Indianapolis Fire Department’s Public Safety Officer


Dear All,

Below are some tips from Indianapolis Fire Department’s Public Safety Officer, Rita Reith.  As winter weather seems to be here and we use our furnaces, some like to enjoy fireplaces, the holidays with much cooking going on as well as burning more candles, and other fire dangers with appliances it is a good time to review fire safety with your family as well as check your smoke detectors, furnace and other appliances.  Please take time to read through the tips below and feel free to share this with others.  By doing so might keep you or others from suffering from a tragic fire.


Janice McHenry
City-County Councillor District 6


Please consider the following messaging as we continue to help keep our community safe:

  1. Check your smoke detectors. Are they working?  Change your battery and make sure you have one per floor.  If it activates, don’t ignore it.  Never remove the battery.  Evacuate and call 911. Do you have a carbon monoxide detector?  These items can be purchased at any hardware store relatively inexpensively and in a combination unit.

    2. Talk to your family members and create a family evacuation plan today.  Know two ways out of every room and have a meeting place outside the residence where everyone knows to go.

    3.  If you smell something odd in your home such as possible fire or gas…don’t wait to evacuate.  Get out and call 911. Allow the fire department to investigate. Your family’s safety is important to us.

    4.  Do you see unusual activity in your neighborhood?  Call your local District IMPD office and report it. You can also call Crime Stoppers at 262-TIPS or text INDYCS plus tip information to 274627 (CRIMES).  Vacant and Unoccupied can be dangerous places for anyone to seek shelter without prior approval.  Children should never be allowed to play near or in a vacant structure.  The interior condition of the structure is often times unattended and it is not uncommon to have broken glass, large holes in the floors and unsafe stairwells. Additionally, ARSON is a crime and intentionally setting any fire is never acceptable.  Don’t hesitate to report suspicious activity or information.

    5.  When firefighters arrive on scene and begin to lay hose lines, please change your direction of travel and leave the area.  Drivers please be considerate and do not drive over hose lines.  By doing so you are putting firefighter’s lives at even further risk by potentially cutting off their water supply to attack the fire.

    6.  When was the last time you had your dryer, furnace, fireplace or water heater checked? Make an appointment today.  Keep those items serviced and in the event of something malfunctioning, evacuate and call 911.   Again….Never ever use appliances such as a stove to heat your home. This is not safe and is dangerous and deadly.  If you choose to use a space heater, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and keep a 3 foot perimeter away from combustibles such as clothing, furniture and curtains.  Do not use candles to heat your home and never leave them unattended. Don’t burn things in your fireplace that aren’t intended to be burned indoors.

    7.  We again remind you to never leave food unattended while cooking.  Grease on the stove can rapidly catch fire and get out of control.  Always heat grease slowly and keep a method of extinguishment nearby such as a lid or fire extinguisher.

    8.  If you suspect that your child has been using combustible items such as cigarettes, please address it before it becomes deadly.  The Indianapolis Fire Department has a juvenile fire setters program that can help you explain the dangers of smoking as it pertains to a child.  For more information contact 317-327-3473 (FIRE).   Falling asleep while smoking is a leading cause of death for adults.


Rita L. Reith
Captain – Public Information Officer
Indianapolis Fire Department
Department of Public Safety
555 N New Jersey St

Indianapolis, IN 46204

Phone – 317-327-6086
Cell – 317-716-6272

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