to the due date and request additional time.
Can I schedule a Courtesy Inspection or Fire Code Consultation?
Yes. Property or business owners who have fire safety questions or concerns are encouraged to contact us at (810) 664-0833 or at email@example.com. We will schedule a convenient time to stop by and address any questions or concerns you may have.
Fire Safety, Prevention & Education
Can I schedule a fire station tour?
We are happy to give tours of the fire station for groups or individuals. It is best if you call ahead and schedule a time to visit the station. This helps ensure that we have someone here that can show you around the station. Contact us at (810) 664-0833 to schedule a visit.
Who do I need to contact to request a fire truck visit or a fire safety presentation at my school, church, community organization, etc.?
You can contact us at (810) 664-0833 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your request will be forwarded to the department’s Public Education Coordinator, who will contact you to schedule the visit or presentation.
I’m looking for some fire related training for my employees. Do you offer this kind of training?
The department offers general or site specific safety training. Topics include General Fire Prevention, Business & Industrial Fire Safety, Prevention and Evacuation, Hotel Fire Safety, Tornado/Severe Weather Safety, and Portable Fire Extinguisher Training to name a few. Training can range from simply providing information on a topic for use by your in-house instructors to complete presentations provided by department personnel. There are no fees for this service, however there may be some costs associated with fire extinguisher training depending on the extent of the training provided. You can contact us at (810) 664-0833 or at email@example.com if you have questions or would like to schedule some training.
Do you offer free smoke alarms?
We typically have a limited number of smoke alarms that we can distribute to those who cannot afford them. If you have questions about obtaining a smoke alarm or if you have questions on where to install them, please contact us at (810) 664-0833 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do I need a smoke alarm in every room? How many do I need?
We recommend that that smoke alarms be placed in each bedroom, in the area or corridor immediately outside of sleeping areas, and on floors without sleeping areas, one should be placed in or near living rooms, dens, and family rooms. At a minimum, every level of every home should have at least one working smoke alarm, and each home should have at least one working carbon monoxide (CO) alarm.
How often should I change my smoke alarm batteries?
Unless the detector/alarm has a 10 year “lifetime” battery, the batteries should be replaced every six months. We recommend that you change your smoke alarm batteries every time you change your clocks. In addition to changing the batteries, your smoke alarms require minimal maintenance and should be regularly tested. Please review the installation/owner’s manual for maintenance and testing instructions specific to your smoke alarms. Should you have questions related to your smoke alarm, you can contact us at (810) 664-0833 or at email@example.com and we will do our best to assist you.
How often should I replace my smoke alarm?
Each manufacturer may have different recommendations for their products. General recommendations are that they be replaced at least every 10 years. Please refer to the installation/owner’s manual that came with your smoke alarm or visit the company’s web site for specific information.
Do I really need a CO (carbon monoxide) detector?
In most cases, the answer is YES. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless, colorless gas that can be deadly. It is a by-product of any fuel burning process. Many appliances such as furnaces, kitchen stoves, hot water heaters, generators, grills, automobiles, etc. produce carbon monoxide. When a faulty device or unusual condition exists, carbon monoxide may be vented into areas where people are present.
If your home uses natural gas, propane, fuel oil or wood for heating/cooking, the presence of carbon monoxide is a definite possibility. Because carbon monoxide is odorless, tasteless, and colorless gas, it may not be evident if it becomes a problem is the home. A CO detector/alarm can alert you and your family to this otherwise undetectable lethal gas. Signs and symptoms of CO poisoning includes headache, fatigue, nausea and drowsiness. These are all the same type of signs and symptoms of a typical cold or the flu. You could believe that you are “coming down with the flu”, not realizing that you could be being poisoned by CO. A CO detector/alarm could save your life.
What do I do if my CO detector/alarm goes off?
Check everyone in the house to see if they feel okay. Is anyone is feeling ill (dizzy, lightheaded, nauseated, headache, fatigue, etc.)? If someone is not feeling normal, evacuate the house and call 911. The fire department will be dispatched with CO monitoring devices to check your residence for the presence of carbon monoxide.
How often should I replace my CO detector/alarm?
Each manufacturer may have different recommendations for their products. General recommendations are that they be replaced every 5 years. Please refer to the installation/owner’s manual that came with your smoke alarm or visit the company’s web site for specific information.
My smoke alarm or CO detector/alarm is “chirping”. What should I do?
In most cases, “chirping” is indicative of a low battery. Replace the battery with a fresh one and see if that silences the alarm. If the alarm continues to “chirp”, it may need to be cleaned. Gently run a vacuum around the entire alarm. If it continues to “chirp”, it is likely that the alarm needs to be replaced. If you’re not sure what you should do, give us a call at (810) 664-0833 and we’ll do our best to help you.
Where can I learn more about smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms?
You can contact us at (810) 664-0833 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll do our best to answer your questions or guide you to those who can.
Where can I safely place a generator for use during power outages?
Generators should always be placed at least 15 feet from any opening like a window, door or vent around your home. The exhaust should be directed away from your home and your neighbors. Never run or use it inside your attached garage. If you have to run a generator, be sure to invest in a carbon monoxide detector/alarm to alert you to the presence CO. If you are unsure if the location you’ve selected is safe, contact us at (810) 664-0833 and we’ll arrange a time to stop by and check it for you.
Who do I call if my child is playing with fire?
We offer a juvenile fire setter program that is specifically geared towards children and adolescents. If you have questions regarding the program or would like to speak with someone about getting information, you can contact us at (810) 664-0833.
What type of fire extinguisher should I purchase for my home?
We recommend purchasing at least one (1) extinguisher for the home that is rated for Class A, B & C fires. These are designed to extinguish fires that typically occur in the home such as wood, paper, flammable liquids and greases, as well as electrical fires. If you would like assistance with choosing an extinguisher, you can contact us at (810) 664-0833 or at email@example.com.
Do you offer fire extinguisher training?
The department offers fire extinguisher training to individuals and businesses in our response area. You can contact us at (810) 664-0833 or at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn what types of extinguisher training is available.
Does the Fire Department provide “child locator” window decals?
Along with most national home and fire safety organizations, we do not provide or recommend the use of child locator or “tot-finder” window decals. Parents need to be aware of potential safety concerns with the use of these types of decals. The two most significant concerns with using these decals are:
- The decals might direct an intruder to the location of your children.
- If a child is no longer sleeping in the room (i.e., changes rooms or moves out), the decal frequently remains. This can lead to firefighters wasting valuable time trying to get a vulnerable family member out of danger who is not there.
What are the basic job requirements of a paid-on-call firefighter?
Duties include responding to fire, rescue, hazardous materials, and other calls for service that the department is dispatched to. Participating in public education activities, performing general maintenance at the station, on apparatus and related equipment are some other typical duties.
All paid-on-call personnel are required to respond to a minimum of 25% of the calls the department is dispatched to each year, and must attend a minimum of 66% of department training annually.
All employees must follow the policies, procedures, guidelines, and safety rules of the department and the City of Lapeer.
How much time does it take to be a paid-on-call firefighter?
It varies from week to week and on call volume. On average, scheduled training takes 2-3 hours each week in addition to any extra training that may be required. We average about 315 calls each year. While some calls require multiple hours, many are completed in one hour or less.
If hired, what will my training cost me? Will I have any out-of-pocket costs?
There is no cost to you; all training, equipment, uniform, and medical evaluations are provided without cost to you.
I’m interested in becoming a paid-on-call firefighter. How often does the Fire Department take applications for paid-on-call firefighter positions?
The department generally accepts applications and tests for these positions once each year. This process generally takes places in the spring.
What are the minimum qualifications to apply for a paid-on-call position?
General requirements of all applicants include:
- Being a U.S. citizen
- Be at least 18 years old
- Having a high school diploma or equivalent
- Possessing a valid State of Michigan Drivers License
- Residing in our primary response area at the time of appointment
- Be a non-user of any tobacco product as of the date of hire
What can disqualify an applicant from becoming a paid-on-call firefighter?
- Felony conviction(s) (some misdemeanor convictions can also be disqualifying)
- Dishonorable military discharge
- Physically incapable of performing the essential job functions of a firefighter
What does the application process consist of? Are there any tests?
Each year (typically in late March), hiring notices are run in the LA View newspaper and are posted on the department’s website and Facebook page. Once the application period opens, interested persons are required to complete a City of Lapeer employment application. Applications are generally accepted through mid-April.
Provided the initial review of the application determines eligibility, applicants are required to take and pass a general aptitude/intelligence pre-employment test at the Fire Department offices. This is normally done at the end of April. These tests are graded, with those scoring 70% or higher being eligible for physical agility testing.
In early May, those selected to participate in the physical agility testing are fitted with appropriate personal protective equipment to be worn during the testing. After a thorough review of the requirements for each station, applicants individually begin the eight (8) station agility test. Each station is pass/fail, with anyone failing a station being removed from further consideration during that hiring cycle. Upon successful completion of the physical agility testing, applicants proceed to an individual question and answer session with an interview board consisting of department firefighters and officers. This board rates each applicant based on their answers to a set list of questions.
The results of the physical agility testing and ratings from the interview board are forwarded to the Fire Chief. After he has reviewed each, he selects those who will be asked to participate in a second interview. The second interview is conducted by the Fire Chief and the two Assistant Chiefs. At the conclusion of these interviews, the Fire Chief makes tentative offers of employment to those he has selected for the available positions. This part of the process is usually completed by the end of May.
Those who receive tentative offers are required to have a medical examination (including drug testing) to confirm that they are physically able to perform the duties of a firefighter as required by the department. This is determined by the department’s medical examining physician. In addition, the applicant’s references are contacted, and a thorough background check is conducted related to criminal record, driving record, and personal history.
Provided that the applicant is cleared medically and there is no reason for disqualification found, applicants typically begin their employment as a probationary paid-on-call firefighter in late June or early July.
If I get hired, what happens next? How am I trained?
A newly hired firefighter with our department begins with our new employee orientation process. The “how, when, where, and why” questions are answered and initial expectations are outlined. Each is assigned to a supervisor (lieutenant) and a mentor (firefighter), who will help them become acclimated to our department and assist with their training. We have a probationary training program that is designed to train the new employee on the basics of being a firefighter and what we expect from them.
In October, new firefighters begin Firefighter I & II training. This training is conducted by State certified instructors through the Lapeer County Fire Association. This training is held on Monday and Thursday evenings, with at least one weekend day also scheduled each month. The training typically runs through April of the following year, and concludes with certification testing consisting of written and practical exams. The ability to attain certification at the Firefighter I & II levels within 12 months is a condition of continued employment.