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Fire Marshal's Office

Telephone & Email Directory

Name Title Telephone
Jim Kettler
Fire Marshal & Emergency Management Coordinator (215) 794-8836

Information from the Fire Marshal's Desk...


Frequently Asked Questions

Am I allowed to burn on my property?

Yes, residents are permitted to burn, with limitations, but only after receiving permission from the Fire Marshal. Open burning is permitted for leaves, pruning, tree trimmings, and limbs from storm damage. These may be burned only under the following conditions:

  • Approval obtained from the Fire Marshal 215-794-8836
  • Fire Board controlled burning notification number 215-328-5011
  • Weather conditions do not make such fires a hazard
  • Location is not less than 50 feet from any structure or road edge
  • Provisions must be made to contain the fire to the location
  • Fires shall consist only of seasoned dry wood or leaves
  • Fire shall be constantly attended by a competent person until fire is out
  • Fire extinguishing equipment must be available, extinguisher, hose, etc.
  • Fire size is limited to 5 ft X 5 ft X 5ft
  • Flammable/combustible liquids shall not be used to start the fire
  • Burning is only permitted between sunrise and sunset
  • Fires considered objectionable or offensive to neighbors shall be extinguished

For further information see open burning regulations.

My smoke detector goes off when I cook, is set off by the shower, or sometimes goes off for no apparent reason.  What is wrong?

Smoke detectors are vital to insuring the safety of you and your family. Smoke detectors must be maintained in good working order. Batteries in your detectors should be changed every six months. Smoke detectors should also be cleaned at least annually. Just as you clean your home, your smoke detectors need to be cleaned. Make sure you follow the manufacturer's instructions about cleaning. Cobwebs and dust usually can be removed with a vacuum cleaner attachment. If you are going to be doing work nearby that could send dust in the air, cover the detector with a shield. Also, shield the detector if you are painting around it, and never paint on it. Remove the shield promptly after work is completed.

Regularly cleaning your smoke detectors and following the manufacturer's instructions may help stop "nuisance" or false alarms. If this doesn't stop them, install a fresh battery in the detectors giving nuisance alarms. Evaluate where your detectors are placed if the problem still persists. Cooking vapors and steam can set off a smoke detector. If the detector is near the kitchen or bathroom, try moving it farther away. If nuisance alarms continue, install a new smoke detector

I have a new home in Buckingham that is protected by a fire sprinkler system. How can I be sure that the system is working properly?

Congratulations and welcome to Buckingham Township! Your home is equipped with a state of the art fire protection system. The combination of fire sprinklers and smoke detectors insures the highest level of safety for you and your family.

The Township recommends that a reputable sprinkler contractor inspect your sprinkler system once a year. The National Fire Protection Association recommends the following items be checked monthly:

  • Visual inspection of sprinkler heads to make sure that the spray from the heads will not be blocked,
  • Check all valves to make sure they are open,
  • If you have any questions on your fire sprinkler system, please contact the Fire Marshal at 215-794-8836.

USFA Emphasizes Support for Residential Fire Sprinklers

News Release Date: May 17, 2007

Emmitsburg, MD - The national support for residential sprinklers has been a long and important project for the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA). Since our enabling legislation passed in 1974, the USFA has been organizationally charged with improving the life safety risk from fire for the United States. Fire sprinklers and smoke alarms are, and will continue to be, among the most important planks of the USFA.

"Since 2001, then USFA Fire Administrator R. David Paulison and I have made it a point to endorse local sprinkler ordinances, and recruit all fire service leaders to embrace sprinklers in all commercial and residential properties," said Acting USFA Assistant Administrator Charlie Dickinson. "Every firefighter in this nation, running into buildings people are running from, knows first hand the lives smoke alarms and sprinklers are saving across this nation."

The USFA is pleased to report that the number of fire incidents, fatalities, and injuries has declined over the past 25 years. However, at the same time, the USFA finds the loss of 2,570 lives in 2005 in one-and two-family homes to be unacceptable, and in many cases, preventable.The USFA knows smoke alarm education and other public outreach programs are practical, effective, and proven approaches to reducing fire incidents, fatalities, and injuries and acknowledges that, tragically, some homes are still without working smoke alarms. As a result, the USFA continues its support of all fire departments and citizens to ensure that every home has and maintains working smoke alarms. However, USFA believes that this is only part of the solution.

Residential sprinkler installation is another part of the solution to further reduce residential fire incidents, injuries, and fatalities. The National Fire Protection Association reports that when sprinklers are present, the chances of dying in a fire are reduced by one-half to three-fourths and the average property loss per fire is cut by one-half to two-thirds when compared to fires where sprinklers are not present.

Together with smoke alarms, sprinklers cut the risk of dying in a home fire by 82%, relative to having neither. The need to install
residential sprinklers in homes has been proven to result in lower fire damage and little or no spread of the fire from the room where it started. When coupled with a working smoke alarm, there is a potential for a dramatic decrease in the over 2,500 residential fire deaths that occur each year in America.

For further information regarding the efforts and programs of the USFA, visit: