Fire Prevention- Frequently Asked Questions
The following is a list of frequently asked questions on a variety of topics typically asked of the fire department. If your specific question is not answered below, or you need further clarification, please call Fire Department Headquarters at (317) 888-8337 or send an e-mail HERE.
* What does my alarm company need to call for alarm testing? Dispatch 317-736-5155. See the letter here for more information.
* What are fire department phone numbers I need to know? All Emergencies: 911. Non-Emergency: (317) 888-8337, Fire Marshal Fax: (317) 888-9430
* How can I talk to a Fire Inspector or Fire Inspector’s Supervisor? You can call our Headquarters at (317) 888-8337. Our receptionist will transfer you to the proper extension.
* Why does the Fire Department conduct Fire Inspections in Public Buildings? Not only are they required by State Law, but we conduct inspections to reduce the chance of fire in the building, which reduces life and property loss. The inspections are conducted annually. This protects the occupants and visitors from fire and safety hazards. This process also protects firefighters by eliminating unsafe fire and life hazards.
* How do I report a fire code issue or safety hazard? You can call our office at (317) 888-8337.
* Can I have the Fire Department conduct a special inspection? Yes you may call anytime to have an inspector come and evaluate a situation or code issue.
* Is there a charge for these inspections? No, unless the cited violations are not corrected within the time period cited. Typically a time period of 30 days is allowed for the occupant/owner to correct the violations. After the 30 days, an inspector returns. If the violation still exists, then a re-inspection is scheduled. When the inspector returns for the third inspection, a fee of $15.00 is assessed. As long as the violation is corrected, no further fines are assessed. Any further inspections required results in a $30.00 fine per inspection.
* Can I burn a candle in my office or business? No, it is unlawful for any person to utilize an open flame device in a Class 1 Structure or “Commercial or Public” building. Nothing prohibits the use of a candle warmer, as long as it is plugged directly into the wall outlet and you comply with the maker’s clearance requirements.
* How do I know if my exit signs and emergency lighting is working properly? First check your electrical panel, If you have a breaker that is labeled as exit or emergency lighting, you can simply shut that breaker off. If you do not have a breaker labeled as exit/emergency, you can go to each device and press the test button on the side of the device. Hold it for about 30 seconds. If the sign does not stay illuminated or the lights do not come on, you may need new batteries. If you can’t determine how to change your batteries, you can call our office for assistance.
* Do I need a fire extinguisher in my business? Yes, several businesses require multiple extinguishers. When your business is inspected the inspector will assure that these extinguishers are present and serviced. The inspector will help you with mounting locations. Fire extinguishers are required to be serviced by a licensed fire extinguisher company or the fire extinguisher must be new with proof of purchase. They must be inspected and serviced every 12 months.
* Can I remodel my building without obtaining a Building Permit? No, unless your remodel includes less than 100 sq feet of wall and you do not change the design of your exiting. We recommend that prior to making any modifications that you contact our Fire Marshal to assure that your intentions comply.
* Can I reset my business fire alarm without the Fire Department on the scene? No, after determining there is no emergency, you may silence the alarm, but the Fire Department will reset the alarm. If you reset the alarm before the Fire Department arrives, you obstruct the Firefighters from easily determining the alarm was not a true emergency and much time is lost in requiring fire fighters to search your entire building to assure there is not a fire present. A fine may also be issued for resetting your alarm without the Fire Department on the scene.
* How often do I have my fire alarm or fire sprinkler system tested? Fire protection systems are required to be tested by a fire protection system technician every 12 months. Copies of the tests shall be kept on site where fire inspectors can review when annual inspections are completed.
* Why are people not allowed to park in fire lanes? Fire Lanes are designated when, due to the layout of the complex or the building, it was determined that the area designated as the “Fire Lane” is needed to provide adequate fire protection or assure that the exit path out of the building is not obstructed. Parking in Fire Lanes is prohibited by both State and Local Laws. Through a local ordinance, the Fire Department enforces no parking in fire lanes and issues fines for those who park in the designated fire lane.
* Can you safely plug a "three-prong" electrical plug into a "two-prong" electrical outlet? The two-prong outlet does not have a ground wire in it; therefore, if you use an adapter and plug in a three-wire cord, then whatever you are using is not grounded. You become the ground if something goes wrong with that appliance -- the electrical current will pass through your body rather that the ground wire present on three-wire cords and outlets. The National Electrical Code prohibits this activity.
* Why can’t I plug an extension cord or a multi-plug strip into another extension cord? Not only is it not allowed by Fire and Electrical Codes, but most extension cords are rated for its original length only and most are only rated to power a single device. Not using it as it was tested or designed can result in the cord overheating and will ignite combustibles and cause a fire.
* Can I store items under my stairs or above my ceiling or attic of my business? No, unless the space is finished with fire-rated construction. Prior to placing any combustible items in these spaces, we recommend you call the Fire Department inspector to take a look first.
* Why do I need to make sure my ceiling tiles are in place? Ceiling tiles commonly separate your return air plenum from your store. The tiles are used a collector of smoke and heat for fire protection systems. They offer some resistance and delay the fire spread in the event of a fire. Some ceiling tiles are actually part of your required fire separation and must be kept in place.
* When am I required to install a key box on the exterior of my building for Fire Department use? The KNOX BOX is required whenever you have a monitored fire protection system or when the Fire Marshal determines that your business requires access after hours. Any business may obtain and install a KNOX BOX. We recommended one when you do not want to experience damage to your building in the event of emergency entry after hours. The order form may be obtained from the Fire Marshal.
* Can I conduct open burning or burn trash or leaves within the City of Greenwood Limits? No, City ordinance prohibits open burning by individuals within the City limits. This is for fire safety as well as environmental pollution concerns.
* Can I conduct open burning or burn trash or leaves outside of the Greenwood City Limits? Yes, but only with an open burning permit obtained from the Fire Department. Conditions of the allowed burning are listed on the Department’s website at www.wrtfd.org.
* Why can't I have a grill on my apartment balcony? Grills must not be used within 10 feet of any structure. They may be used on patios of ground floor units if the grill is 10 feet from the structure and the deck has an unobstructed exit to the ground.
* Does the Fire Department offer any type of intervention or screening process for children who have an interest in playing with fire? Yes, the Fire Department has personnel on staff, that are Nationally Certified as Juvenile Fire Setter Interventionists. If your child has recently been involved in setting a fire, you believe your child has been playing with fire, or just displays an extreme curiosity about fire, you can all our offices and schedule an interview that will start the screening process. Early intervention is very important in preventing injury to your child or your loss of property as a result of fire play. Please call Headquarters today at 317-888-8337.
* Where can I purchase or get information about the Fire Department Key Box that mounts on the outside of the building that allows me to put my keys in it and is secure until the Fire Department unlocks it . Then it allows only them to gain access in the event of an emergency?
This box is known as the KNOX box and is required on all commercial buildings that are equipped with monitored fire protection systems. You may pick up an application at the Headquarters office at 850 S Mullinix Road or order it online from the company at When you go to order enter your zip code and then click on White River Township Fire Department. The 3200 series is the most common installed unless you plan to install more than 15 keys then you need to upgrade.
* Where can I purchase or get information about the Opticom infrared preemption devices that the fire department uses or requires to be installed on gates or traffic signals to allow rapid fire department apparatus access? You may call Kyle Mattingly at the Carrier Gable Company at 317-861-4721, they are the local company who can assist with your needs. Product sheets and specs are available at