Fire Safety Q & As

Thank you for taking the time to test your knowledge and learn more about fire safety. Check out the answers below to understand more about how to be safe around your home. 

1. How can you protect yourself from a fire? 
A, B, C, and D are all correct.

  • Smoke alarms are a simple device that alerts you if there is smoke or fire in the home. For the best protection, smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your home, outside any sleeping areas (e.g. hallways), and in every bedroom. If possible, have all smoke alarms hardwired (with a battery backup) and interconnected.
  • Fire extinguishers can be an important protection feature but you must know how and when to use one to be effective. Only use an extinguisher if you know how to use it and you are comfortable using it. If you decide to use an extinguisher the fire should be small and confined. Be sure everyone is exiting the building and someone is calling 911. Always have a clear and safe escape route in case you are unable to extinguish the fire. When in doubt, get out!
  • Engage in fire safe behaviors. Understand what can be a fire hazard in and around your home. Fireplaces, candles, space heaters, grills, etc. are all great tools if used properly. Know where your fire hazards are and be sure to take the necessary precautions to avoid a fire.

In the event of a fire in your home, all family members should know what to do. Creating a home escape plan teaches everyone what to do in an emergency. A home escape plan should include two escape routes from every room in the house including doors and windows. Designate a meeting place outside where everyone will meet. Once outside, never go back in for any reason. Call 911 from a cell phone or a neighbor's house and remember to tell firefighters if everyone has made it safely outside. Be sure that every member of your household knows and has practiced this plan. For more details and to download your escape plan grid (PDF).

2. How often should you check your smoke alarms & carbon monoxide alarms?

B. It is recommended that residents test their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms on a monthly basis. Other basic maintenance includes checking your batteries when you change your clocks and cleaning off any dust or debris from the unit. Don't forget to check the date of manufacture (on the back of the alarm) to ensure the unit has not met its life limit. Check with the manufacturer for specific life limits but generally it is about 10 years for a smoke alarm and 5 to 7 years for a carbon monoxide alarm.

3. True or False. Loudoun County Department of Fire, Rescue & Emergency Management has a program that offers free home safety inspections?

True. Our "Put A Finger On It" smoke alarm program provides a free home safety inspection and installation or replacement of outdated or broken battery-operated smoke alarms at no cost to the resident. To request a visit go to Smoke Alarms page.

4. True or False. Your house address should be clearly posted with 4 inch numbers & easily seen from the street.

True. In an emergency, firefighters and EMTs are quickly responding to get you the services you need but if they cannot find you they cannot help you. Posting your address using large numbers on a contrasting background on the house and both sides the mailbox is a good place to start. If you live in a rural community and the house numbers are not visible from the street you should consider installing a larger sign at the end of your driveway. Help us help you in an emergency.

5. True or False. The burning of trash, garbage, & junk is prohibited in Loudoun County.

True. The burning of trash, garbage, and junk is never permitted in Loudoun County or within town limits.

Open air fires for leaves and tree, brush, yard and garden trimmings generated on-site may be allowed if done within the Open Burning guidelines. To learn more about open burning read the open burning frequently asked questions document (PDF).

6. With spring cleaning in full swing, how can you minimize the dangers of mulch fires around your home or place of business?

All responses are correct. The Virginia Department of Forestry recommends residents and business owners follow all the tips listed below.

  • Provide a minimum of an 18-inch clearance between landscaping mulch beds and combustible building materials.
  • Ensure proper clearance to electric devices, such as decorative lights by following the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Keep landscaping mulch beds moist if possible.
  • Consider using crushed rocks or stones instead of mulch up against your home.
  • Use metal or ceramic receptacles to discard your smoking materials and matches.
  • If you see anything smoldering in a landscape bed, put it out if you can do so safely and / or call 911.

7. What is the BEST way to enjoy & stay safe from fireworks?

C. Public fireworks displays are conducted by professional companies who are required to take necessary safety precautions to protect the safety of the public. This is the best way to enjoy fireworks.

If you choose to purchase fireworks, protect yourself by purchasing them from a permitted stand in Loudoun County. These fireworks have been tested and approved. Approval of fireworks does not mean that they are safe. Fireworks may only be used on private property with the consent of the owner. Fireworks obtained by mail order or that ‘Road Trip' may lead to seizure and criminal charges. A list of public displays and a list of approved stands and fireworks can be found at Fire Marshal page.

8. What is the number one cause of home fires?

B. Unattended cooking is the number one cause of homes fires. Stay in the kitchen while cooking food and set timers as a reminder that food is cooking or baking. Keep food packaging, towels, wooden utensils, etc. away from heat sources. Have a 3 foot "safety zone" around hot appliances for children and turn pot handles inward.

9. It is important that children learn their address & phone number at a young age?

True. Children can be taught how to call 911 in the event of an emergency when an adult is unable to do so. With cell phone use on the rise and standard telephone lines becoming less common , operators are unable to link phone numbers to addresses. It is critical that adults and children understand how to communicate their location so first responders can find them. There are easy ways to begin teaching your child their address and phone number at a young age.