by Corona Fire Marshal Charlotte Herdliska 

I have a snake, or other desert animal in my yard, on my porch, in the garage.  What should I do?

Call 911 and tell them you have a snake or other desert animal in your yard, on your porch, or wherever it is.  If you can safely keep an eye on it, please do so.  When the fire department arrives, let them know where the snake is or was.  Often residents call the fire station, this is not the best way, we are not always in quarters, and if we are, it is way more difficult to get out the door after receiving a landline call. Please call 911!

My smoke detectors are chirping, or they sound an alarm, but there is no smoke. What should I do?

I don’t know why (I do, it’s a long story) but most often a smoke detector will start chirping or sounding the alarm at the most inconvenient times.  Chirping (about 1 time per minute) is the smoke detectors way of letting you know that it is time to change the battery.   A low battery will not cause the alarm to sound! (3-beeps, 3 beeps, 3 beeps….)   if your smoke detector is sounding an alarm (3 beeps-repeatedly) and there is not a fire or any smoke, then there is a problem with the detector.  If your smoke detectors are interconnected hard-wired detectors (most homes built after 1990) then you need to find the initiating alarm (the one that went off first).   Once you have found the initiating alarm – push the reset button (that’s the button you push to test) this should quite the rest of the alarms – in most cases, you will need to go around and reset the remaining alarms. Our fire department personnel will be happy to assist you with this if needed, please call 911.  What caused this?  A number of things can cause a false alarm, it is usually debris and or a teeny tiny spider or other teeny tiny critter that has gotten inside the smoke detector and as the air currents move this debris or web the ionization sensor or photoelectric sensors does its job, sensing that there are products of combustion and sound the alarm.  If your alarms are more than ten (10) years old, it is time to replace them.  If your alarms are sounding, and you are unable to quiet them, please call 911 and tell them that your alarms are sounding, department personnel will be happy to assist you with this problem – or Monday through Thursday you can call me at my office (762-9370) and together we will schedule an intervention!

My carbon monoxide detector alarm is going off.  What should I do?

Get out and call 911!  This can be a very serious event.  We hear of this far too often, the alarm is going off, but you don’t smell anything, you may feel “ok” you think it is a bad detector.  It is rare that a detector goes bad, if the battery is low it will chirp once every minute or so.  If the alarm sounds you could have a life-threatening situation, please get out and call 911!

Should I buy a travel carbon monoxide detector?

Not a bad idea, most of the carbon monoxide detectors I am familiar with are about the size of your palm and can be easily placed almost anywhere.  Follow placement instructions for your detector, be sure the battery is fresh and have a safe trip.

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