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FAQs

Questions about Burning:

Am I allowed to burn yard debris inside the City of The Dalles?

Yes. Burning within the City of The Dalles is controlled by their ordinances and outside the control of the Fire District. Burning within the city is limited to small yard debris piles and only during two burn periods each year. These periods are April 1 to May 14 for spring cleanup and October 16 to December 1 for fall cleanup.

Are burn barrels allow inside the City of The Dalles?

No. By city ordinance, burn barrels have been banned from use in the city.

I live outside the city limits of The Dalles, when can I burn yard debris and use my burn barrel?

Burning outside the city is controlled by Fire District ordinance. Burning is allowed generally starting in the fall, around mid-October and to May 15th and during daylight hours only. Starting May 15th until burning is banned for wildland fire season, all fires must be completely out by 11:00 AM each day.

Can I burn garbage?

No. You can never burn garbage. Those types of materials must be either picked up by a solid waste management company or hauled to the transfer station/dump. Burning garbage can create harmful fumes bad for the environment and foul-smelling smoke that is offensive to your neighbors.

What type of materials can I burn?

Burning is limited to yard debris or landscaping materials in piles as well as paper/cardboard in a burn barrel. Burn barrels must always have a screen to keep paper and embers from being carried outside the barrel.

Why do I have to pay for my burn permit?

As with all things, it costs the fire district staff time, materials, and other costs to provide the burn permit to district taxpayers. We charge a small fee to recover those costs.

Can I have a fire pit, bonfire, or other recreational fire?

This one is a little tricky. While there are no ordinances, laws, or codes that forbid recreational fires at private dwellings, even during a burn ban, if you decide to use a fire pit and you cause a fire to extend beyond the confines of the fire pit, you can be held liable for firefighting costs as well as be responsible for payment of damages should the fire destroy the property of another individual.

 

Fire Marshal Questions:

How can I get copies of fire inspections in The Dalles?

You may contact the Fire Marshal at jwood@mcfr.org or by calling 541-296-9445.

How do I obtain a copy of a fire report?

Please contact our Office Manager by calling 541-296-9445. If you are the property owner or occupant, you can receive a copy of the report at no charge. All other requests will incur a charge base on the Cost Recovery Fees currently in effect at the time of the request.

How often should I check my smoke alarm and change batteries?

This is somewhat complex. You should check your alarm at least monthly to ensure the battery is still good. Some smoke alarms have regular alkaline 9-volt batteries and those batteries should be changed at least every 6 months to ensure the smoke alarm will operate if there is a fire. Some types of newer smoke alarms have a lifetime battery, sometimes referred to as a 10-year battery. These alarms still need to be tested monthly, but the battery never needs to be replaced. Once the battery level is low, the entire alarm needs to be replaced with another alarm.

Will the Fire District install my smoke alarms for me?

For those individuals who cannot physically install their own alarms, arrangements can be made with the fire district to install the alarms. Generally, we will come out the same day so that the alarms are installed before bedtime.

How many smoke alarms do I need in my home?

Install smoke alarms inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. On levels without bedrooms, install alarms in the living room (or den or family room) or near the stairway to the upper level, or in both locations. Smoke alarms installed in the basement should be installed on the ceiling at the bottom of the stairs leading to the next level. Smoke alarms should be installed at least 10 feet from a cooking appliance to minimize false alarms when cooking.

How often should I clean my chimney or pellet stove flue?

Chimney pipes and flues should be checked and cleaned annually.

Does the Fire Department recharge fire extinguishers?

No. There are local companies that service Fire Extinguishers.

What is the Fire Insurance Rating?

The answer depends on your location. For areas within the city limits of The Dalles, your insurance rating is Class 3. For areas outside the city of The Dalles, and within 5 miles of a fire station (Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue or Mosier Fire District) your rating is also a Class 3. For areas beyond 5 miles, please contact our office at 541-296-9445.

If I think my child is curious about fire, who can I contact?

You can contact the Fire Marshal at 541-296-9445 or by email at jwood@mcfr.org

 

Volunteering Questions:

Does the Fire District use volunteer firefighters?

Yes. Because of the number of firefighters needed on any structure fire and because of the limited number of career (paid) firefighters, the district relies on citizens who volunteer their time to become a certified firefighter who responds to fires from home or work. These firefighters receive the same training as the career firefighters and fight fire alongside each other.

How do I become a Volunteer Firefighter?

The process involves completing an application process (application, drug screen, background check) followed by a physical exam process to ensure you are physically fit to become a firefighter. This process can be somewhat time consuming but is an important process so that you may help your community.

I can’t or don’t want to be a firefighter. Can I still volunteer?

Absolutely. There are many different types of volunteers. You can become an Emergency Medical Technician or help with public education programs, help in the office, or serve as a Chaplain or Chaplain’s assistant. Finally, the fire district hosts a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) which provides training and materials for times of great need in the communities in and around The Dalles.

 

General Questions:

Where can I get my Child Safety Seat Checked?

To have a child safety seat checked, Contact Trooper Michael Holloran at the Oregon State Police office to arrange a time.

Where can I get an address sign?

Please call the station at 541-296-9445 or email dwoods@mcfr.org with your address, how many signs you need and if you need any arrow symbols to direct responders to the correct driveway.

How do I dispose of old medications?

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), never flush expired or unwanted prescription and over-the-counter drugs down the toilet or drain. Medications should be returned through a take-back program or using a secondary method of disposal. City of The Dalles Police Department at 401 Court Street has a disposal system. An alternate (2nd Choice) is to follow these steps:

1.       Take your medications out of their original containers.

2.       Mix medications with an undesirable substance, such as cat litter or used coffee grounds.

3.       Put the mixture into a disposable container with a lid, such as an empty margarine tub, or into a sealable bag.

4.       Conceal or remove any personal information, including Rx number, on the empty containers by covering it with permanent marker or duct tape, or by scratching it off.

5.       The sealed container with the medication mixture, and the empty drug containers, can now be placed in the trash.

How do I dispose of sharps containers?

Sharps, in approved sharps containers, can be disposed of at The Dalles Disposal Service or Hood River Garbage Service. You must provide your own sharps container and replace the container after filling. Sharps containers are generally available at your pharmacy or online. Do NOT take your sharps containers to a Hazardous Waste Collection event.

When I call for an ambulance, why does a fire engine respond too?

Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue does not only provide fire emergency response, but we also provide Advanced Life Support ambulance service. Depending on the seriousness of the medical incident, more personnel are required than respond on an ambulance. Sometimes a smaller passenger vehicle from the fire district responds and sometimes a larger fire engine will respond.

How much does it cost if I call the Fire Department? What about the ambulance?

For virtually all types of fire and service incidents, there is no charge as the fire district is funded through property taxes. Occasionally, if someone intentionally started a fire or gross negligence was involved, the responsible party may receive a bill for service.

Ambulance service is not funded by taxes and patients or their insurance provider is billed for this service. This is called Fee for Service and is standard across the country. To learn about ways to minimize the out of pocket expense of an ambulance bill, please visit the Fire Med section of our website.

Can I get a CPR card? First Aid Card?

Occasionally, the fire district will host a CPR or First Aid class. These are not regularly scheduled and are done on an as needed basis. For Medical Professionals, we recommend contacting Columbia Gorge Community College as they provide Healthcare Provider courses.

Which Fire District am I in?

Please view our district map under "About Us". If it is unclear, you can contact us at 541-296-9445 and we will look at your exact address to tell you which fire district you are in.

Can I get a tour of the Fire Station?

Tours are available by going to our “contact us” page and filling out the form or by calling 541-296-9445. Tours are available for individuals, small groups, and larger groups. A general rule of thumb is 25-30 as a maximum per tour. We are happy to schedule back to back tours for larger groups. Groups of students are required to have adult supervision. Tours are always subject to last minute cancellation or interruption due to emergency calls.

Who do I call to get a cat our of a tree or off my roof?

Generally, we do not respond to animals who are stuck in trees or roofs or other animal rescue incidents. For cats in trees, you can contact one of the local tree trimming services who may be able to assist. For other animal rescue incidents within the city of The Dalles, you can contact the non-emergency dispatch number at 541-296-2233

Can I get my blood pressure checked at the Fire Station?

Yes, you may either call and make arrangements or you can stop by and we’d be happy to check your blood pressure. You may also call 541-296-9445 and we may be able to come to your location if you cannot get to the fire station.

What do firefighters do when they are not responding to calls for service?

Contrary to popular belief, firefighters are not sitting at the station waiting for a call. They are busy throughout the day either preparing for the next call by checking the fire engines, ambulances, and equipment or by learning new techniques or practicing skills necessary to do all the tasks required at a fire or medical incident. Firefighters also ensure that the stations are properly maintained and cleaned by doing janitorial tasks, prefire planning and fire inspection activities. They are also responsible for completing a myriad of other essential duties and projects throughout their duty shift.