Frequently Asked Questions
- Outside Burning
- Chimney Inspections
- Fire Extinguisher Training
- Home and Workplace Safety
Burning of clean wood products is allowed in Rockland with a burning permit issues by the FD or online by the Maine Forest Service. Below are some of the conditions that are required for obtaining the permit:
- You must be the landowner or have express written permission from the owner to have the fire.
- Permits are only issued on the day of the actual intended burn to ensure safe weather conditions.
- The weather must be cooperative for a safe fire. This means little to no wind and the ground must contain some moisture.
- Most often the permit will require you have some protective measures such as shovels, rakes or other tools to assist you in safely managing the fire. Also most fires will require a charged garden hose or other extinguishment method is present. .
- Someone must be present at the fire at all times. If not, we will revoke the permit, extinguish the unattended fire, and summons the permit holder. Unattended fires or smoldering ashes lead to unintended fires and the permit holder will be liable for the associated costs of extinguishment.
- To obtain a burning permit you must come to the Fire Station or go online to the Maine Forest Service site:
- Permits issued at the station are free while those obtained online cost $7.00.
- Most often a call to the station (594-0318) before you come for a permit will allow us to give you some indication as to whether or not you will meet that day's requirement to burn.
- Only clean wood, leaves, grass, and debris may be burned. You may not burn painted wood, pressure treated wood, plastics, coated cardboard, paints, solvents, etc.
- You may not use gasoline, kerosene, diesel or other ignitable liquids to start the fire.
- You do not need a burning permit to have a cooking fire in a safe fire pit on your property. This does not allow you to clean the yard and burn it while keeping a bag of marshmallows nearby! We do recommend you call us to let us know you plan to have a fire, even for cooking, so as to minimize the chances of us showing up unexpectedly at your cookout when a well intentioned passerby reports smoke.
Download a Maine Department of Environmental Protection brochure on burning construction materials (PDF 110k).
The Rockland F.D. does offer chimney, woodstove and fireplace inspections to anyone interested. At this time, we are able to offer this service at no cost. All solid fuel burning appliances and chimneys are inspected for compliance with NFPA 211, the nationally recognized code. While these inspections often reveal deficiencies, strict compliance is not enforced in one and two family dwellings unless an egregious hazard is present, though it must be noted that a property owner should understand their homeowner’s insurance policy’s rules before overlooking any code issues. In all multiple dwellings or commercial properties code compliance is mandatory and deficiencies must be corrected in a timely manner as agreed upon between the F.D. and the owner. You may schedule a chimney or solid fuel burning appliance inspection by calling the F.D. at 594-0318.
Fire Extinguisher Training
The Life Safety Code requires that all businesses that have mounted fire extinguishers provide their employees with proper training. The Rockland F.D. currently provides this training at no cost. Classes usually take 30-45 minutes and include live fire evolutions where participants actually utilize fire extinguishers. Businesses must provide their own extinguishers for the hands on portion of the training. The training can be held either at your business or here at the Rockland fire station. Individuals may also request fire extinguisher training and we will try to accommodate by gathering a list of names and contacting you when a suitable class size is gathered. You may schedule fire extinguisher training by calling the Lieutenant Jamie Leo at the F.D. at 594-0318.
Home and Workplace Safety
The lamp contains a small amount of mercury, but you can clean this up yourself: the Maine Department of Environmental Protection has detailed instructions on how ( http://www.maine.gov/dep/rwm/homeowner/cflbreakcleanup.htm).
We have compiled a list of frequently found fire safety issues. For more information please contact us and we will do anything we can to help you establish or maintain a fire safe home or business.
Extension cords are made to be used as temporary devices and must be suitably sized for the appliance or device they are supplying. Common household extension cords are generally not suitable for powering heating appliances or devices that use a lot of electricity. Overloading extension cords causes them to heat to a point that could melt their covering and cause a fire. Another frequently found related issue is running extension cords under rugs, carpets or furniture, which allows them to heat up to unsafe levels. Generally speaking an extension cord that is used to power an appliance should be replaced by a suitable hardwired outlet within reach of an appliance’s factory installed cord.
One of the most important points of fire safety is maintaining safe ways to leave the building or home in a fire or smoke situation. This usually means ensuring all doors are readily accessible without moving any objects or furnishings, but can also mean utilizing windows. Frequently furniture blocks windows which may prevent an occupant from escaping when a door leads toward the fire or smoke. It is imperative that you have at least two ways to get out of any room that is normally occupied (living rooms, bedrooms, offices, etc.) There are some exceptions in the Life Safety Code to this, such as in sprinklered buildings or in bathrooms or closets, though two ways out is always a safe bet.
Time and again smoke detectors are proven to make the difference between escaping a fire or not. It is far too common for us to observe smoke detectors that either have no batteries or have been removed due to nuisance alarms. Smoke detectors are generally very accurate devices and nuisance alarms can be avoided by proper placement or replacing the device with one less prone to alarms from steam or “cooking smoke”. All smoke detector batteries should be changed twice a year to ensure proper operation. Changing your smoke detector batteries when you change your clocks is a great way to ensure their ready to protect you and your loved ones.
The Rockland F.D. wholeheartedly believes in fire sprinklers. The combination of fire sprinklers and smoke detection has been proven nationally to provide the highest margin of safety to humans from fire. There is a lot of misunderstanding about fire sprinklers, such as:
Myth #1: All sprinkler heads activate at once: In almost every case this is untrue. Fire sprinklers are designed to activate when the individual sprinkler head reaches a specific temperature. The activation of one head often suppresses the fire preventing further heating of other heads. Unlike fires in Hollywood movies and on television, sprinklers do not activate when smoke detectors go off or fire alarm systems are activated. The only thing that will activate a fire sprinkler is heat.
Myth #2: Insurance companies charge more for fire sprinklers due to potential water damage: The Maine State Fire Marshal’s Office conducted a survey of most major insurance carriers in Maine and found that not one raised their rates for buildings or homes equipped with fire sprinklers. In fact they found that the majority of insurance carriers fully recognized the benefit of sprinklers and gave an average discount of 15% on fire insurance premiums.
- Myth #3: There will be significant water damage if the sprinkler system activates: Most sprinkler heads only discharge 13-30 gallons of water per minute and most activations are limited to 1-3 heads for a total of 13 to 120 gallons of water per minute. Consider that if a fire occurs the sprinkler is like having a firefighter with a charged hose directly in the room with the fire and it will begin extinguishing the fire in less than two minutes. Without a sprinkler, fire can grow rapidly, frequently doubling in size every minute until someone arrives with a hose to begin suppressing it. This means the fire must be discovered, 911 must be activated, the F.D. must respond (our average time is 4.5 minutes from the time 911 is called), the crew must deploy a fire hose and begin fighting the fire. In this time the fire will have grown significantly and generally cause significant damage. The fire department’s hoses flow 150-180 gallons of water per minute. So we can conclude that without a fire sprinkler, the fire will be larger and require more water to extinguish, with damage being far greater all around. This also does not account for the safety of the occupants, who will have had much safer conditions in which to escape from the building with sprinklers present.
The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) is an excellent resource on the topic and hosts powerful video footage showing the benefits of sprinkler systems. We strongly urge everyone to learn how these systems can ensure your quality of life for years to come.
Because the Rockland F.D. provides EMS to the City and the residents of Owls Head, all our career personnel are cross trained. Due to staffing we attempt to cover as many scenarios as possible with personnel staffing multiple apparatus. This means that if an ambulance requires assistance, a fire truck may be utilized by the crew to respond while ensuring other emergencies can be efficiently covered. There are also many safety related issues that are addressed by sending a fire apparatus to assist EMS crews. These include time where forcible entry may be necessary to gain access to a patient or when the crew or patient maybe exposed to vehicular traffic and the fire truck is used as a barrier.