Message From The Marshal

Although the exact origin is subject to debate, “Mulligan” is one of the few sports terms believed to be named after a person. The term is now widely used to describe a “do-over” or second chance. Ironically, the rules of golf still prohibit the practice.

Be sure you have a plan in place before disaster strikes. You may not be able to stop the event, but the recovery will be easier if you were prepared.

​ On March 21, 2017, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Kidde announced a recall of dual sensor (photoelectric and ionization) smoke alarms models PI2010 and PI9010. Informational bulletin below. This is a good opportunity to review the care and use of residential smoke alarms. Working smoke alarms double the chance of surviving a home fire.

​There are no Mulligans during a fire emergency.

​Approximately two-thirds of home fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms. Since most fatal fires occur at night, it’s essential that every home has working smoke alarms to provide an early warning. Working smoke alarms increase the chance of surviving a home fire by 50 percent.

nose at night

A few facts about fire

Fire is fast, doubling in size every minute. You may only have 2 or 3 minutes to escape.

​ Fire is hot, quickly raising air temperatures to 600 degrees at standing eye level. Breathing superheated air can be lethal. Most fire victims never see the flames; they are overcome by heat and smoke first.

​ Fire is dark, quickly producing black smoke and complete darkness. If you wake up to a fire you may be blinded, disoriented, and unable to find your way around the home you’ve lived in for years.

​ Fire is deadly, using up the oxygen you need while producing smoke and poisonous gases. Breathing even tiny amounts of smoke and toxic gases can make you drowsy, disoriented and short of breath.

A few facts about smoke alarms

​ Smoke alarms have an expected service life of 10 years. The batteries provided for backup power in older smoke alarms (in case of an electrical outage) must be replaced at least annually. If the alarm chirps, replace the battery right away. If the alarm is 10 years old or more (there is a manufacturer date on the back), replace the entire device. Smoke alarms are cheap life insurance.

​ Smoke alarms should be tested monthly. Test your smoke alarm by holding down the test button. If it doesn’t make any noise, replace the battery. If that doesn’t work, replace the entire device immediately. Vacuum your alarm at least once a year. Dust and cobwebs can reduce sensitivity. Never paint over a smoke alarm. Smoke alarms with non-replaceable (long-life) batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the alarm chirps, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away. For smoke alarms with any other type of battery, replace batteries at least once a year. It takes about 10 minutes to safely replace a hard-wired smoke alarm. You will need a sturdy ladder and a screwdriver. There are many websites that can provide step-by-step instructions. Always read and follow the manufacturer’s directions. If all else fails, call the fire department for assistance.

Contact Us

  1. Dwight Good

    Fire Marshal

    Fire Marshal's Office
    17575 Peak Ave.
    Morgan Hill, CA 95037

    Emergency: 911
    Ph: 408-310-4654
    Fx: 408-779-7236


    Monday - Friday
    8 a.m. - 5 p.m.


When the Alarm Goes Off

If the alarm goes off, crawl low to the ground under the smoke and exit your home quickly. Don’t try to take anything with you; just get out. Once safely outside, go to your family meeting place to ensure that everyone got out safely. Once you’re out, stay out! Make sure to prepare and practice an escape plan including a family meeting place. Just like schools practice fire drills, families should also practice what to do if their smoke alarms go off . Remember, every day a smoke alarm saves somebody’s life.

What to do with old smoke alarms

​ Smoke alarms are considered household hazardous waste and shouldn’t end up in your trash cans. If your old smoke alarms have replaceable batteries, put the batteries in sandwich baggies. Batteries are also household hazardous waste so the following instructions apply for both.

​ You can take advantage of the Santa Clara County Household Hazardous Waste Collection Program. Drop-off events are held the 1st weekend of every month at the Santa Clara County facility in San Martin. There is no charge, but you must call 408-299-7300 to preregister. They don’t give out their address until you make your drop-off appointment.

​Smoke alarms may also be taken to Westside Recycling in Morgan Hill (remove the batteries first). They’re located at: 16290 Railroad Avenue in Morgan Hill, 408-782-2555. If you can’t remove the old batteries, take the entire smoke alarm to the Santa Clara County Household Hazardous Waste Collection Program (see above).