Community Outreach

New Hanover County Fire Rescue offers a wide variety of outreach services to the community.  The links below highlight and provide additional information about these services.  Also check our safety facts for the latest information on how to keep you and your family safe.

  • Install smoke alarms inside and outside each bedroom and sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. Install alarms in the basement.
  • Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.
  • It is best to use interconnected smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds they all sound.
  • Test all smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
  • There are two kinds of alarms. Ionization smoke alarms are quicker to warn about flaming fires. Photoelectric alarms are quicker to warn about smoldering fires. It is best to use both types of alarms in the home.
  • A smoke alarm should be on the ceiling or high on a wall. Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms. They should be at least 10 feet (3 meters) from the stove.
  • People who are hard-of-hearing or deaf can use special alarms. These alarms have strobe lights and bed shakers.
  • Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10


  • A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
  • Smoke alarms should be installed inside every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level.
  • Smoke alarms should be connected so when one sounds, they all sound. Most homes do not have this level of protection.
  • Roughly 3 out of 5 fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms or the alarms are not working.
Federal Point Fire Station - March 1, 2016

Federal Point Fire Station

Murrayville Fire Station - March 3, 2016

Murrayville Fire Station

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New Hanover County Fire Rescue dedicated Fire Engine 16, the department’s newest fire truck on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 at Fire Station 16 in Ogden. With state-of-the-art technology, this new engine will help Fire Rescue continue to provide excellent fire and life safety services in New Hanover County and the Ogden community. The new fire engine is a 2016 Pierce Enforcer. It is rated to provide more than 1,500 gallons of water per minute, while carrying 1,000 gallons of water. The unit features a Class-A Foam System, which helps extinguish fires, as well as updated displays and readouts to monitor the unit’s performance. The engine has increased safety features and a redesigned compartment configuration that allows more equipment to be carried. Photo by Brett Cottrell, New Hanover County

Ogden Fire Station 16
Photo by Brett Cottrell, New Hanover County

Firefighters in New Hanover County are going above and beyond their fire prevention work this year by encouraging families to get Fired Up for a safer and healthier community!

Take action and don’t risk it! Be sure you and your family’s health and safety are protected!

Join our efforts this October with the Fired Up Challenge as we team up and take action together to be safe and healthy! Learn more here.

To help reduce the risk of accidental exposure, poisoning, or medication misuse, there are several permanent medication drop box locations in New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender counties, referred to as the “Tri-County Region,” where unwanted, unused and expired medications can be properly disposed of for free. Download the list of medication drop boxes, or view the map below to find a location near you.

Please note: needles, sharps, liquids, or biohazard materials are not accepted at drop box locations for safety reasons. To safely dispose of needles or sharps, follow these guidelines:

  • Always use an FDA-cleared sharps container when available. Free sharps containers may be available from your doctor, health insurance provider, or medication supplier.
  • If you do not have access to an FDA-approved sharps container, use an empty household container with these features:
    • Tight-fitting lid that cannot be punctured, made of heavy-duty plastic that will not puncture easily, stays upright, and does not leak
  • Dispose of household sharps container when it is 2/3 full:
    • Close lid, tape shut, and label “sharps biohazard”
    • Take sharps container to sharps disposal program
    • If you cannot find a sharps disposal program, put the container in the center of a full trash bag and discard in regular trash. Do not put sharps containers in recycling.

If the map does not display properly in your browser, try clicking the “home” icon on the map or view the full-sized map.

New Hanover County Fire Rescue is committed to provide a professional service to the community by protecting life and property through all hazards response and risk reduction.  An important part of this mission is to provide up to date safety information to the citizens of New Hanover County.  These safety facts contain the latest information on how to keep you and your family safe.  Also check our outreach services for ways to get involved in fire prevention and risk reduction activities in the community.

What fireworks are legal in North Carolina?
The types of consumer fireworks permissible for use in North Carolina are generally classified as sparklers, fountains, and novelty fireworks. Items that do not have a report (explode) or are not intended to spin or to leave the ground and fly through the air are legal. If you purchased it from a vendor in North Carolina it should be legal.

What fireworks are not legal in North Carolina?
Fireworks items such as firecrackers, ground spinners, roman candles, rockets (including bottle rockets), mortars, etc. Fireworks from surrounding states are not legal in North Carolina.

Who is responsible when shooting fireworks?
If you decide to shoot fireworks you are liable for any injury, death, or destruction of property.

Who can purchase fireworks?
North Carolina law requires the purchaser of any consumer fireworks to be at least 16 years old. In the instance of a public exhibition of fireworks, such as a festival, carnival, etc, a permit from the New Hanover County Fire Marshal’s Office is required. The fireworks must be presented by licensed, trained, competent operators, and a representative from the Fire Marshal’s Office will inspect the pyrotechnics and viewing area to ensure safety.

What are the consequences for using fireworks that are not legal in North Carolina?
Violation of fireworks laws is classified as a misdemeanor, which may be punishable by a fine of up to $500 and/or imprisonment for up to six months, depending upon the level of violation. The fireworks laws cover transport, display, storage, sale, possession and use of fireworks.

Are sparklers safe for young children?
Often parents offer small children sparklers, thinking they are a safe alternative. Sparklers reach over 1200 degrees Fahrenheit, which can cause third degree burns. Keep in mind that glass melts at 900 degrees.

What safety precautions should I take when using sparklers?

  • Never hold a child in your arms while using a sparkler.
  • Never hold or light more than one sparkler at a time.
  • Sparkler wire stays hot long after flames have gone out. Be sure to place used sparklers in a bucket of water.
  • Stand at least 6 feet from another person while using sparklers.
  • Never wave sparklers or run while holding them.

What safety precautions should I take when using fireworks?

  • Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks. NFPA reports injuries to children 10-14 are twice as high.
  • Never have any portion of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Move back a safe distance immediately after lighting.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not fully functioned.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water, water hose, and/or fire extinguisher close in case of fire.
  • Light one firework at a time and then move away.
  • After fireworks fully complete their functioning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding to prevent trash fire.

When are the professionals shooting fireworks?
Carolina Beach Boardwalk
Riverfront Park, Downtown Wilmington

Did you know…

  • Motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death among children ages 1 to 19?
  • Children ages 2 to 5 who use safety belts prematurely are four times more likely to suffer a serious head injury in a crash than those in child safety seats or booster seats?
  • Of those children ages 12 and under who died in vehicle crashes in 2011, 33 percent were unrestrained?
  • Children should ride in the back seat until they are at least 13 years old?

For more information on Child Passenger Safety visit SafeKidsNC

Smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries.

Smoke alarms save lives. If there is a fire in your home, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out. Having a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a reported fire in half. Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

Here’s what you need to know!

  • Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home.
  • Test your smoke alarms every month.
  • When a smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside.
  • Replace all smoke alarms in your home every 10 years
    More about staying safe with smoke alarms.


A portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until the fire department arrives; but portable extinguishers have limitations. Because fire grows and spreads so rapidly, the number one priority for residents is to get out safely.

Safety tips

  • Use a portable fire extinguisher when the fire is confined to a small area, such as a wastebasket, and is not growing; everyone has exited the building; the fire department has been called or is being called; and the room is not filled with smoke.
  • To operate a fire extinguisher, remember the word PASS:
    Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle
    pointing away from you, and release the locking
    Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
    Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
    Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.
  • For the home, select a multi-purpose extinguisher (can be used on all types of home fires) that is large enough to put out a small fire, but not so heavy as to be difficult to handle.
  • Choose a fire extinguisher that carries the label of an independent testing laboratory.
  • Read the instructions that come with the fire extinguisher and become familiar with its parts and operation before a fire breaks out. Local fire departments or fire equipment distributors often offer hands-on fire extinguisher trainings.
  • Install fire extinguishers close to an exit and keep your back to a clear exit when you use the device so you can make an easy escape if the fire cannot be controlled. If the room fills with smoke, leave immediately.
  • Know when to go. Fire extinguishers are one element of a fire response plan, but the primary element is safe escape. Every household should have a home fire escape plan and working smoke alarms.
Fire Rescue: 216 North 2nd Street • Wilmington, 28401 • Phone 910-798-7420 • Fax 910-798-7052
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