This is where you can find the answers to various frequently asked questions concerning our fire department, what it means to be a fire fighter, and what you should do in certain fire-related situations. We hope that this page answers any question(s) you may have, and if it doesn’t, please feel free to contact us!

What exactly do firefighters do?

Firefighters do just about everything. We respond to the full range of emergency situations. Our number one priority is to help others, this of course includes putting out fires, but also involves providing medical care to people.

Here is a well done video from some fellow firefighters explaining some of the different roles that firefighters play.

How does one become a firefighter in Buffalo?

The City of Buffalo, New York is protected 24 hours a day, seven days a week by well trained NYS certified professional firefighters. If one wanted to join this prestigious profession and help serve the citizens of Buffalo they need to compete on a civil services exam administered by the division of Human Resources of the City of Buffalo.

Here is a link to the Civil Service website.

What’s the protocol for when I see or hear an emergency vehicle coming my way while I’m driving?

New York State law requires that as soon as you see lights, vests, or reflectors, check traffic around you, slow down and safely move over. Drivers must use due care when approaching an emergency vehicle or hazard vehicle including police vehicles, fire trucks, ambulances, construction and maintenance vehicles and tow trucks. The Move Over Law applies to both sides of the roadway, not just the shoulder on the right.

Here is an interesting video on the importance of moving over.

When is the ideal time to change the batteries in my smoke detector?

Smoke detector batteries should be changed twice a year. This insures that they are ready to work when needed. A fantastic way to remind us to change our batteries is to do this when we change the clocks within our homes for daylight savings time. Additionally, all homes should have carbon monoxide detectors, and these batteries should be changed bi-annually as well.

There are some new smoke/carbon monoxide detectors on the market now have a ten-year battery built into them, these detectors should still be checked bi-annually for operational effectiveness.

Testing the best smoke detector for your family

What can I do in the event of a fire?

Preplan this! When a fire occurs this should not be the first time your thinking about how to react to an emergency situation. Stay low and go. If you can get out do so, on the way out warn others in the house. Once safely outside call 911.

Fire safety video for kids

Where can I get my fire extinguisher refilled?

All homes should have a fire extinguisher. They should be checked bi-annually at a minimum for operational capacity. The best way to check an extinguisher is to check the indicator on the side by the handle.
If you find that your extinguisher is low (not in the green) then it should be refilled or simply replaced. Many big box stores and home improvement stores sell replacements. There are different styles of extinshies, an ABC type should cover most fires within a home. Although not endorsed by this website, Dival Safety offers refilling services.

To use a fire extinguisher, remember the acronym PASS:

  • Pull the pin
  • Aim
  • Squeeze the handle
  • Sweep the nozzle

What do I do if there is an oil fire on my stove?

  • Turn the Heat Off – Don’t try to move the pot. You might accidentally splash yourself or your kitchen with burning oil. And that would be bad.
  • Cover the Pot with a Metal Lid – Fire cannot exist in the absence of oxygen. With the lid on (and the heat off), the fire should quickly consume all the oxygen and put itself out. Use a metal lid since glass will shatter.
  • Pour on Baking Soda – Baking soda will extinguish grease fires, but only if they’re small. It takes a lot of baking soda to do the job.
  • Spray the Pot with a Class B Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher – This is your last resort, as fire extinguishers will contaminate your kitchen. Still, it’s better than the alternative if the fire is getting out of control.
  • Get Out and Call 911 – If the fire does break out of control, don’t try to be a hero. Get out and find a phone to call 911.

Whatever you do, DO NOT do the following:

  • Do Not Use Water – Pouring water can cause the oil to splash and spread the fire. The vaporizing water can also carry grease particles in it, also spreading the fire.
  • Do Not Move the Pot or Carry It Outside – Throwing the pot outside might seem logical in the frenzy of the moment. But trying to move the pot might splash burning oil on you, your home, and anything outside.
  • Do Not Throw Any Other Baking Product On the Fire – Flour might look like baking soda, but it won’t react the same. Only baking soda can help put out a grease fire.