City of San Carlos - FAQs



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Can I get a patch from the San Carlos Fire Department?
The San Carlos Fire Department does not fulfill requests for patches at this time.

Where do I submit plans for Fire Department review?
Plans should be submitted to the Building Department during the counter hours of 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

A cat is up a tree or an animal is trapped under my house, who should I call?
Call the Peninsula Humane Society at (650) 340-8200

Peninsula Humane Society

Can I dispose of my unused medications through the Fire Department?
No.  The San Carlos Fire Department is not a drop-off site for unused medication.  The San Carlos Sheriff's Bureau has a drop-off receptacle at City Hall, 600 Elm Street.

Do I need a CO (carbon monoxide) detector?
The California Health & Safety Code requires carbon monoxide detectors be installed in all existing family dwelling units since July 1, 2011 and in all other dwelling units by January 1, 2013.

For more information regarding carbon monoxide detectors, see the attached PDF file below:

carbon monoxide detector FAQs

Do you offer CPR or first aid classes?
The American Red Cross offers classes in first aid and CPR.  Please see the provided link to check for upcoming classes.

American Red Cross

How can I get my fire extinguisher serviced?
The San Carlos Fire Department does not service fire extinguishers.  Please finda a professional fire extinguisher service company in the Yellow Pages under "Fire Extinguisher"

Yellow Pages - Fire Extinguisher

How do I dispose of an old fire extinguisher?
Please call the San Mateo County Household Hazardous Waste Program at (650) 372-6200 or make an appointment online at:

San Mateo County Household Hazardous Waste Program

How do I dispose of hazardous waste such as old paint, aerosol sprays, florescent lamps, propane tanks, automotive products, thermometers and other mercury products, batteries, etc?
Please call the San Mateo County Household Hazardous Waste Program at (650) 372-6200 or make an appointment online at:

San Mateo County Household Hazardous Waste Program

How do I draw up an escape plan for my home or business?
the four basic steps include:

  1. Draw a floor plan of your home
  2. Agree on a meeting place
  3. Practice your escape plan
  4. Make your exit drill realistic

For tips on establishing an escape plan and other safety information, visit the National Fire Protection Association website at:

National Fire Protection Association

How do I get a Lock Box or Knox Box?
Lock/Knox Boxes can be ordered online at

For More information regarding Knox Boxes, please click on the link below:

Knox Box Information

How do I obtain an Incident/Investigation report?
Requests for incident reports must be submitted in writing using the attached Public Information Release Form.  Submit the completed form to the San Carlos Fire Department along with the fee.  The fee is $15.00 per incident.

Investigation reports are classified and require a subpoena in order to obtain a copy.  Fees are applied.

Public Information Release Form

How do I report a leaking or broken fire hydrant?
Contact California Water Service at (650) 558-7800

How do I schedule a Fire Station tour?
You can schedule a Fire Station tour by filling out the application using the link provided below.  Please allow a minimum of two weeks advance notice.

Public Education Request

How do I schedule a ride-along?
You must be at least 18 years of age and should call the Administrative Office at (650) 780-7400.  The Station Captain approves the time of the ride-a-long.  The ride-along program hours are between 8:00a.m. and 9:00 p.m.

How many smoke detectors should I have and where should they be placed?
At least one smoke detector on every floor, including the basement, and one in every bedroom.

How often should I check my smoke detectors' batteries?
Make sure you change the batteries in your smoke detectors once a year.  An easy way to remember to change your batteries is when you turn your clock back in the fall.  In the meantime, press the button on your smoke detector to make sure it works at least once a month.  If at any time your smoke dectector begins to "chirp" consistently, this is a signal that your battery needs to be changed.

I need help installing a child's car safety seat. Can I bring it to the Fire Station for installation?
No.  The San Carlos Fire Department does not install child car safety seats.  Contact the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office at (650) 257-3401 Ext. 1 to schedule an appointment.

San Mateo County Sheriff - Helpful Information

Is there a difference between a fire engine and a fire truck?
Yes.  A fire engine has a hose, a water tank, a pump, and a small assortment of ladders.  A fire truck usually does not have a pump, hose, or water tank, but has a tall ladder fixed to the truck and over 100 feet of portable ladders along with additional equipment.

My neighbor is burning in their backyard. How should I report it?
Contact the Bay Area Air Quality Control District at 1-800-334-6367

Should I have a "Fire Escape Plan" for my family?
Yes.  The plan should include 2 ways out of every room and every floor.  It is important to have a meeting place for family members and to practice the drill monthly (more frequently if children live in the home).

What are your hours of operation?
Fire Stations are always open for service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The Administrative offices are open from 8:00am to 5:00pm Monday through Friday.  You may view our business and contact information here:

Business & Contact Information

What fees are charged by the Fire Department?
a list of Fire Department fees can be found at:

Fire Department Fees

What is the best kind of fire extinguisher for home use?
Look for a multi-purpose extinguisher.  The rating label will have an ABC rating.  This extinguisher can be used on most household fires.

What should I do if I see or smell smoke, smell a chemical release, or witness a potential medical emergency?
Call 911, the emergency telephone number for the San Carlos Fire Department.

What should I do if I witness an actual fire, a chemical release, a medical or similar emergency?
Call 911, the emergency telephone number for the San Carlos Fire Department.

What should I do if I witness something I believe is a fire hazard in a building where I work, shop, or reside?
Contact a building representative first. If your communication with this responsible party does not result in the successful resolution of your concern(s), contact the San Carlos Fire Department Administration Office at (650) 780-7400. You will confidentially be asked for your name and telephone number should a fire inspector need to follow-up with you. Sorry, anonymous reports cannot be accepted.

What should I do to protect my family and my residence from the ravages of fire?
1. Install smoke detectors inside each bedroom, in the corridor or hallway area serving the bedrooms, and at the top of each stairwell, if your residence is not already so equipped.
2. Regularly test your smoke detector(s) to ensure their proper operability.
3. Install a 2A/10BC portable fire extinguisher to combat small fires involving ordinary combustibles, flammable/combustible liquids, and energized electrical equipment. The preferable location to mount portable fire extinguishers is on a wall, 3.5 to 5 feet above the surface of the floor, near an exit or escape route.
4. Clear combustible vegetation 30 feet to 100 feet away from your residence or to the property line, whichever is closest.
5. Develop and practice an emergency escape plan involving all the occupants of your residence.
6. Ensure that ordinary and/or special fire hazards don’t exist on your property.