Public Fire Education

The Columbia-Richland Fire & Rescue is obligated to serve and protect the citizens of Richland County and the City of Columbia. Our Fire Prevention Division provides and operates several types of educational programming. Whether at home, work, or school, our programs strive to provide effective fire safety education as well as positive community role models.

In 2019, the Columbia-Richland Fire & Rescue responded to nearly 32,000 calls – an average of more than 2,600 calls per month. Of that amount, more than half (53 percent) were related to EMS, motor vehicle accidents, or rescue. Almost 20 percent were false alarms and six percent were fire related calls.

Why are these numbers important? These statistics help us target our educational messaging to our citizens. The Public Fire Education Division continuously work to develop and implement different types of fire and life safety educational programming.

We have informative programs for all age groups. Click on any of the following to learn more about:

Click Here to Play Fire Safety Games for Kids

Is your home fire safe?

Click here to see test your fire safety skills.

Heating Safety Tips for the Winter Season

From 2012 to 2016, the most common causes of fires that cause deaths was heating (43 percent) and smoking (19 percent).  Heating safety is the number leading cause of fires.  Here are some safety tips you can use to help prevent a fire during the winter season.

  • Only use a space heater on a hard surface like hardwood, ceramic tile, etc.
  • Maintain a 3’ clearance of combustibles away from all heaters and fireplaces.
  • Never use a space heater while you are sleeping.
  • Never use a stove to heat a home.  A gas stove will emit carbon monoxide.
  • Plug all heaters directly in an outlet and not a cube adapter or multi-plug.

  • Make sure you have a working carbon monoxide alarm in your home if have any type of fuel-fired appliances, fireplace or an attached garage.
  • Make sure you have working smoke alarms in all our bedrooms, just outside the bedrooms and on each level of your home.
  • Make sure all of your smoke alarms are installed according to the pictures below.

  • Have a professional company inspect your gas fireplace and clean your chimney yearly if you use natural wood.
  • Never use pine in a fireplace. The sap from the tree will attach to your chimney walls and it can spark a fire.
  • Make sure you have a shied in front of the fire place
  • Keep combustible materials 3’ away from the fireplace.

Cooking Safety

Unattended cooking is the leading cause of residential home fires, so here are some fire safety tips that can help you prevent kitchen fires.

  • Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don’t use the stove or stovetop.
  • Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling food and use a timer to remind you that you are simmering, baking or roasting food.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stovetop.

If you have a small (grease) cooking fire and decide to fight the fire…

  • On the stovetop, smother the flames by sliding a lid over the pan and turning off the burner. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
  • For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.

If you have any doubt about fighting a small fire…

  • Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
  • Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number from outside the home.

Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.

Additional Resources

Interested in obtaining a Deaf/Hard of Hearing Smoke Alarm?  These alarms, commonly called “bed-shakers,” are not smoke alarms. Rather, they work with smoke alarms in the home to notify deaf/hard of hearing individuals of a possible life-threatening fire emergency. Fire Safe South Carolina is currently able to provide this life-saving technology to qualified applicants, download the Deaf/Hard of Hearing Smoke Alarm Program Application.

Fire Safe SC is a statewide program that strives to reduce the likelihood and impact of fire and other life safety concerns. Click to review a list of informative citizen guides.

The National Fire Protection Association offers free safety tip sheets on a variety of fire and life safety topics. Download, print, and share these tip sheets to spread the word about fire safety.

The USFA also has useful fire prevention and safety messaging and ready-to-use social media toolkits

Contact Person

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Public Fire Education Officer, Bengie L. Leverett

1612 Bull Street Columbia, SC 29201

Phone (803) 545-4162