Frequently Asked Questions

Does the Helena Fire Department offer CPR training?
No. The American Red Cross and St. Peter's Hospital are possible contacts for classes.

What is the State Fire Marshal's phone number? 444-2050.

How do I apply for a job at the Helena Fire Department.
See the
Employment Information web page.

What does the Helena Fire Department offer for tours for the public?
Every year during Fire Prevention Week in October, the Helena School System brings in all 2nd graders for a fire prevention message and tour. In recent years, East Helena, Montana City, Clancy, Kessler, Townsend and Home Schools have also participated. We also have many daycares, preschools, scout groups and church groups that either come through for a tour or we go to their location for a presentation. If you would like to schedule a tour, please call 447-8472.

How do I properly dispose of ashes?
Use a metal container with a lid! Plastic trash containers or garbage sacks are absolutely no good for ash removal. Cold ashes many times conceal hot embers within. These embers can smolder for days. Place your ashes in the container, lid it, and place it away from walls, papers, and other flammables. Let it sit for at least a week and dispose of them at the City landfill in the barrels marked ASHES or spread them in your garden. Remember: METAL CONTAINER WITH LID---COOL DOWN TIME---DISPOSE OF PROPERLY.

How do I clean my chimney?
The National Fire Protection Agency suggests that you allow no more than 1/4 inch of creosote to build up before cleaning. Using your fireplace two to three times a week during the winter may accumulate that 1/4 inch every two years. Be smart. Have your chimney cleaned and inspected periodically by a professional chimney sweep to help prevent a fire. Burn small, hot fires to cut down on creosote buildup and increase the efficiency of your heating.

How does spring cleaning help fire protection?
Have you ever noticed on winter days when it's pouring buckets, you aren't too interested in going outside to throw something away? This results in a phenomenon known as winter clutter which leads to the spring cleaning we all know about. Rags piled in basements, papers, books, old clothes, cluttered attics and garages all present a fire danger. In addition to being places where fires could start, these cluttered conditions contribute to the "fuel load". What this means is, a house that is neat and free of clutter will not burn nearly as fast as one which has a lot of stuff lying around. In fact, past experience proves that neat houses rarely burn.

What can I do to make the fire hydrant in my yard look better?
The City of Helena has over 1100 hydrants that need to be tested and maintained. If you see a hydrant that is damaged or in need of painting, please call us and let us know. If you and your neighbors could help keep the hydrant visible and free from obstructions such as dirt, weeds or snow, it would help us greatly. Finding a hydrant at night can be harder than you think and time is very important when a structure is on fire!

Why do emergency vehicles have difficulty finding a specific address?

  •  A poorly marked address can delay emergency response time when minutes and seconds make a difference between life and death.
  • Addresses covered by paint and shrubbery are hard to see.
  • Night and weather conditions may affect their visibility also.
  • Place numerals where they can been seen clearly from the street and paint them a color that contrasts with what they are mounted on.
  • Mark both sides of a mailbox.
  • When you call 911 with an emergency, give clear, concise directions and if possible.
  • Have someone go to the end of the driveway or the street to show us exactly where to go.

How do I barbecue safely?

  •  Never use gasoline to start or freshen a barbecue grill.
  • Charcoal or propane gas barbecue grills should be used outside the house, camper or tent. Do not use them on a wood porch or deck.
  • A heated grill should never be left unattended.
  • Children should never play near a heated barbecue grill.

Why do I need a smoke detector in my home?
If a fire occurs in the home while people are sleeping, the fire or smoke will not wake you up. Smoke puts you into a deep sleep. The purpose of the smoke detector is to wake you up and allow you ample time to exit the building.

Where do I install smoke detectors in my home?
Adjacent to each sleeping area and on every level of the home. It is also recommended that each sleeping area is provided with a smoke detector. You should follow the manufacturers instructions for placement.

Who offers Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) classes?
The EMS Bureau at the State of Montana is who you need to contact.

How often should I change the batteries in my smoke detector?
At least once a year. There is a national campaign in the fall that promotes change your clock, change you battery at the time change from daylight to standard time. We also encourage people to change their battery on a specific date that they can easily remember such as their birthday or New Year's Day.

Fireworks
Fireworks use is prohibited within the City of Helena. See Title 3, Chapter 9, of City Code for specifics. Commercial firework displays are allowed with permit. Commercial displays need to meet all the requirements of the fire code and NFPA 1123. Please call the Helena Fire Department for further information.

Fire Restrictions
Fire restrictions will be advertised and/or posted for public information as deemed necessary. Open burning within the City of Helena shall be conducted with permit only. See open burning for specifics.

Open Burning
Open burning is the burning of a bonfire, rubbish fire or other fire in an outdoor location where the fuel being burned is not contained in an incinerator, outdoor fireplace, barbecue grill or barbecue pit. Open burning is not allowed without permit. General permit requirements consist of adequate separation distances, adequate water or fire suppression sources, weather conditions, and proper supervision.

Please call the Helena Fire Department for specific permit requirements.