Frequently Asked Questions 

How often should I check my smoke detector?
Battery operated smoke detectors should have their batteries changed twice a year. We like to remind people change the battery when the time changes in April and October. 

Do I need a smoke detector?
Yes, every home should have and is now required to have smoke alarms. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that 40% of all home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms, while 23% resulted from homes in which smoke alarms were present but did not operate. 

Do I need a carbon monoxide detector?
Only homes with fuel fired equipment are encouraged to provide carbon monoxide detectors. Examples of fuel fire equipment are any appliances that use natural gas, LP gas or fuel oils as the fuel source. Electric appliances would not be included among those. 

My child thinks playing with fire is fascinating. What can I do to teach him/her the dangers of playing with fire?
Children's playing with matches is a very serious concern of fire officials across the nation. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reported that "Most (65%) child-playing home fires were started with lighters or matches. July was the peak month for outdoor fire-play. Most of these fires involved fireworks." If you suspect that a child has such a fascination, contact Dennis Marshall at (407) 539-6228 or e-mail Intervention requires involving professionals with specialized training. Such training is usually provided at no cost.

Do you host birthday parties for boys and girls?
The Maitland Fire Rescue Department is unable to host birthday parties due to the number of emergency responses.  We do welcome children and adults that wish to take a tour of the fire station and look at the emergency vehicles.  If you would like to come by please call Fire Administration at (407) 539-6226 to schedule a convenient time.  Tours and truck demos are subject to emergency calls.   

I need a copy of my medical records.
Access to medical records are regulated by Florida Statutes. The Maitland Fire Rescue Department will assist all persons requesting such records by calling Norma Jean Torres at (407) 539-6229. 

The fire engine or rescue truck just went through a signal light with its lights and siren on, then shut them off after they were through the intersection. Why do they do this?
Many times after being dispatched to a call for help, circumstances change as additional information is discovered by 911 call takers. From time to time, that means changing the response to the initial call for help, which sometimes results in reducing responding units from an emergency response to a non-emergency mode; sometimes it even means cancelling a unit. Occasionally, when that reduction or cancellation occurs, units are at or near traffic intersections when such action takes place. In the interest of public safety, responding units make those adjustments as soon as notified. 

What do I do if I am driving and I see a fire engine or rescue coming up behind me blowing its horn and flashing its lights?
Florida law (316.126) requires that motorists immediately proceed to a position parallel to, and as close as reasonable to the closest edge of the curb of the roadway, clear of any intersection and shall stop and remain in position until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed, unless otherwise directed by any law enforcement officer." 

I smell something, but I'm not sure what it is. I want you to come check it out, but I don't think it's an emergency. What number do I call?
Whenever an emergency situation, whether real or perceived exists fire officials agree that the best thing to do is to use the emergency response system in your area. In the greater Central Florida region that means dialing '911'. Historically, delay of notification for such incidents have resulted in very serious outcomes. 

How do I make a donation to the Department?
Voluntary donations to the Maitland Fire Rescue Department have resulted in many benefits over past years and are much appreciated by officials. If you would like to make such a donation, please contact Fire Administration at (407) 539-6229. 

I'm interested in a career as a firefighter/paramedic. Can I ride along with you for the day?
The Maitland Fire Department is has a program where interested persons can come and see how we work through facility tours and talks. We also encourage such persons interested in a firefighter/paramedic career to ride along with us. Interested persons should contact Fire Administration at for a Ride Along Application Packet. There is a fee of $24 for a background check.

Why did another agency respond to my 9-1-1 call?
The Maitland Fire Rescue Department participates in a regional program known as the 'Joint Response' program. Agencies participating in that program in addition to Maitland Fire Department are Orange County Fire Rescue, Winter Park Fire Department, and all agencies of Seminole County. The purpose of this program is to provide persons in need of help, the most expedient service available by the closest available unit, regardless of which agency is represented. 

Will being transported by the Paramedics speed up my Emergency Room wait?
No, there is no valid basis for that assumption. When you arrive a the hospital Emergency Room, you are evaluated by emergency room staff and then assigned to a waiting room or bed depending upon the seriousness of your condition. Dialing 9-1-1 does not mean you will be seen before other patients. 

Why did the fire engine respond with the rescue for my medical call?
The answer to this question is resource deployment. Most medical (EMS) calls for service demand that more than two responders be present. The most effective use of resources is to provide the best level of response possible through the two units being deployed and that means the resources not needed can be made available sooner for subsequent calls for service. 

Can the engine crew help me with a medical need?
Yes, and in some cases, those not requiring complete advanced life support level of service, an engine company (fire truck & crew) will do just that. 

What do the firefighters do when they are not on a call?
This varies from agency to agency depending upon many factors, but in Maitland, firefighters not involved with emergency responses do many things valuable to the residents and visitors of Maitland. As an example, being prepared for emergency calls demands that the department do a great deal of training. That training involves not only responses to medical emergencies (70 to 80 percent of most agencies) and fires, but also vehicle crashes, hazardous materials, bomb threats, construction accidents, to note just a few. Firefighters also provide general wellness checks at fire stations through blood pressure screening; flu shots; public speaking and demonstration programs as well as a great deal of time maintaining their emergency equipment.

How to Properly Dispose of Unwanted Medications

Many unused or expired prescription or over-the-counter medications are flushed down the toilet or poured down the drain. The wastewater treatment process meets strict standards of filtration and disinfection. The process, however, cannot remove all the chemicals in these pharmaceuticals, which could cause harmful effects on the environment. When disposing of your unwanted pharmaceuticals, please follow these steps to ensure proper disposal:

  1. Keep all medication in the original container. Scratch out or mark over the patient's name.

  2. Change the contents to discourage consumption by adding water to pills; or salt, flour, charcoal, or spices to liquids.

  3. Tape the lid shut with duct tape and put inside a non-transparent bag or container to ensure that the contents are not visible.

  4. Wrap non-transparent tape around blister packages to disguise the contents.

  5. Put the container in your garbage. To prevent animal scavengers, do not conceal the pharmaceuticals in food waste.

For more information on the proper disposal of unwanted medications, please visit the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's website.

Most of us have medications that we no longer take, are old, have expired, or were used by someone who died. Many of these unwanted medications contain compounds that are known sometimes as emerging substances of concern. Some of these substances, like synthetic estrogen used in hormone replacement therapy, are considered to be endocrine disruptors that may interfere with or modify hormone processes within an organism. Others, such as sedatives, can affect or modify central nervous system activity. Low levels of antibiotics can lead to the development of antibiotic-resistant strains of harmful bacteria. Emerging substances of concern also include compounds that are used to enhance consumer goods, for example flame retardant coatings on television and computer monitor plastic housings, or to optimize agricultural production, e.g., pesticides.

Emerging substances of concern may be found in very low concentrations in surface water, ground water, domestic wastewater, industrial wastewater, agricultural runoff, reclaimed water, and other waters. It is not surprising that we are finding these compounds since they are associated with human activity and scientists are now actively looking for emerging substances of concern and have the analytical tools to find them at very low concentrations. Many of these compounds are used to enhance our quality of life by protecting human health, enhancing consumer goods, and optimizing agricultural production. It is inevitable that small amounts of these compounds will be released to the environment. It is also likely that these compounds have been there for decades and have remained undetected until the recent development of analytical methods to enable their identification and quantification.

While the concentrations of these substances found in our water bodies are hundreds or thousands of times lower than the therapeutic dosages found in the medications that we take, research has shown that there can be effects on aquatic organisms like fish and frogs. An internal Department working group provides a more technical perspective on the research, analytical methods and effects of these compounds. At this time, no research has shown that concentrations of these substances reported in recent studies pose a threat to drinking water supplies. Research is ongoing, especially on the effects of multiple chemical constituents at low concentrations. A Department report, Emerging Substances of Concern (December 2008), summarizes the conclusions of this workgroup that was formed to evaluate strategies to effectively address a wide variety of potential emerging substances of concern.

We can reduce the amount of these substances by properly disposing of unwanted medications. Expired or unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications from households are typically disposed of by flushing them down the toilet or a drain. Although this method of disposal prevents immediate accidental ingestion, it can cause contamination in our aquatic environment because wastewater treatment systems, including septic tanks, are not designed to remove many of these medications. You should never flush unwanted medications down the toilet or down a drain. Instead, place them in the household trash after taking to prevent accidental ingestion by humans or animals.

Disposal of unwanted medications from commercial facilities such as pharmacies, medical facilities and veterinary operations are subject to different regulations than those that apply to medications from household uses. Those facilities should contact the Department's headquarters for guidance.

Remember, never dispose of unwanted medications down the toilet or down the drain.