Portsmouth Fire Department,  Emergency Dial 911, Portsmouth Fire Station 1, 170 Court Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801 Tel: (603)427-1515

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Fire Safety and Prevention

The mission of the Fire Prevention Bureau is to reduce risks to life and property from fire and other hazards.   This is performed through educational programs to inform residents about preventative actions which they can take to eliminate or reduce the causes of fire, inspection and enforcement of applicable fire prevention codes, and life safety plans review.

With the goal of instilling fire safety practices at an early age, the Fire Prevention Bureau routinely conducts educational programs throughout the City's elementary schools and kindergartens as well as hosting tours of the fire stations.   Industrial fire safety classes are provided to business and commercial operations upon request.

The Fire Prevention Bureau performs annual and other required life safety inspections of places of assembly, schools, day care facilities, and other locations throughout the city.

Tasked with origin and cause investigations for fires that occur within the city, the Fire Prevention Bureau works in conjunction with the Office of the State Fire Marshal to determine how and why the incidents occurred and work towards reducing or preventing their reoccurrence.

Fire Safety and Prevention

10 Fire Safety Tips

Install and Maintain Smoke Detectors
Smoke detectors warn you of fire in time to let you escape.   Install them on each level of your home and outside of each sleeping area.   Follow the manufacturer's directions, and test once a week.   Replace batteries twice a year, or when the detector chirps to signal that the battery power is low.   Don't ever take the battery out for other uses!

Plan and Practice Your Escape
If fire breaks out in your home, you must get out fast.   With your family, plan two ways out of every room.   Fire escape routes must not include elevators, which might take you right to the fire!  Choose a meeting place outside where everyone should gather.   Once you are out, stay out!  Have the whole family practice the escape plan at least twice a year.

Space Heaters Need Space
Keep portable space heaters at least 3 feet (1 meter) from paper, curtains, furniture, clothing, bedding, or anything else that can burn.   Never leave heaters on when you leave home or go to bed, and keep children and pets well away from them.

Be Careful Cooking
Keep cooking areas clear of combustibles, and don't leave cooking unattended.   Keep your pot's handles turned inward so children won't knock or pull them over the edge of the stove.   If grease catches fire, carefully slide a lid over the pan to smother the flames, then, turn off the burner.

A Match is a Tool for Adults
In the hands of a child, matches or lighters are extremely dangerous.   Store them up high where kids can't reach them, preferably in a locked cabinet.   And teach your children from the start that matches and lighters and lighters are tools for adults, not toys for kids. If children find matches, they should leave them where they are and tell an adult immediately.

Use Electricity Safely
If an appliance smokes or begins to smell unusual, unplug it immediately and have it repaired.   Check all your electrical cords, and replace any that are cracked or frayed.   If you use extension cords, replace any that are cracked or frayed; and don't overload them or run them under rugs.   Remember that fuses and circuit breakers protect you from fire: don't tamper with the fuse box or use fuses of an improper size.

Cool a Burn
If someone gets burned, immediately place the wound in cool water for 10 to 15 minutes to ease the pain.   Do not use butter on a burn, as this could prolong the heat and further damage the skin.   If burn blisters or chars, see a doctor immediately.

Everyone should know this rule: if your clothes catch fire, don't run!  Stop where you are, drop to the ground, and roll over and over to smother the flames.   Cover your face with your hands to protect your face and lungs.

Crawl Low Under Smoke
If you encounter smoke using your primary exit, use your alternate route instead.   If you must exit through smoke, clean air will be several inches off the floor.   Get down on your hands and knees, and crawl to the nearest safe exit.

Practice Candle Safety
The popularity of candles as home decorations in recent years, has resulted in an increase of candle related fires.   Some safe tips include: Never leave a lit candle unattended in any room of the house; never leave candles burning when you go to bed; and never use candles near combustible materials such as curtains, drapes, bedding and cabinets.


By planning ahead, you can do a lot to prevent a fire.   But, once a fire starts in your home, there are only three things to do: get everyone out of the house, close the door behind you, then, call 9-1-1 from a neighbor's home.   Don't go back into a burning building, no matter what.   If you thinks someone is trapped inside, tell the firefighters when they arrive.