Frequently Asked Questions

San Carlos/Redwood City Fire Department


  • Where do I submit plans for fire department review?

    Submit plans to the Building Division during the counter hours of 9 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday.

  • A cat is stuck in a tree or an animal is trapped under my house, who should I call?

    Call the Peninsula Humane Society at (650) 340-8200 or visit the society’s website.

  • 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, located at 600 Elm Street.

  • Do I need a carbon monoxide detector?

    Yes. The California Health & Safety Code requires carbon monoxide detectors installed in all existing family dwelling units since July 1, 2011 and in all other dwelling units since January 1, 2013. For more information regarding carbon monoxide detectors, follow the link below.

  • Do you offer CPR or first aid classes?

    The American Red Cross offers classes in first aid and CPR. Follow the link below for upcoming classes.

  • How can I get my fire extinguisher serviced?

    We do not service fire extinguishers. Please find a professional fire extinguisher service company in the Yellow Pages or online under "fire extinguisher."

  • How do I dispose of an old fire extinguisher?

    Call the San Mateo County Household Hazardous Waste Program at (650) 372-6200 or make an appointment online at the following link.

  • How do I dispose of hazardous waste such as old paint, aerosol sprays, fluorescent lamps, propane tanks, automotive products, thermometers and other mercury products, batteries, etc.?

    Call the San Mateo County Household Hazardous Waste Program at (650) 372-6200 or make an appointment online at the link below.

  • 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.

  • How do I get a lock box or Knox-Box?

    Lock boxes and Knox-Boxes can be ordered online from the manufacturer through the link below. More information about Knox-Boxes is also available at the link.

  • How do I obtain an incident or investigation report?

    Complete a public information release form at the link below. Submit the completed form to us along with the fee of $15 per incident. Investigation reports are classified and require a subpoena to obtain a copy.

  • How do I report a leaking or broken fire hydrant?

    Contact the 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 and Tours

  • How do I schedule a ride-along?

    You must be at least 18 years old and call (650) 780-7400. The ride-along program hours are between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. The Station Captain must approve the time of the ride-along.

  • How many smoke detectors should I have and where should they be placed?

    At least one smoke detector should be 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 this important responsibility is to change your smoke detector batteries when you set your clocks back at the end of Daylight Saving Time 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 detector begins to chirp or make a similar noise consistently, it’s a signal that the 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.

  • My neighbor is burning in his backyard. How should I report it?

    Contact the Bay Area Air Quality Control District at (800) 334-6367.

  • Should I have a fire escape plan for my family?

    Yes. The plan should include two 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, and more frequently if any children live in the home.

  • What are your hours of operation?

    Fire stations are always open for service 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The administrative office in Redwood City is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

  • What fees are charged by the Fire Department?

    A list of our fees can be found at the link below.

  • 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 smell smoke, witness a fire, a chemical release or 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 live?

    Contact a Building Division representative first at (650) 802-4261. If you are still concerned after contacting this person, call our administrative office at (650) 780-7400. We will ask you share your name and telephone number, confidentially, should a fire inspector need to follow up with you. Unfortunately, anonymous reports cannot be accepted.