Q: What brand of smoke detector should I buy?

A: The Cedarburg Fire Dept does not recommend any particular brand of detector. However any product that you purchase should have the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) listing. UL is a third-party independent testing agency.

Q: When should I change in the batteries in my detectors?

A: Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If no instructing exist, we recommend changing the batteries twice a year, preferably when you reset your clocks for daylight savings time.

Q: What about hard-wired detectors?

A: New or recently installed hard-wired detectors (tied into the house’s electrical system) should have a battery back-up system and the batteries should be replaced twice a year also or according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Older hard-wired systems may not have a battery back –up system.

Q: How should I maintain my detector?

A: Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. If no instructions exist, you should use a vacuum or similar appliance to vacuum out the slotted area of the detector in order to remove dust or other particulates that may cause false alarms at least twice a year. Testing should also be performed on a monthly basis by pressing the “Test” button on the detector.

Q: How do I know if the battery is dead in my detector?

A: Testing monthly should tell you. Also, most detectors will give off a small “chirp” when the battery is getting low. If you have any doubt, change the battery.

Q: Does Cedarburg Fire Dept provide batteries?

A: Yes. Batteries are available during Safety Day in October and throughout the year. For more information, see the News Graphic for advertisements or contact the CFD Fire Inspection Office at 262-375-7632.

Q: How many detectors do I need in my home?

A: We recommend

  • At least one on every floor including the basement, plus
  • One in every bedroom

Q: How should smoke detectors be installed?

A: If on the ceiling (preferred), then at least 4 inches from the wall. If on the wall, then at least 4-12 inches from the ceiling.

  • Do not place ceiling detectors in low air circulation areas or directly above ceiling fans
  • Do not place detectors need air vents
  • Do not place kitchen detectors above or near the stove or oven

Q: How many Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors do I need?

A: You must install 1 detector on every floor and within 15 feet of all sleeping areas. Do not install CO detectors near furnaces, water heaters or gas stoves. Also, do not place detectors in garages or bathrooms.

Q: Should CO Detectors be placed on the ceiling?

A: If the manufacturer recommends it, then yes. However, CO detectors can be placed almost anywhere along a wall or ceiling because unlike smoke, CO rises very little in the air.

Q: When should I replace my CO and/or Smoke detectors?

A: Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations otherwise SMOKE detectors should be replaced every 10 years and CO detectors every 2 years. Detectors become less reliable with age. Any painted or damaged detectors should be replaced immediately. Also, any detector exposed to grease, fire or water should be replaced.

Q: Does the Cedarburg Fire Dept install detectors?

A: No, however you may contact the Fire Inspection Office (262-375-7632) if you would like a Firefighter/Inspector to perform a courtesy safety check of your home.


Q: What brand of extinguisher should I buy?

A: The Cedarburg Fire Dept does not recommend any particular brand of extinguisher. However any product that you purchase should have the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) listing. UL is a third-party independent testing agency.

Q: What type of should I buy?

A: The most universal is an ABC dry-chemical extinguisher. This extinguisher can be used on all common fires found within the home. We recommend either a 5 or 10 pound model.

Q: How many extinguishers should I have?

A: You should have at least 1 near the kitchen and garage, as fires often start in these locations. Beyond that, 1 per floor would be ideal.

Q: Where should the extinguishers be mounted?

A: Mount it near an exit and away from anything that has a risk of starting a fire and keeping you from reaching the extinguisher. Always using the bracket provided. Extinguishers should always be mounted to prevent accidental discharge and ensure that it is not routinely moved out of place. Extinguishers should be mounted no greater than 5 feet above the floor.

Q: When should I extinguish the fire myself?

A: You should use a portable extinguisher only when ALL of the following exist:

  • The fire is confined to a small area
  • Everyone has exited the home
  • The fire department has been/is being called
  • The room is not filled with smoke
  • You have a clear exit behind you
  • You are comfortable using it

Q: How should I use the extinguisher?

A: We recommend the P.A.S.S. method

P-Pull the pin
A-Aim at the base of the fire
S-Squeeze the trigger or handle parts together
S-Sweep the discharge stream back and forth until the fire is out

Q: Can I re-use an extinguisher that is only partially discharged?

A: NO. You must replace or have the extinguisher recharged. Most extinguishers below 10 pounds are one-time-use only. You can pay to have a larger extinguisher recharged at Beyer’s True Value or look in the yellow pages. CFD does not recharge extinguishers however you can call the Fire Inspection Office (262-375-7632) if you are unsure what to do with old or discharged extinguishers.

Q: When should I replace an extinguisher?

A: Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation. If you are unsure, you can check the pressure gauge. If the needle has fallen out of the green zone, it should be replaces/recharged. Regardless of what the gauge reads, non-rechargeable extinguishers should be replaced every 12 years and rechargeable extinguishers replaced every 6 years. Regardless of type, dry-chemical extinguishers should be inverted at least once a year and shaken to loosen the powder and prevent caking.

Q: How should I dispose of an extinguisher?

A: Contact your municipality or waste disposal company. CFD may accept old extinguishers for training purposes. For more info contact the Fire Inspection Office (262-375-7632).

Escape Ladders

Q: What is an escape ladder?

A: Escape ladders are portable telescoping ladders that hang from a window sill by hooks and extend to the ground. They range from 15-50 feet (2-6 stories) in length.

Q: Should I buy an escape ladder?

A: We take no position on advising the purchase of escape ladders. If you do purchase a ladder, make sure everyone knows how to use it and it is accessible during an emergency.

Q: If I buy an escape ladder, what should I look for?

A: One of the most important things to look for are the presence of standoffs. Standoffs are protrusions that keep the rungs of the ladder away from the house in order to steady the ladder to ease in escape.


Fireplaces and Chimneys

Q: What can I burn in my fireplace?

A: Unless the manufacturer provides otherwise, you should only burn untreated and unpainted clean wood or commercially manufactured fire logs. Burning other materials could be extremely dangerous.

Q: How often should my chimney be inspected and cleaned?

A: Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Otherwise, chimneys should be cleaned and inspected annually by a professional chimney sweep certified by the National Chimney Sweep Guild or Chimney Safety Institute of America.

Q: Should I have a cap or cover over my chimney?

A: Yes. Always use a spark-arresting cap. Caps prevent sparks and embers from igniting nearby combustibles and keep animals and out.


Open Burning

Q: Can I openly burn in Cedarburg?

A: Yes, however there are some restrictions.

 If you are planning to burn in the City of Cedarburg see:

You must also notify the Cedarburg Fire Dept 262-375-7630
and the Cedarburg Police Dept 262-375-7620

  • Name of the responsible party and your name if different
  •  Address of the burn
  • Phone # of the person(s) monitoring the fire
  • Date and time of burning

If you live or are planning to burn in the Town of Cedarburg see: burning,burning,burn#9757680

If you plan to burn, you must notify the Cedarburg Fire Dept 262-375-7630
the Cedarburg Police Dept 262-375-7620
and the Ozaukee Sheriff’s Dept 262-284-7172

Q: Do I need a permit to burn?

A: No

If your question is not listed above feel free to call the Cedarburg Fire Department’s Fire Inspection Office at 262-375-7632


City Public Safety Code

Town Fire Code