Commonly Asked Questions


Why do fire engines respond to medical emergencies?

All Monroe Fire Department firefighters are trained to handle medical emergencies.  In many cases, the fire department may be able to respond to a medical emergency and arrive on the scene before the ambulance.  The arrival of firefighters in the fire engine allows them to provide emergency medical care much more quickly and helps to ensure that firefighters are ready to answer other emergency situations that may occur.  The next emergency call could occur before the firefighers can return to their fire station.

Why do we see fire department crews at the grocery store or restaurants?

Because the firefighters work a twenty four hour shift, they often eat at the fire station.  The firefighters prepare and eat their meals as a group, just as many families do.  Before the preparation, the menu must be selected and the food is purchased at the grocery store.  The firefighters pay for their food out of their own pockets.

Many times, emergency calls for service, firefighter training or other responsibilities do not allow time for firefighters to prepare the meals in the fire station, so they eat at local restaurants instead.  The firefighters remain in service to respond to emergency calls during their meal times.  The need to remain in service makes taking the fire truck to the grocery store or restaurant a necessity.

Why do so many fire trucks respond to emergency calls?

There are many reasons that more than one fire truck may respond to an emergency call.  There are several different types of fire trucks that firefighters use to answer emergency calls.  An emergency such as a fire in a business may require as many as seven fire trucks and twenty five firefighters to extinguish the fire.  The fire trucks are important because they provide transportation for the firefighters, but they also carry certain equipment that may only be found on a particular type of fire truck.  Not all fire trucks carry the same equipment.  The expense of outfitting each fire truck with the equipment to handle every potential emergency is not cost effective.  Each fire truck is specially equipped and the crew assigned to it are trained to use that equipment.

Why does the fire department block more than one traffic lane at auto accidents?

The fire department blocks traffic lanes for the safety of emergency response personnel and the patients that we are assisting during the incident.  Blocking extra lanes ensure that firefighters are safe while they are removing equipment such as the “jaws of life” from the fire trucks.

More than twenty five firefighters are killed or injured each year in the United States while working at incidents on streets and highways.

What other responsibilities do firefighters have other than fighting fires?

Emergency calls represent only a small amount of the work of Monroe firefighters.  The number of fires has decreased within our community due to a variety of factors that include improvements in construction, a greater public awareness of the risk factors, and changes in the fire and building codes.  While the number of fires has decreased, the demand for emergency medical care has increased.  The emergency medical calls include illnesses, accidents in the home or workplace, and vehicle crashes.  Other calls for emergency response involve hazardous materials incidents, technical rescues, response to fire alarms and calls for other public service needs.  Firefighters spend much of their time maintaining equipment, training for various emergency response situations and conducting emergency response planning of businesses and industries in the community.  Firefighters also conduct fire safety and public education events.

My smoke alarm is making a chirping sound. What does that mean?

Smoke alarms will begin to chirp as the batteries no longer have adequate power.  The batteries provide the primary power source in battery operated smoke alarms and the backup power source in electric smoke alarms.  It is important that the battery is replaced in all smoke alarms at least one time per year.

In homes with more than one smoke alarm, each smoke alarm may be connected to the other, so that when one alarm activates, all of the smoke alarms in the home activate and alarm as well.  Do not remove the battery to silence the chirping unless you have replacement batteries for all of the smoke alarms.  You can also purchase smoke alarms with batteries that last for 10 years.  You will need to replace these smoke alarms after 10 years.

If you are unable to change the batteries in your smoke alarm and live within the City of Monroe, please contact the Monroe Fire Department.  We will gladly provide and replace the batteries in each of the smoke alarms within your home.  If your smoke alarm begins to sound a constant alarm, please evacuate your home and call 911 as quickly as possible.

Smoke Detectors Link



How many smoke alarms should I have in my home?

Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement and attic.

Larger homes may require additional smoke alarms to provide a minimum level of protection.

What to do if you have a cooking fire?

Always keep a lid nearby when you are cooking. If a small grease fire starts in a pan, smother the flames by sliding the lid over the pan. Turn off the burner. Do not move the pan. To keep the fire from restarting, leave the lid on until the pan has cooled.

Never pour water on a cooking pan grease fire.

Never discharge a portable fire extinguisher into a grease fire, it will spread the fire.

When in doubt, just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire. After you leave, call 9-1-1 from a cell phone or a neighbor’s telephone.


How to treat a burn?

Remove all clothing, diapers, jewelry, and metal from the burned area. These can hide underlying burns and retain heat, thereby increasing skin damage.

Treat a burn right away by putting it in cool water for 3 to 5 minutes. Cover with a clean, dry cloth. Do not apply creams, ointments, sprays, or other home remedies.

Go to your local emergency room, call 9-1-1, or see your doctor if the burn is:

(A) on the face, hands, feet, major joints, or genital area and/or bigger than the injured person’s palm

(B) white, tight, dry (leathery), or painless

(C) caused by chemicals or electricity

(D) causing difficulty breathing

See your doctor as soon as possible if the burn:

(A) does not heal in 2 to 3 days

(B) becomes foul smelling

(C) develops thick drainage, redness, or swelling

(D) causes a fever

(E) results in a large blister, wet weepy wound and/ or severe pain.



What are the rules on open burning in the City of Monroe?

Open burning in the City of Monroe is prohibited by local ordinance. However, application for a burning permit will be considered for the following:

Campfires, outdoor barbecues, wood bonfires on festive occasions, and open burning for land clearing under certain conditions. 

Burning permits will not be issued for

Building or demolition materials

Wood pallets


Household chemicals

Tires and other rubber products

 Paper and cardboard


Treated, painted, or finished wood



Asphalt materials

No permit will be issued for the burning of yard waste, such as leaves, brush, dead wood, tree cuttings, and weeds where public pickup service, is available.

For more information on solid waste pickup click here or call 704-282-4565

To apply for a burning permit Contact Fire Administration at 704-282-4726

117 North Chruch Street, Monroe, North Carolina 28110