Fire Safety

Fire Safety Tips for the Rural Homeowner

A greater distance from fire protection

rf1The City of River Falls Fire Department and the Rural Fire Association work together to protect citizens of River Falls and surrounding towns from fire and related hazards. As a rural homeowner, you are at a greater distance from fire protection and should take every precaution to prevent a fire on your property or in your home.

Wood Stoves

rf3Wood stoves are popular sources of heat in our area. Use yours safely-consider the following factors.

  • Don't place the stove in an area of high traffic.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire at least 36'' from the stove.
  • Don't dry clothing over the stove-clothes can fall and ignite.
  • Install your stove in accordance with local regulations and those suggested by the manufacturer.
  • Ensure proper ventilation in the house.
  • Avoid placing ashes near combustible materials before you're are certain all burning embers are out.
  • Inspect and clean the stove, chimney connector, and chimney at least once a year.
  • Check twice monthly for creosote buildup in your chimney connector and chimney.
  • Never use or store flammable liquids, especially gasoline, in the vicinity of the stove.
  • Burn only seasoned wood-green wood burns inefficiently and causes a buildup of creosote.
  • Be aware of the dangers of CO poisoning, which can occur due to incomplete combustion in your wood stove, furnace, or appliances. CO detectors are available in stores.


rf2Our community's excellent fire fighting force and equipment will be of no avail to you should your home and/or property be inaccessible to them. Make sure your driveway remains unobstructed!

Your driveway should be at least 20' wide to accommodate emergency equipment. It is also necessary to have 13'6" of vertical clearance, as well. Any bridges or culverts in your drive should be approved by the fire department.

Turning radius and driveway gradient must also meet with fire department approval.

Be certain to keep your fire number visible! Teach your children about 911 and how to give the emergency operator directions to your location!

Smoke detectors

rf4The National Fire Alarm Code states that homes must have smoke detectors on every level of the home, including the basement, and outside each sleeping area. Detectors should be placed on the ceiling at least 4 inches form the nearest wall, or high on the wall, 4-12 inches from the ceiling. This 4-inch minimum is important to keep detectors out of possible "dead air" spaces because hot air is turbulent and may bounce so much it misses spots near a surface.

  • Test your detector at least once a month.
  • Replace smoke detector batteries once a year.
  • Clean your smoke detector regularly-follow manufacturer's instructions.

Home Fire Drills

Talk with your family about the exits from each room in your house-both doors and windows. Decide on a meeting place outside should a fire occur. Emphasize: never go back inside a burning building for any reason.

Brush Fires

  • rf6Always obtain the proper permits before burning any brush or grass. This includes contacting an official of your town for a burning permit and notifying your county dispatch center for fire/ambulance (715) 273-5051. This will prevent unnecessary costs-all fire calls, even false alarms, are currently billed at $800.
  • Avoid burning on windy days or during dry spells.
  • Create a safety zone around your house and buildings.  Clear flammable vegetation within at least a 30-foot radius of your home to create a firewise landscape.
  • Stack firewood away from your home.