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Fire FAQ's

Why does a fire truck come when you call for an ambulance?

Because firefighters can and do get there first, and time is critical in a medical emergency. Every Davenport Fire fighter is cross-trained in Emergency Medical Services. What does that mean to you, a citizen dialing 911?

In the early days, fire stations were strategically located so the crews could quickly get to burning buildings. Obviously, time is an important aspect of firefighting because flames can rapidly spread through a building. The ability to quickly respond to a fire provides more time to rescue people inside and save property by suppressing the blaze in the early stages. It soon became apparent that the firefighter's ability to "get there fast" could be used for other types of emergency response, such as heart attacks, strokes, and trauma.

Four minutes is a critical time frame for someone who has experienced a heart attack, injury, or other illness that makes them stop breathing. The heart and brain have a better chance of full recovery if they receive oxygen in four minutes or less. After that, a person can suffer brain damage or worse. Our firefighters, many of them educated to the level of paramedic, can use life saving techniques including defibrillation and medications to help prevent death or permanent injury. These life saving techniques are much more effective if they can get to a patient within the first four minutes.

Each Davenport Fire Station is part of a much larger, intricate dispatch system. The system is designed to provide adequate emergency coverage for the citizens who live here, by carefully managing response resources. Fire stations are not isolated or randomly located. They are strategically positioned to provide the best coverage with the least expenditure of resources.

When you dial 911 for a medical emergency, expect a Davenport fire truck. The expertise that they bring is truly life-saving.

Why does the Fire Department bring the fire engine just for a simple inspection?

Two reasons: First, these inspections are conducted by on-duty engine companies that must be ready to respond to an emergency call from the field. Second, an important part of the value of the public safety inspection is to familiarize your local firefighters with the buildings and business in Davenport. While they check for hazards and consult with business owners on how best to eliminate or minimize the likelihood of a fire, they also familiarize themselves with access points and the layout of the facility.


Firefighters ventilate smoke, super-heated, poisonous, or explosive gases for safety and visibility. This allows firefighters to get inside the building to find and extinguish the fire, thereby reducing property damage. This also reduces the chance of a possible dangerous explosion.

Why do you block traffic lanes at auto accidents, sometimes more lanes than necessary?

We block traffic lanes for the safety of our personnel and our patients. Blocking extra lanes keep our personnel safe when they go back to our apparatus to get more equipment and help protect the victim we are trying to stabilize. Over 25 firefighters are killed or injured each year while working at incidents on streets and highways.

Why am I not supposed to drive over a firehose?

Firefighters are very concerned about running over firehoses because the hose can be damaged and any firefighter at the end of a nozzle will have the water interrupted and possibly cause injuries or death. Any hose that is driven over without protection has to be taken out of service and tested.

Why do I need to keep weeds and bushes away from fire hydrants on my property?
Weeds and bushes should be kept three feet from fire hydrants for visibility and accessibility.

Can you get my cat out of a tree?

The Fire Department does not assist in rescuing animals. Citizens may contact Animal Control. The telephone number is (563) 388-6655.

How do I schedule a Fire Drill?

Training is provided by the Davenport Fire Department. We can assist you in organizing and conducting an orderly evacuation and evaluating results with management of the facility. To schedule a Fire Drill, contact DFD Fire Prevention Bureau at (563) 326-7914

What if I smell Gas in my home?

Get out of the house immediately, and then call 9-1-1 for the Fire Department from outside of the house or from a neighbor's house. The use of a phone could cause the gas to ignite if you called from inside the house.

Why do firefighters work 24-hour shifts?

Firefighters work 24-hour shifts, because unlike police, firefighters cannot go out and perform training, inspections etc. during the nighttime. It would take more firefighters to cover 8 hour shifts. Firefighters in Davenport work a 56-hour work week and the 24-hour shift allows this. This type of schedule is the most cost-effective and common work schedule to provide fire protection.

Why do we see fire department crews at the store?

Because the crews work a 24-hour shift, they must eat their lunch and dinner at the station. Most of the time, firefighters all prepare and eat the same meal as a group. The crews pay for their food out of their own pockets. So, after the equipment is checked and the housework completed, one of the fire trucks will then make a quick trip to the grocery store to purchase the food for the shift. All crews remain in service to respond to calls during this time.

What other responsibilities do firefighters have other than fighting fires?

Emergency calls represent only about fifteen percent of the work of a typical fire department in Davenport. The number of residential and commercial fires has steadily decreased over the years due to a variety of factors including improvements in construction, a greater public awareness of the risk factors leading to fires, and a significant reduction in smoking nationwide. Fires, however, are only some of the emergencies to which the Fire Department responds. Nearly eighty percent of the Fire Department's emergency responses are, in fact, calls for medical aid, including illness/accidents at home and work, and injuries resulting from vehicle crashes. Other calls for emergency response involve hazardous materials releases, technical rescues, response to fire alarms and other calls for public assistance. Firefighters also spend much of their time maintaining equipment, doing routine public safety inspections for businesses and rental housing, training for all types of emergency responses and filling out the reports and paperwork associated with these activities.

What should I do when I see or hear an emergency vehicle coming towards me when I'm driving?

When it is safe to do so, you should pull over to the right and stop until all emergency vehicles have safely passed. If you cannot safely maneuver to the right, simply stop and stay stopped so the vehicles can go around you safely.

My smoke detector is chirping, what does that mean?

Most modern smoke detectors will chirp to alert you that the batteries are low.  When this occurs, you should replace the batteries and test your smoke detector. Smoke detectors can be purchased at any hardware or large commercial department store.

How often should I change the batteries in my smoke detectors?

We recommend you change the batteries in your smoke detectors every 6 months;  an easy way to remember is to change the batteries when you reset your clock for daylight savings time.

Does the Fire Department fill fire extinguishers?

Davenport Fire Department is not equipped to fill fire extinguishers at this time. However, you can find local fire extinguisher businesses in the yellow pages to refill them.

Can I burn leaves in my yard?
No, city ordinance prohibits outside burning leaves within the city limits.

Can I have recreational fire in my backyard?
If you follow our "Burn / No Burn" policy, you can have a recreational fire in your backyard.

Can I ride along with the Fire Department?

Yes, citizens can request to ride along on a fire engine. For more information contact the Public Education Division at 563-326-7907. 

How much does a Fire Truck cost responding to a fire?

Fire Engines and Ladder Trucks are supported by taxpayer revenues, and there is no additional charge to residents for this response.

How do I sign up for a First Aid or CPR class?

Davenport Fire Department does not currently offer First Aid or CPR Classes to the public. You can, however, contact the local community college to gain these lifesaving skills.