Emergency Service FAQs

Listed are some frequently asked questions about the department. If you have a question that is not listed here, please contact ContactNorthPort@CityofNorthPort.com

How may I give paramedics access to my door key if I have a medical emergency?

North Port Fire Rescue supports the decision to subscribe to a medical alarm service as these services often prove to be truly lifesaving. When involved in an injury or medical condition which limits your movement, wearing a device which initiates a phone call to the alarm service is invaluable.

The Sarasota County Public Safety Communication’s Center presently limits the amount of information attached to an address in their computer system to only specialized information or specific requests of Police and Fire agencies. They do recognize the need for a system which the public can self-enter address-specific information, such as key locations, yet that will not be ready until some point in the future.

If you are disabled and unable to open the door and all doors and windows are locked, our firefighter/paramedics and police would be required to force entry into the residence. While we strive to be careful, some locking devices or their installation can prove harder than others to force entry upon. This unfortunately can result in damage to the door/window, lock or frame.

Many residents prefer to place a spare key in a secure location, which may be in a hidden area or combination lock box located outside but most often near the front door. If that information is provided to the alarm company at the time of subscription, the company should hold that information as confidential and only release it in the event of an emergency call to the 9-1-1 center.

North Port Fire Rescue would recommend a weather-proof, combination-style lock box into which you may store the key, then provide the location and lock code to the alarm company. If you experience a medical emergency, the alarm company would provide that information to the 9-1-1 center, who would then transmit it to the paramedics over a secure data service to the ambulance’s mobile computer. They would obtain the key from the box and enter through the door without any damage to the opening. If you do not subscribe to an alarm service, you may give the combination or key location directly to the 9-1-1 call-taker.

We hope this information has been helpful. Should you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us at (941) 240-8150.

Why are there no tornado warning sirens in North Port?

The City is subject to a number of natural, man-made and man-caused hazards, each with their own risks and preparedness measures. Emergency Management for the City of North Port recommends the purchase of a NOAA weather radio, as opposed to using outside warning sirens, for the notification of weather-related emergencies.

The very first reason is that the NOAA radio not only alerts you to a weather emergency, it gives specific areas of the warning and precautions to take. Warnings can be tailored with such specifics as: “A severe thunderstorm is approaching Englewood beach at 3 PM and expected to be in the River Road and US -41 area at 3:20 PM, the River Road and I-75 area at 3:30 PM, seek shelter indoors away from severe lightning.” NOAA weather alert radios are reliable, readily available and inexpensive, and are loud enough to wake even the deepest sleeper.

North Port is a large 104 square mile city, so while it may be storming at River Road and US -41, the sun is shining at Toledo Blade and Price Blvd. A siren system cannot be as specific as the alert radio. Weather alert radios may also be activated for other emergencies, such as hazardous materials releases, wildfires and civil disturbances.

The siren systems are expensive to engineer, install and maintain, and the sirens may not always be heard inside residences. This is especially true during the middle of the night when everyone is asleep. The outside sirens are also subject to failure should there be a power outage during the storm. With a city as large as North Port we would need to install sirens at numerous locations throughout the city for proper coverage.

For those who have smartphones there is built-in feature that allows the phone to sound a unique alert if it is within the warning area. This allows both residents and those who are travelling through our City to receive the NOAA warning and to seek shelter.

The City also uses a notification system known as CodeRed to alert residents of a pending situation by phone, such as: floods, approaching hurricanes, boil water notices, etc. This system can be quickly programmed for geographic areas, however it is much slower in its delivery. While it can call approximately 1,000 phones a minute, it takes about five to ten minutes to record the message and program the area for delivery. If a call were launched to call all the numbers in the City that process would take nearly ½ hour to complete.

We believe the weather alert radio, and a smoke detector, are the best investments one can make for their home. We strongly encourage our residents to have either a NOAA weather radio or programmed smart phone as a first device for weather notification. If those are not practical, we ask everyone to monitor television, broadcast radio, social media and the internet to keep informed of changing hazardous conditions.

Finally, if you have a hard wired phone in your home you are already in our CodeRed system. If you use only a cell phone or Voice Over Internet Phone (such as Comcast or Vonage) for communication, please visit Alert Sarasota County and opt-in for alerts from the City of North Port.

How do I properly dispose of unwanted medications?

North Port Fire Rescue is not authorized to accept medications, in any form, for disposal. The North Port Police Department is able to accept medications in solid form for disposal.

Do not dispose in the sink or toilet as the medications can cause contamination to Florida’s aquatic environment as wastewater treatment systems are not designed to remove many of these medications.

To protect the environment, instead of flushing medications, please use these guidelines from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection:

  1. Keep in the original container. This will help identify the contents if they are accidentally ingested.
  2. Mark out your name and prescription number for safety
  3. For pills: add some water or soda to start dissolving them; For liquids: add something inedible like cat litter or dirt.
  4. Close the lid and secure with duct or packing tape
  5. Place the bottle(s) inside an opaque (non see-through) container like a detergent container.
  6. Tape that container closed
  7. Hide the container in the trash. Do not put it in the recycle bin.

Will the fire department fill up my swimming pool?

No, we regret that we are unable to provide this service.

  1. We must keep our resources available for emergencies. If we were to have an emergency call during tank filling and dumping, our response time would be greatly delayed.
  2. Fire truck tank water is generally not as clean as you would like for swimming.
  3. Water from hydrants used for other than emergency purposes must be purchased from North Port Utilities.

You may search for companies that do fill swimming pools using the key words: "Bulk Water Delivery in FL."

Does the City of North Port have any codes against building a small fire pit in your backyard?

The answer is no there are no codes against it, but there are city codes stipulating how a fire pit is to be built and used. The requirements for the construction and use of a fire pit are spelled out in Section 26-27 of the City of North Port Municipal Code. Sec. 26-27: Open burning says, in part:

Cooking fires on private property (are permitted), provided that the fire is in an approved container or on a site provided for such purpose(s). At no time shall the flame height of a cooking fire reach over one foot.

An approved container for cooking fires is as follows:

a. A three-foot by three-foot block type container with one grate for cooking, one grate for oak split logs or charcoal and leaving one foot off the ground for air flow (no other wood shall be used).

b. Rolling containers for cooking and smoking using wood or charcoal.

c. Gas grills must be approved by Underwriters Laboratory (UL).

d. Charcoal grills must be UL approved.

Warming or camping fires:

a. Camping fires shall only be approved in designated campgrounds that have been inspected and approved by the AHJ, or his designee.

b. UL approved warming type containers shall be considered approved containers for use on private property as long as no building materials or yard waste are burned.

Open fires and warming fires shall have a screen, or spark arrestor, to prevent embers from escaping, endangering nearby structures and/ or property.

  • At no time shall the flame height of a warming or open fire reach over one foot.
  • At no time shall building materials, household or yard waste be burned.

Warming, cooking and open fires shall be constantly attended by a competent person until the fire is extinguished. This person shall have a garden hose connected to a water supply or other fire-extinguishing equipment readily available for use. At any time, the fire chief as AHJ, or his designee, shall have the authority to shut down/ extinguish any cooking, warming or ceremonial fire deemed a nuisance.

There are a couple of UL approved (warming) fire “pits” available at hardware and home improvement stores. These come equipped with safety features such as spark arrestors. When used properly, they are generally very safe.

Whatever you use should be a minimum of ten (10’) feet from structures, overhangs, brush, trees and other foliage.

Please be aware that we often have very dry conditions around the state, meaning that during those times, the possibility of wildfire is extremely high. We caution everyone not to do any outside burning during these dry periods. View the current KBDI for the State of Florida.

For more information, visit our Wildfire Conditions page.

Why do I see fire trucks and ambulances at food stores and restaurants?

Our department operates 24-hour shifts (8 am to 8 am the next day), therefore the firefighters normally share lunch and dinner together. Each of our stations is permitted one trip per day to the store for food. Our trucks are staffed with two or three firefighters; thus if one were to go to the store in his/her car it may leave only one firefighter to respond to an emergency, which is unsafe and compromises the service to our citizens. Because of liability firefighters are prohibited from responding to emergencies in their personal vehicles.

The firefighters could buy food off duty and bring it to work, however we believe our firefighters should spend their paychecks in the community where they work. While we prefer the option be kept at a minimum, we also allow them to eat at local restaurants and interact with our business community and public. Again only one trip per day is allowed, either to the store or a restaurant.

Not knowing where our next call will occur, being out of the station often puts us closer to the emergency. As an example, while eating lunch in a local restaurant this past year one of our personnel noticed a women choking. That individual was able to perform the Heimlich maneuver, clear her airway, and then call for a rescue unit. She was transported to the hospital and did fine.

Can I choose the hospital I am transported to?

In non-critical instances, you may choose the local hospital that you are transported to. The emergency facilities/hospitals we transport to are:

  • Sarasota Memorial Hospital - North Port
  • Fawcett Memorial Hospital, Peace River Medical Center
  • Englewood Hospital
  • Venice Regional Medical Center
  • Sarasota Memorial Hospital
  • Doctors Hospital
  • Charlotte Regional Medical Center

In critical care situations, the paramedic must transport to the closest facility capable of rendering patient care.

Can I burn yard waste?

No. Burning trash or yard waste is illegal in the City. Cooking fires are permitted but must be properly attended at all times.

Is North Port a Safe Haven for Newborn community?

All North Port Fire Rescue stations are designated as Safe Havens for newborns. Safe Haven sites provide anonymous alternatives to the abandonment of newborns. Birth parents may leave an infant, who is not abused or neglected, at a fire station or hospital without fear of being arrested or charged with abandonment. To get additional information about the Florida “Safe Baby” law, call (877) 767-2229.

My insurance company is looking for the ISO rating, the distance from the nearest fire hydrant and how close I am to the nearest fire station. Can you provide that information?

The City of North Port’s ISO rating is a 1/1Y. The 1/1Y rating is very significant. Of the 780 fire departments in Florida, there are only five Class 1 departments and 16 Class 2 departments. On a national scale, North Port Fire Rescue District now ranks in the top 1% of the country. 

How can I dispose of my used needles or syringes?

The Fire Rescue District has a sharps exchange program. The program allows residents to safely dispose of their used household hypodermic needles, syringes and lancets, otherwise known as sharps. Sharps must be put in an approved rigid, leak proof, puncture resistant container. There is no cost for this program.

Filled containers may be dropped off, and exchanged for a new container at:

  • Fire Station 81, 4980 City Center Blvd.
  • Fire Station 82, 5650 North Port Blvd.
  • Fire Station 83, 3601 E. Price Blvd.
  • Fire Station 84, 1350 Citizens Parkway
  • Fire Station 85, 1308 N. Biscayne Drive
  • Fire Station 86, 19955 Preto Boulevard

Where can I get my blood pressure checked?

The personnel at any of the fire stations will be happy to take your blood pressure whenever they are able to – that is, when they are not out of the station for emergencies or training reasons. There is no charge for the service, and it is available during reasonable daytime hours.

If I have had an emergency, how do I get a copy of the incident report?

If the emergency was not medically related, such as a house or vehicle fire or a service call, contact our Headquarters at (941) 240-8150 and we will provide you with a copy of the report. However, medical information is exempt from Florida public access laws. A copy can be provided, but all medical/patient information will have been deleted. However, if the person involved in the medical incident either appears in person (with proper identification) or provides our office with a notarized release of medical/patient information form, the report can be released without modification. The unmodified report will also be released to the legal guardian of the patient or a designated executor. A fee will be charged for copies of reports.

If I lock my keys inside my vehicle, will the fire department unlock it for me?

Our department will respond to a true emergency situation, such as an infant or pet locked in a vehicle, and will use a punch tool to remove one of the windows. However, if there is no emergency involved, our department must regretfully refer you to a locksmith.

Does it cost me anything when I call 9-1-1 for an emergency?

The North Port Fire Rescue District responds to all fire and medical calls, including vehicle accidents and other service calls, at no cost. There is a charge for Basic and Advanced Life Support services. Additional fees and mileage will apply for transport to a local hospital. View information on Emergency Medical Service transport and report fees on our Fire Rescue Billing and Fees page. Hazardous materials calls also may be billed, depending upon the type, scope, and duration of the incident.

Why does a fire truck show up for a medical emergency?

The North Port Fire Rescue District is an ALS (Advanced Life Support) First Responder agency, and each of its fire fighting personnel are dual certified as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) or Paramedics. Fire trucks are also equipped to handle medical emergencies. Often a fire truck is the closest unit, and its crew will respond to stabilize a patient prior to the arrival of an ambulance. The fire truck crew can also provide additional manpower to ensure that the patient receives the fastest possible care.