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The most important non-emergency function a fire department can provide for its community is to actively promote fire prevention.  Fire prevention activities are divided between fire inspections, fire investigations, and public fire education. 

Commercial properties are inspected by the Port Washington Fire Department each year, with most being inspected twice a year. Fire inspections often include the evaluation of sprinkler and fire alarm systems. Owners of the buildings, must furnish the fire department with plans of the systems for review. Once these systems are in place, testing, witnessed by the fire department, must be complete before occupancy is given. 

Public fire education has the most profound impact on a community’s fire prevention program.  A great deal of time is spent educating children with hopes that they will carry fire safety messages throughout their lives.  The department uses educational handout materials provided by the National Fire Protection Association during fire prevention school visits.

To reach the adult population, the fire department conducts an annual Open House during Fire Prevention Week in October. Fire safety educational materials are available to the attendees, as well as hands-on fire extinguisher training.



  • 50% of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.

  • 60% of  home fire deaths happen from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

  • Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fire injuries, followed by heating equipment.

  • Smoking materials are the leading cause of home fire deaths.

  • According to an NFPA survey, only 33% of Americans have both developed and practiced a home fire escape plan.  However, more than 50% have never practiced it.



  • Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half.

  • When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead.

  • An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, or where extra time is needed, to awaken or assist others, both types of alarms, or combination ionization and photoelectric alarms are recommended. 


  • 66% of home cooking fires started with ignition of food or other cooking materials.

  • Children under five face a higher risk of non-fire burns associated with cooking and hot food and drinks than of being hurt in a cooking fire.

  • Failure to clean was a factor contributing to ignition in 17% of reported home fires involving ovens or rotisseries.



  • The leading factor contributing to heating equipment fires was failure to clean. This usually involved creosote build-up in chimneys.

  • Just over 50% of home heating fire deaths resulted from fires caused by heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattresses or bedding.

  • In most years, heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires, fire deaths, and fire injuries.



  • Smoking materials started an average of 17,900 smoking-material home structure fires per year. These fires caused an average of 580 deaths, 1,280 injuries and $509 million in direct property damage.

  • Sleep was a factor in roughly 33% of the home smoking material fire deaths.

  • Possible alcohol impairment was a factor in 20% of home smoking fire deaths.

  • 25%  fatal victims of smoking-material fires is not the smoker whose cigarettes started the fire.







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