Fire and EMS

Upper Makefield Fire Company and Lingohocken Fire Company

The all-volunteer Upper Makefield Fire Company serves most of Upper Makefield Township. The all-volunteer Lingohocken Fire Company serves the remaining portion of the Township. Upper Makefield Township contributes funds annually toward their operation, but your donations and volunteer time are what brings firefighters to your door in an emergency. We encourage residents to support our fire companies by training as volunteer firefighters, providing professional services, offering general volunteer time, and financial donations.

Emergency Medical Services

A Responder vehicle is staffed and stationed on Taylorsville Road at Upper Makefield Fire Company’s Station 71. This service is staffed 24/7 by Newtown EMS by agreement with Upper Makefield Township. The Township has an agreement with Newtown EMS through March 2024.

Fire Marshal

Our Township Chief Fire Marshal John C. Kernan investigates the origin and cause of all fires in the Township. He reviews requests for all open burning permits. He also reviews proposed developments, conducts routine business inspections, and upon request, provides fire safety reviews for private homes. Working with the Department of Planning and Zoning, he is responsible for the interpretation and enforcement of all adopted fire safety codes. Fire Marshal Kernan has earned and maintains numerous certifications and designations for fire investigation and as an expert witness. He is a NAFI/AIFI Fellow, International Association of Fire Investigators and an ICC, NFPA & PA Dept. Labor & Industry Certified Fire Inspector. If you have any fire safety questions, please contact Fire Marshal John Kernan at 215-968-2868 or

Fire Marshal Reports


Preventing fires in Upper Makefield is the ultimate goal: We’ve collected fire safety tips here.

Learn to Prevent Fire with These Tips

Fire Safety Tips for Babysitters

Babysitting is a job many people take for granted. When parents call and ask you to “sit” in their place with their children, they are telling you that they trust you to be as responsible as they are for the safety of their children. It’s a big job! It certainly should be enjoyable, but it needs to be safe and responsible as well. In many instances, you are in a strange house for the first time and are unfamiliar with the house layout and the information that becomes vital in an emergency. Discuss the following points with the parents before they leave the house. Have the parents fill out the fire safety checklist. Carry it in your pocket until they return.

  • When babysitting, you are in charge. During an emergency, you must immediately act on your own to ensure the safety of the children you are sitting for.
  • Be familiar with the house. Learn all exits and how to unlock doors and windows. Know 2 ways out of each room and then plan alternate escape routes.
  • Have the parents show you and the children an established meeting place outside the home. Don’t confuse the children with a different plan.
  • Cook only if you have the permission of the parents. Turn pot handles in to prevent spilling, and never leave cooking unattended.
  • In case of fire, gather the children and exit the house immediately.
  • Account for everyone and go immediately to a neighbor’s house to call 9-1-1.
  • Have an adult neighbor meet the police or first-arriving fire officer to tell them everyone is out safely.
  • Tell them the exact reason for exiting the house, and where the smoke alarm activated or fire started.
  • Never go back inside the house! Stay outside, stay safe, and keep the children calm and close by.
  • If you encounter smoke or flames that are blocking the way to the children, go straight to the neighbor’s house and dial 9-1-1. Tell them the children are trapped inside and where they are. Wait for the fire company on the street outside with the neighbor so you can them exactly where the children are.
  • If you encounter smoke or flames while you and the children are escaping a fire, use other established exit routes.
  • If you must escape through smoke, remember that heat and smoke rise, so stay low by crawling through the cleaner air on the floor. Keep the children constantly in sight and tell them to get out quickly.
  • If the parents haven’t tested the smoke alarms recently, ask them to test the alarms before they leave the house. Replace batteries as required to ensure they are operating.
Fall & Winter Fire Safety Tips

Heating equipment is the leading cause of home fires during the months of December, January, and February. Here are some safety reminders.


  • Have your heating unit serviced by a professional.
  • Buy fuels only from a reputable company.
  • Use only fuel type recommended by manufacturer.


  • Hire a certified chimney sweep to clean your chimney.
  • Ensure that you know how the fireplace flue works.
  • Purchase and use a fireplace screen to control sparks.
  • Dispose of ashes in metal container located away from buildings.


  • Properly install smoke alarms and fire extinguishers.
  • Keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from all combustibles.
  • Make sure that all combustibles are a safe distance from any heating source.
  • Provide proper ventilation as required for heaters.

Download, review and share these fire safety tips to help keep the holidays safe:



State law prohibits the use of consumer and display fireworks in the State of Pennsylvania without a permit from the municipality where the display will take place. Read more on the State Police website – Fireworks F.A.Q. page. For information about Fireworks Permits in Upper Makefield Township, contact the Fire Marshal at 215-968-3340.

Garage Fire Safety Tips

Did you know that over 6,500 garage fires reported annually in the United States? Over the years, residential garages have become more than just a safe place to keep vehicles out of the elements. They are now expanded storage areas for many household items–many which are combustible. Read more.

Grilling Safety

Where you grill is your first safety decision: Half of all gas and charcoal grill home fires begin on an exterior balcony or unenclosed porch. Proper selection and grill maintenance reduce problems as well. Then, the food is ready for grilling, safe operations ensure a great grilling day! Below are some fire safety tips to ensure a summer of safe grilling.

  • Placing combustibles too close to heat, and leaving cooking unattended, are the 2 leading causes for charcoal grill home fires.
  • Gas grills have a higher fire risk than charcoal grills; leaks and fuel line cracks are the leading cause, accounting for nearly half of gas grill fires.
  • Wall coverings, exterior trim, and plants are the leading items first ignited in home outdoor charcoal grill fires.

Placement and Maintenance

  • Never store propane cylinders in your home or garage.
  • Check hose integrity and hose connections to make sure gas is not leaking from your gas grill. Apply soapy water to hoses and connections to reveal any leaks. Use only equipment bearing the mark of an independent testing laboratory. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to set up the grill and maintain it.
  • If your propane tank is more than 3 years old or shows signs of age, get a new one.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby and know how to use it.

When Grilling

  • Grill away from combustibles, including the exterior of your house, balcony or garage. This includes plants.
  • Establish a “kid-free zone” of 3 feet around the grill, and keep pets from being underfoot.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals or kindling have already been ignited.
  • Use only approved charcoal lighter fluid — never gasoline or other combustibles — to start charcoal fires.
  • When finished grilling, first turn off the propane at the tank control and then turn off the grill fuel control.
Holiday Home Safety Tips

Help keep your family and friends safe during the holidays by following these Holiday Home Safety tips.

  1. SMOKE ALARMS are vital and required by code for all homes here in Upper Makefield Township.
    One is required on each level of the home as well as hallways adjacent to bedrooms. I recommend they also be placed in rooms with a heat source as well as garages and attics. Please TEST them monthly!!!!!!!!
  1. Keep Christmas trees away from any heat sources and water them daily
  2. Use tree lights that carry a “Testing Lab” seal i.e. UL Underwriter’s Lab
  3. Inspect your light cords for damage or fraying
  4. Turn your lights off when unattended
  5. Don’t overload electrical outlets – one plug one utility
  6. Extension cords are designed as a temporary electrical utility, use them sparingly
  7. Never use live candles on trees and keep all combustibles at least 18” away from wherever they are placed *NEVER LEAVE THEM UNATTENDED!
  8. Have your heater serviced and your chimney cleaned by a certified technician
  9. Take the time to discuss and practice a family fire drill, have a designated place for everyone to meet outside the home

To speak directly with the Fire Marshal, John C. Kernan, please call 215-968-3340.
Download a copy of the Holiday Home Safety Tips.

Home Fire Safety Inspections

Fire Marshal John C. Kernan is available by phone to answer questions related to fire safety and prevention. For residents with special circumstances or who require assistance, the Fire Marshal is also available for a residence visit by appointment to discuss home fire safety. Schedule a visit by calling Township offices at 215-968-3340 or email Fire Marshal Kernan at

House Fires Can Burn 8 Times Faster

Recent research indicates that modern house fires burn much faster than they did a few decades ago. Lightweight construction materials for homes and furnishings are much more volatile and fast-burning and fires can cause fires to burn even 8 times faster than they did before hardwoods were replaced with synthetics and non-hardwood. This highlights the importance of smoke detectors and exit plans! Read more by clicking here and find links to information about smoke detectors, fires escape plans and fire safety on this page.

Open Burning Permit Required

Permits are required for Open Burning. Contact Fire Marshal John Kernan at or at 215-968-3340 for information about open burning and other fire safety information.

Please note that residential open burning is not permitted in Upper Makefield.

Smoke Detectors-Do You Have Enough? In the Right Places?

The most important thing you can do is ensure that your smoke alarms are properly placed and are working. The minimum requirements call for smoke alarms to be located on each level of the home (top of stairways recommended) and in the hallways adjacent to sleeping room. Smoke follows the path of least resistance, so smoke alarms must be mounted on ceilings and not on walls. New home construction requires smoke alarms to be also installed in all bedrooms and are interconnected with all smoke alarms in the house – one goes off, they all go off. Fire Marshal John Kernan also recommend they be installed in the attic, garage and rooms housing HVAC equipment and clothes washer / dryer. Take the time to test your smoke alarms monthly.

New homes have “hard wired” smoke alarms that are interconnected, have continuous electrical power and battery back up in case of power failures. Older homes normally have smoke alarms that are only battery powered and are not interconnected. I strongly recommend replacing these smoke alarms with battery powered interconnected smoke alarms. These interconnected alarms dramatically improve the chances of surviving a house fire by having every smoke alarm activated when only one goes off. Seconds count as a fire can actually double in size every 30 seconds in the right conditions! Interconnected smoke alarms are readily available for purchase on-line or at hardware and big box home improvement stores. These alarms are life savers!

About half of all house fires occur between 11pm and 7am, when most people are sleeping. Research by the UL Fire Safety Research Institute shows that closing bedroom doors helps prevent a fire from spreading, lessens fire/smoke damage and increases survivability in a fire. The depicted photo shows a closed bedroom door, left photo safe interior and right photo exposed fire-side. This is a dramatic photo as anyone outside the closed door would not have survived this fire!

Forty years ago the average time you had to escape a house fire was 17 minutes, today it’s down to 3 minutes or less. Why? Modern synthetic construction materials, home furnishings and open contemporary layouts allow fires to develop, spread and become more toxic than ever before.

Please take the time to sit as a family and discuss fire safety and exactly what everyone needs to do if a smoke alarm activates in your house.

Residential Fire Escape – Planning and Practice

Once your smoke alarm starts beeping, you may have less than a minute to safely escape your home. A fire can double in size every 30 seconds, and as every second ticks by, the smoke and heat turn known passageways into a confusing maze. That’s why developing and practicing a home fire escape plan that everyone understands can mean the difference between life and death. Please take the time to meet as a family to discuss, plan, and practice so that everyone has a chance of getting out alive. Here’s an outline to work from. First, Draw up the Plan

  • Draw a simple floor plan of your home.
  • Highlight at least 2 ways out of each room, including windows.
  • Mark the location of each smoke alarm. Consider buying and installing more.
  • Designate someone to help children or others who do not readily waken to the sound of the smoke alarm, or if there are infants or family members with mobility limitations, practice helping them during a fire drill.
  • Consider purchasing window-mounted fire escape ladders certified by an independent testing laboratory. Practice using them with adult supervision.
  • Agree on an outside meeting place. Remember to escape first, then call for help from the nearest phone.
  • In Upper Makefield Township, dial 9-1-1 to report a fire. Tell the dispatcher that you live in Upper Makefield Township.
  • One of the adults should meet the Fire Company or Police Officer upon their arrival and tell them everyone is safely outside the home and accounted for.

Then, Work the Plan

  • Ensure that escape routes are clear and that windows and doors can be opened easily.
  • Make sure everyone understands the escape plan and recognizes the sound of the smoke alarms.
  • Discuss different scenarios — where a fire might be and where to exit in that particular instance.
  • Smoke and heat rise, so train everyone to stay low. Practice crawling to an exit.
  • Discuss this life-saving rule: Never go back into the house under any circumstances.

Review Twice a Year

  • Practice the escape plan at least twice a year.
  • Take all questions seriously.
Pre-mid 1990s Home? Consider Wireless Smoke Detectors

Fires move fast, and seconds count. With interconnected wireless smoke detectors, smoke setting off an alarm in your basement will set off all the alarms in your home, giving you and all family members more time to hear and respond. If you live in a home built prior to the mid-1990s, please consider upgrading your single stage smoke alarms to wireless interconnected smoke alarms. Interconnected detectors will send an alarm from far away—say from an attic or basement—to the room you are in–giving you more time to escape.

  • Wireless detectors are battery powered and install like regular battery-powered smoke detectors.
  • Wireless detectors transmit up to 200 feet. You can include detached garages and outbuildings in your alarm system.
  • Install the optimal number of smoke detectors: One on each floor, in hallways adjacent to sleeping rooms, and in every bedroom. Fire Marshal John C. Kernan strongly recommends installing smoke detectors in attics, crawl spaces, garages, heater rooms, laundry areas, and anywhere there is a heat source.

Homes built since the mid-1990s usually have hard-wired battery backup smoke alarms.

Spring & Summer Fire Safety Tips


  • Have your tractor or mower serviced by a professional maintenance technician.
  • Clean and clear your mower or tractor of all accumulated lawn debris prior to storage, as dried grass near heated areas may cause a fire.
  • Allow your tractor or lawn mower to cool down outside before being stored in a shed or garage.
  • Keep gas and fuel containers stored in well-ventilated outdoor storage areas.
  • Install and test smoke alarms in your garage and storage areas.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher near and/or mounted on garage walls, kitchen areas and outdoor grills.


  • Schedule a professional technician to service your air conditioning unit.
  • Check the exhaust hoses on your clothes dryers for accumulated lint.
  • Test your home smoke alarms monthly.
  • Take the time to discuss and develop a home fire drill with all family members.
Stairway Fire Safety

Stairways can become fire gateways, which is why you need two ways to escape from a second or higher floor. A bedroom ladder is a good option. Practice using both exit options, because fires move fast, and you may need to act on instinct. Fire safety works best in three steps: Prevent with smoke alarms, Plan what to do when alarms go off, and Practice live home fire drills.

Talk Fire Safety-Please!

Our best fire safety advice lies in communication. Talk, as a family, about which home combustibles can create fire. Then, talk about the less than 3 minutes you may have to escape a fire, and where to reconvene safely. Finally, walk through your escape plan, with at least two options per room. It may seem impossible to imagine a fire in your home, but time spent talking about how to safely escape a burning home could give you much more time-and life-together! For specific fire safety sheets, visit the National Fire Protection Association website.

Register If You Have Special Needs During an Emergency

If you have special needs affecting your mobility, exiting your home in an emergency may require extra help. Working with Bucks County Emergency 9-1-1 Dispatch, we’ve initiated a program that will alert police, medical, and fire personnel if they are dispatched to a call in a house with an occupant with special needs. To register, you can call or submit a form to the Upper Makefield Township Police Department. Call the Police Department at 215-968-3020 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. All information you provide is kept strictly confidential.