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Yes! If your family child daycare will be located within the Oak Harbor City limits and you will be caring for 12 or fewer children (including all children that reside in your home), call our Fire Marshal at 360-279-4702 to schedule an appointment. Congratulations on your new venture!
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The short answer is "No, and please do not use them."
Oak Harbor Fire Department prefers to teach a proactive, quick response to fires and believe the use of "Tot Finder" decals could provide a false sense of security for your family. Through various public education programs, we begin educating children at a very young age about the basics of a home escape plan. Children are taught the importance of responding quickly to a smoke alarm, knowing two ways out of each room, crawling low in smoke and having a meeting place outside their home. Children may feel that by having this decal on their window, it will be okay to stay and wait for the fire department and this is not the message we want to teach them. Children need to learn the importance of getting out of the house as quickly as possible and get to the family's meeting place so they can be counted as safe.
There are other reasons why the use of these stickers is not recommended. One being that when children grow up and move away from home, or change bedrooms in the house, the decal remains in the window. Perhaps the room has been converted to an office or den and is no longer a bedroom at all. This places firefighters at undue risk by directing them to search for a child when in fact there are no children in that room or living at home.
Another reason why the decals are not recommended is because it provides a vulnerable spot for your home. The decals could act as a signal to unwanted individuals directing them to the location of your children.
Finally, it is important to understand that when a fire department responds for a fire, they are trained to perform a systematic search of the entire house. If firefighters were to first look for windows containing a "Tot Finder" decal, and search only those rooms, precious time would be wasted.
If you have decals in your home, we recommend removing them. Then get your family together and take the time to develop a fire escape plan indicating two ways out of each room and a meeting place outside. Be sure you have at least one smoke detector on each level of your home and remember to test them every month. Once you have a plan developed, you need to practice it to be sure everyone knows what to do. You can make it more interesting by blocking an exit with a sign stating that a particular exit is blocked by smoke or fire so family members will have to use their second way out.
The Fire Department is unable to dispose of unexploded fireworks or expired flares.
Fireworks may be safely disposed of after they have been completely submerged in water for 24 hours. For more information on disposing of hazardous materials (including expired flares), contact Island County Public Work Solid Waste Complex at 360-679-7338.
No, the Fire Department does not inspect fire extinguishers.
Please refer to "Fire Extinguishers" in the Yellow Pages for businesses that specialize in fire extinguisher inspection, repair, and sales.
Note: at this time there are many companies that service the Oak Harbor area from areas off the island, but none are located in Oak Harbor. Look in the areas of Bellingham, Mount Vernon, Burlington, Marysville, Everett, Greater Seattle, etc.
Learn Local Fireworks Regulations (PDF). Use is limited by date, time, and type of fireworks.
Fireworks may be used on private property only, with permission of the property owner. The City of Oak Harbor does not provide a designated area for fireworks use.
Persons lighting fireworks on public land (schools, beaches, parks, etc.) or on private land without the owner's permission (empty lots, parking lots, beaches) risk having their fireworks confiscated and being fined for reckless endangerment.
All are welcome and encouraged to enjoy the public fireworks display over Oak Harbor each Independence Day evening at dusk; viewing from Windjammer Park is spectacular.
The Oak Harbor Fire Department strongly encourages everyone to install and maintain working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in their home, however, we do not recommend one brand of detector over another. Very useful information about selecting, installing and maintaining smoke detectors can be found at the U.S. Fire Administration and National Fire Protection Association websites; including information about which detectors have been recalled.
It is imperative to understand the need not to rely solely on smoke alarms as the entire answer to escaping from fire. Home escape planning is required for each family and smoke alarms are a tool in the planning process. Parents need to clearly understand their supporting roles in the escape plan. After going over the plan with your family, you should conduct a walkthrough of the plan. When you feel comfortable with your plan, hold a fire drill at night (activate your alarm) while your children are sleeping so that you and they can determine the appropriate response to a smoke alarm.
Smoke alarms and automatic sprinklers do save lives but they are just tools in the home escape process. Families need to remember that while technology is an integral part of the process, the maintenance of that technology (e.g. regular testing, replacing batteries, etc.) and incorporating planning and participation in their use will be the key to saving lives.