Home Safety

Safety and security are important to every resident of the city of Sioux Falls and there are steps each resident can take to protect and secure your residence. Sioux Falls Police Department and Sioux Falls Fire Rescue have worked collaboratively to provide residents helpful tips and hints on home safety. On this site you’ll find many safety tips and answers to commonly asked questions about home safety. If you have questions or concerns, contact Sioux Falls Police Department at 605-978-6698 or Sioux Falls Fire Prevention at 367-8093.

 

Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide detector coverage maps

Installing Smoke Alarms

Installing Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Home Safety Topics

A burn permit is required for open burning involving:

  • Forestry, range, or wildlife management practices.
  • The prevention or control of disease or pests.
  • Bonfires (wood-fueled fire exceeding 3 feet in diameter) either within or without a confined barrier or pit.

A burn permit is not required for recreational fires meeting the following guidelines:

  • Recreational fire pits (not to exceed 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet in height) and are contained within:
    • Earthen pit with sidewalls
    • Fireplace
    • Commercial grill
    • Manufactured fireplaces
  • Recreational fires must be a minimum of 15 feet from a structure and/or combustibles.
  • Recreational fires must be attended until extinguished.
  • Only firewood or charcoal may be burned.
  • Property owners must have knowledge of and authorize the activity.
  • A minimum of one portable fire extinguisher or other approved method of fire extinguishment, such as dirt, sand, water barrel, garden hose, or water truck, shall be available for immediate use.
  • A fire contained within a barbeque grill and for the sole purpose of cooking is not a recreational fire.
  • Working smoke alarms save lives, cutting the risk of dying in a home fire in half. Smoke alarms should be installed and maintained in every home.  
  • A smoke alarm detects smoke and provides warning at the early stages of a fire. This gives you time to escape.  
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside of each bedroom and in each bedroom.
  • When you replace interconnected smoke alarms, replace them all with the same brand.
  • Dust of vacuum smoke alarms regularly. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning.
  • Smoke alarms must be tested monthly by pressing on the “test” button.  
  • Change the battery at least once a year (unless you have ten- year lithium battery alarms). An easy way to remember is to change the batteries when you change your clocks for daylight saving time.
  • Replace smoke alarms for every ten years or according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless, and toxic gas. It can kill you before you are aware that it is in your home. Hundreds of people die from carbon monoxide each year.  
  • CO can come from gas-fired appliances, charcoal grills, wood- burning fireplaces and stoves, and motor vehicles.
  • Symptoms of CO poisoning may include headache, nausea, and drowsiness.  
  • Install carbon monoxide alarms within 10 feet of all sleeping areas. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for placement and mounting height.  
  • Use digital carbon monoxide alarms that are plugged in and feature a battery in case your power goes out.
  • Test CO alarms once a month.
  • Replace your alarm every five to seven years (dated on the back) or according to manufacturer’s instructions. The sensors in CO alarms have limited life.

What actions do I take if my CO alarm sounds?

If no one is feeling ill:

  • Silence the alarm.
  • Turn off all appliances and sources of combustion.
  • Call a qualified professional and/or the gas company to investigate the source of the possible CO buildup.
If people are experiencing flu-like symptoms:
  • Get out of the house immediately.
  • Call 9-1-1.
  • Remain at a fresh air location until emergency personnel arrive to assist you. 

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), smoking materials are the leading cause of fire deaths in the United States. You should be aware of the fire risks associated with smoking.

  • If you smoke, use only fire-standard- compliant cigarettes.
  • If you smoke, smoke outside.
  • Do not discard cigarettes in vegetation, potted plants, landscaping, peat moss, dried grasses, mulch, leaves, and other similar items that can easily catch fire.  
  • Use deep, sturdy ashtrays. Never empty smoking materials directly into a trash can. Discard butts and ashes in water or sand.  
  • Most deadly fires happen when people are drowsy, medicated, or intoxicated.
  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Never smoke where medical oxygen is used.
  • Before going to bed, check for smoldering cigarette butts where people were smoking in your home.
  • Battery-operated, flameless candles are the safest choice.
  • Always use a flashlight—not a candle—for emergency lighting.
  • Avoid using candles around children and pets. They are often fascinated by the flame.
  • If you choose to use candles, place them in sturdy, safe candleholders that won’t burn.
  • Candles should be at least three feet from anything that can burn.
  • Extinguish candles when you leave a room or go to sleep.
  • Never use candles in the bedroom.
  • Always stay in the kitchen while cooking on the stovetop. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking.  
  • Create a three-foot safety zone around your stove and grill, keeping all young children and pets at least three feet away while you are cooking.  
  • Keep the top of the stove clean. Anything that can burn— including oven mitts, food boxes, towels—should be at least three feet from the stovetop and oven.  
  • Turn all pot handles to the side to prevent them from being knocked or pulled down.
  • Clean the vents above the stove once a month to prevent grease buildup.
  • Wear tight-fitting or short sleeves when cooking.  
  • If a fire starts in a pan on the stove, do not move the pan or put water on it! Carefully slide a lid across the top of the pan, turn the burner off, and call the fire department.  
  • Oil and water don’t mix. Never pour water on a grease fire. It will make the oil explode and rapidly spread fire throughout the room.
  • Always place space heaters on a steady surface and at least three feet away from anything that can burn.  
  • A space heater should have a switch that will shut the heater off instantly if it tips over or gets too hot.
  • Burn only dry, seasoned wood in fireplaces and wood stoves— not trash or paper.
  • Have chimneys inspected and cleaned by a professional at least once a year.  
  • Dispose of ashes in a metal, airtight container until cooled. Fires from ashes have occurred days after improper disposal.
  • Keep furniture at least three feet from the fireplace.
  • Have the furnace professionally inspected annually, or according to manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Change furnace filters according to manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Extension cords are not meant to replace permanent wiring. Use surge protectors when multiple plugs are needed.
  • Unplug small appliances (e.g., coffee pots, toasters) when not in use.
  • Replace damaged cords.
  • Halogen lamps operate at high temperatures, thereby posing fire and burn hazards. They should be used with added caution.
  • Follow wattage recommendations for every light fixture.
  • Electrical cords should not be placed under rugs or across doorways.
  • All electrical outlets and light switches should have cover plates.
  • Fuse boxes should be accessible and clearly labeled. The metal door should be kept closed.
  • All outlets near water should be GFCI protected.
  • Keep things that burn easily (debris, wood, leaves, trash, etc.) away from home.
  • Outside outlets should have electrical outlet covers.
  • Avoid carbon monoxide buildup; do not start car until garage door is fully open. Never leave the car running in garage.  
  • Store flammable liquids in safety containers in a metal cabinet with doors, away from heat sources and exits. Refuel any engines outside in fresh air.  
  • Propane/charcoal grills should be located outdoors on a noncombustible surface. Grills should not be used under overhangs and should be kept at least six feet from home during use.  
  • Living areas and attached garages should be separated by a solid core door or a metal fire-rated door.  
  • Drywall provides limited fire protection. Ensure that there are no openings in the drywall that separate an attached garage and living space.  
  • Ensure that the safety reverse function of the automatic garage door is functional and properly adjusted.  
  • House numbers should be a different color than the house and large enough read from the street. Consider using reflective numbers and illuminating them with a light.  
  • Trees should be trimmed so they do not touch or hang over the roof to prevent fire spread.
  • Most crimes are the result of an opportunity. Don’t give thieves an easy way to steal your property. Install and maintain proper outdoor lighting, including motion detectors at front and back of home.
  • All exterior doors, including the garage door leading to the house, should be equipped with deadbolt locks.
  • Break-resistant glass should be installed in all doors and in side panels next to doors.
  • All garage windows should be covered.
  • All plantings/shrubbery in front of windows should be kept trimmed to eliminate hiding places.
  • All windows should have locks installed and should be kept locked.
  • Sliding doors should be secured with a locking mechanism. In addition, place a bar or dowel into the track.
  • Install timers on interior lights and set to turn lights on when no one is home. • Always lock your car doors. It does not matter if the car is parked in the driveway, garage, or on the street. Remove valuables from vehicles.
  • Firearms and ammunition should be secured and stored separately.
  • Keep your garage door opener out of sight.