Fire FAQ


PUblic safety

General Questions

Can I burn leaves in the City of Kentwood?

Burning leaves is not permitted in the City of Kentwood. 

During specific times of the year, the City has leaf drop-off available to residents at no cost. 

I saw a fire engine go through an intersection with the red lights and siren on and then turn them off. Why did they do that?

We only respond emergency vehicles with red lights and sirens to actual emergency calls. Sometimes when we are responding to a call we are cleared or downgraded to non-emergency, and we turn off the lights and sirens because the situation is no longer an emergency.

If you see an emergency vehicle, you should pull over and wait for the emergency vehicle pass. 

What am I supposed to do if I see an emergency vehicle with its red lights and siren on?

You are supposed to pull to the right, slow down and yield the right-of-way. It is also helpful to turn on you hazards or turn signal and, if possible, make eye contact with the emergency vehicle driver. Once the emergency vehicle has reached you do not make any sudden movements. This is very important at intersections. At this time the driver is trying to make his/her way through the maze of vehicles. The emergency vehicle driver will try and guide traffic so that they may pass through safely.

How do I get a copy of a fire report?

Contact the Kentwood Fire Department administrative offices to request a report.  




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

Firefighters can usually get there first, and time is critical in a medical emergency. Every full-time Kentwood firefighter is cross-trained in emergency medical services and licensed as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) or higher.

The Kentwood Fire Department is part of a larger system designed to provide adequate emergency coverage for our citizens by carefully managing response resources. Fire stations are strategically located to provide the best coverage with the least expenditure of resources. Firefighters frequently reach the patient quickly, provide basic life-saving treatment and stabilize the patient, so the ambulance company can use advanced treatment and transport the patient to the hospital, if necessary.

Why does the Fire Department bring the fire engine 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. Second, an important value of the inspection is to familiarize firefighters with the buildings and businesses in the City. 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.

Why do firefighters break out windows and cut holes in the roof during a fire?

Such openings allow release of smoke and dangerous gases from the building to improve firefighter 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 an explosion.

Why does the Fire Department block traffic lanes at auto accidents?

We block traffic lanes for the safety of patients and emergency responders. Blocking extra lanes keeps responders safe when they go back to 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?

Vehicles running over fire hoses can damage the hose and interrupt water flow. Any hose that is driven over has to be taken out of service and tested to make sure there are no leaks. Damaged hose that cannot be repaired has to be replaced.

Why do I need to keep snow, weeds and bushes away from fire hydrants on my property?

Snow, weeds and bushes should be kept three feet from fire hydrants for visibility and accessibility. If we cannot find a hydrant, we cannot use it.

Can you get my cat out of a tree?

The Fire Department does not assist in rescuing animals. Residents may contact Animal Control at 616.632.7304.

What if I smell gas in my home?
Leave the house and then call 9-1-1. The use of a phone could cause the gas to ignite if you call from inside the house.
Why do firefighters work 24-hour shifts?

It would take more firefighters to cover 8-hour shifts. Firefighters in Kentwood work a 52.5-hour work week to maintain 24/7 coverage at all three fire stations. 

Why do we see Fire Department crews at the store?
Because the crews work a 24-hour shift, they must eat meals at the station. After the equipment is checked and the station work is completed, a fire truck may go to the grocery store to purchase the food for the shift. All crews remain in service to respond to calls during this time.
What responsibilities do fire fighters have other than fighting fires?
Emergency calls represent only a portion of the work of the Kentwood Fire Department. The number of 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.

Over 70% of the Fire Department's emergency responses are 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 fire safety inspections, training for all types of emergency responses and completing required paperwork associated with these activities.
What should I do when I see or hear an emergency vehicle coming toward 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. If you are in an area where there is no room to pull over, such as a roundabout or street with a median and narrow shoulder (as on parts of Breton Ave.), keep moving until you reach a spot where you can move over and let the emergency vehicle pass. 

My smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector is chirping. What does that mean?
Most modern smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors will chirp to alert you that the batteries are low. You should replace the batteries and test your alarm. You may need to replace the alarm or detector. The Kentwood Fire Department may be able to assist you. Call 616.554.0827 to make an appointment.
Does the Fire Department fill fire extinguishers?

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

Will the Fire Department unlock my car if I left my keys in it?

The Fire Department will only unlock a car if there is a child locked inside since this is considered an emergency. 

What is the Fire Department's ISO rating?

The Insurance Service Organization (ISO) is an independent company that provides insurance companies, fire departments, communities and others information about risk. The organization periodically surveys communities to determine the Public Protection Classification (PPC) that may be used by insurance companies in setting rates for policy holders. 

Communities are assigned a public protection classification from 1-10, with 1 being the best. The City of Kentwood’s classification is 3. Comparisons with communities nationwide and in Michigan shows that Kentwood is among the top 8% in the U.S. and the top 2% in Michigan.