Public Safety

Emergency Communications

Can the 911 Center communicate with deaf citizens?

Yes, the Emergency Communications Center is equipped with Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (TDD) that enables typed communications with deaf callers.

What should I do if my child or I dial 9-1-1 by mistake?

Do not hang up because we need to verify that you are ok! As soon as your call is placed, the call-taker can see your information and must confirm that there is not an emergency at your location. They also must verify your name, address and phone number. If you hang up and we cannot reach you, a police unit will be dispatched to your location.

What should I say to the dispatcher in the instance that I have an emergency and dial 9-1-1?

Immediately state the exact location and nature of the emergency. Remain as calm as possible, listen to the questions, speak clearly and listen to all instructions being given by the 9-1-1 dispatcher.

When should I dial 9-1-1?

9-1-1 is for emergencies only. You should dial 9-1-1 for any Police, Fire, or Medical Emergency –threat to life or property. If you have a non-emergency, you may contact Spotsylvania County dispatch at 540-582-7115.

Who does the 911 Center dispatch?

The Emergency Communications Center dispatches for the Sheriff's Office, Department of Fire and Rescue Emergency Services, Spotsylvania County Volunteer Fire Department and Volunteer Rescue Squad, and Chancellor Volunteer Fire Department. These departments serve a population of 94,021 over a 407-square-mile area.

Fire, Rescue & Emergency Management

A fire lane is blocked, who do I notify?

Contact the 9-1-1 Dispatch Office on their non-emergency line at (540) 582-7115.

Can I get my blood pressure taken at the firehouse?

Yes, blood pressure screening is available at all stations. No appointment is needed. More Information

Do I need a carbon monoxide detector in my home?

Yes, carbon monoxide is an oderless, colorless gas. Carbon monoxide can be caused by an improperly operating gas stove, gas water heater, oil or gas furnance, fire place or kerosense heater. If your carbon monoxide detector sounds, please exit your home and call 911 immediately.

Does FREM install Child Safety Seats?

At this time, FREM does not have certified child safety seat technicians.

Does FREM provide public education?

Citizens or groups interested in scheduling fire/EMS exhibits, Fire Safety House, or public education speakers should call FREM Training Division at (540) 507-7916 to make arrangements. Requests for availability can be made by contacting the fire/rescue station closest to the event location. Career and volunteer providers conduct programs at dozens of events throughout the year, as staffing permits. More Information

How can I report fire hazards?

Fire hazards, including hazards in the work place, hazardous waste, or any other problem that can be a fire hazard may be reported to the Spotsylvania County Fire Marshal's office during normal business hours at (540) 507-7900. To report a fire hazard after normal business hours, please call the non-emergency dispatch number at (540) 582-7115 and an on-duty fire marshal will be notified. All information pertaining to complaints is handled in a confidential manner.

How do I prepare an escape plan for my home?

The four basic steps to prepare an escape plan for your home includes: draw a floor plan of your home; agree on a meeting place; practice your escape plan; and make your exit drill realistic. For a brochure on Exit Drills In The Home (EDITH), call FREM Administration at (540) 507-7900.

How often do I need to change the battery in my smoke detector?

We recommend that residents change the batteries in smoke detectors every six months. A good time to change the batteries is during the spring and fall when daylight savings begins and ends.

I am disabled and in an emergency, I 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?

Please contact the 9-1-1 Dispatch Office on their non-emergency line at (540) 582-7115 so this information can be noted in our computer system. If there is ever an emergency at your address, we would be alerted to the fact that there is a disabled resident at that address.

I would like to have a bonfire at my next school, church, or other organization's event. Do I need a permit?

A permit is not required for a bonfire; however, the county has some basic guidelines on bonfires. The fire cannot be larger than 5'x5'x5' and cannot burn more than three (3) hours. You must also use seasoned wood. A bonfire must be attended at all times until completely extinguished!

I would like to have the fire department present a safety talk to my church, school, or other organization.

Please contact the fire station closest to your facility at least two weeks in advance of your event. Please note that our availability may be limited by other duties, and units may need to remain "in-service" for response to alarms. More Information

If the fire department or rescue squad needs to respond to my house, what is the best way I can make sure they find me?

When speaking with 9-1-1 dispatchers, give clear directions if your house is not clearly visible from the roadway and do not hang up until told to do so by the operator. Also, have your house number clearly visible on the front of your house with minimum 3" numbers that are illuminated at night. If you have a roadside mailbox, have your numbers clearly visible on the mailbox. If possible, have someone flag down the responding units as well.

What are the guidelines for an outdoor fireplace (Chimeneas)?

Like any fireplace, it is necessary to follow some basic fire safety guidelines. Your chimenea is not intended as a primary heat source. Never use gasoline, kerosene, starter fluids, or any other substances, which may create a rapid buildup of fire. Do not use within four feet of any combustible materials or high wind condition. If the chimenea is used on a wood deck, protect the deck with a non-combustible surface to catch the sparks or popping coals. A "UL listed stove mat" or "hearth board" are two examples and are available at many hardware stores. Screens to cover the firebox are also available. Most importantly, always closely follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer so that you may safely enjoy your chimenea for many years.

When an emergency vehicle is approaching that is displaying emergency lights and sirens, what should I do?

Safely pull to the nearest shoulder/curb and stop until the emergency vehicle has passed. Be aware that, at times, there may be more than one emergency vehicle that needs to pass.

Why do fire trucks respond to motor vehicle accidents and medical calls?

Automobile accidents present other hazards such as potential fire, ruptured fuel tanks, and/or the presence of hazardous materials. Spotsylvania County firefighters are trained as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) or Paramedics and can assist with patient care or in extricating (removing) trapped occupants of the vehicle. An engine company is automatically toned on those alarms that are serious in nature and may require additional staffing..

Why do fire trucks with full lights and sirens stop and then proceed through a red light at intersections and then, after they go through, they turn off their lights and slow down?

Sometimes multiple units are dispatched to the same incident. The first-arriving unit on the scene performs an assessment and notifies the dispatcher of the situation and what equipment should continue or be canceled from the incident. This maximizes our use of resources, freeing emergency units to potentially take another call. Most likely, when you see an emergency vehicle with red lights and sirens stop and then proceed through an intersection and then slow down and turn the emergency lights off, they have been cancelled from the call to which they were responding.

Why is my smoke detector making a chirping noise?

Anytime your detector goes off, it is important to pay attention. If the detector is sounding a loud alarm because it senses the presence of smoke, check your home thoroughly. If you smell smoke or are unable to locate a fire, call 911. If you don't smell smoke, the detector may be reacting to the presence of dust, steam, or a small insect. Dust and bugs can be removed by a vacuum cleaner. If the detector is just chirping, it probaly means that the battery is low. Replace the battery immediately. Batteries should be changed every six (6) months. A good time to change batteries is during "daylight savings time."

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