Fire Prevention

What We Do  •  Fire Safety  •  Open Burning

What We Do

Landscape photo collage of Fire-Rescue services being performed.

Community Outreach

The Rutherford County Fire and Rescue Department offers lots of opportunities for classroom talks and safety information. For more information or to request a demonstration, call (615) 867-4626.

Photo of children learning about fire safety.

How We Can Help

The Rutherford County Fire-Rescue Department

  • performs Fire Code Inspection and Enforcement,

  • reviews plats and plans for commercial construction,

  • and installs Smoke Alarms for free. Learn more here.

Photo of two firemen installing a smoke alarm.


Fire and Arson Investigation

The Fire/Arson Investigation Unit of the Rutherford County Fire Rescue Department is tasked with investigating all fire and explosion incidents of a suspicious nature or where a cause cannot readily be determined by fire suppression crews. The Department aggressively investigates the origin and cause fires within Rutherford County in order to focus fire prevention and public education efforts as well as to combat the crime of arson. Rutherford County Fire/Arson Investigators have police powers and make arrests in cases arson and other fire related crimes. Rutherford County Investigators receive extensive training including, but not limited to: fire origin and cause determination, explosion and post-blast investigations, interviewing and interrogation, evidence collection, firearms and defensive tactics, arrest procedures, and criminal investigations. RCFRD Investigators conduct criminal investigations on all incidents involving suspicious or illegal fire–related incidents. RCFRD Investigators receive certification through the State of Tennessee, the International Association of Arson Investigators, or the National Association of Fire Investigators. Investigators are also authorized to issue citations for fire-related offenses within the State of Tennessee.

The Fire/Arson Investigation Unit works closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies such as the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office (RCSO), State of Tennessee Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO), the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TB), and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE).

The crime of arson is one of the most costly human-made disasters. Arson indirectly contributes to increased insurance premiums, higher medical costs, lost jobs, lost income, and the increased cost of fire services. The Rutherford County Fire Rescue Department needs your help to combat this serious crime. You can contact the Division of Fire Prevention directly with information related to a suspicious fire incident by calling 615-907-3600 or via email at [email protected]

“BURN AN ARSONIST!” Contact the Tennessee Arson Hotline to report information on an arson. Information that leads to the successful arrest and conviction of an arsonist can result in a reward of up to $5,000.


Photo of arson evidence.


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Fire Safety




Important Fire Safety Tips

  • Always call 911 in case of an emergency.

  • In case of fire - Get out fast, stay out.

  • If there is any smoke, stay low and crawl below.

  • Stop, drop, and roll if your clothes catch on fire.

  • Test your smoke detectors monthly and change the batteries annually.

  • Never disable a detector by borrowing its battery for another use.

  • Plan and practice two escape routes with your family.

  • Never leave cooking unattended.

  • Put a lid on grease fires, never use water.

  • Never use an appliance with a frayed cord.

  • Keep lighters and matches away from children.

  • Keep heaters away from curtains and furniture.

  • Remove lint from a dryer regularly.

  • Purchase a fire extinguisher and learn how to use it.

  • Always turn pot handles toward the center of the stove.

  • Never fill a gas container in a vehicle; always place it on the ground.

  • Never store flammable liquids in your house or garage.

  • Never wear loose clothing while cooking.

  • Never run a heater's cord under a rug, carpet, or furniture.

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Open Burning

Official Burning Season Requires a Permit
Between October 15 and May 15 every year, state law requires citizens to obtain a permit from the Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry before conducting any open burning of wood debris. Permits are free of charge. You must call 1-877-350-2876 to obtain a permit. Days outside of the official burning season do not require a permit. For details and online requests for a permit visit BurnSafetyTN

Quick Links

What can you burn?

You may burn only what nature has given you! Leaves, branches, trees, stumps, grass clippings etc. However, it is illegal to burn any of these materials that were not grown on-site. Transporting, dumping, and burning on another site is subject to steep fines.

State law allows for a civil penalty of up to $25,000 per day for each day of violation of the Air Quality Act regardless of the size of the burn.

Illegal Burning Materials

  • Tires and any rubber products

  • Vinyl siding and shingles

  • Asphalt shingles and other asphalt roofing materials and demolition debris

  • Building material, construction debris and mobile homes

  • Plywood, oriented strand board and treated wood, including railroad ties

  • Asbestos-containing materials

  • Aerosol cans and food cans

  • Copper wire and electrical wires

  • Plastics and other synthetic materials

  • Paper products, cardboard and newspaper

  • Any household trash

Other Regulations

  • At least 1 person shall be constantly present at the burn site the entire length of the burn.

  • Each burn shall not exceed 48 hours in duration.

  • Citizens living within the limits of a city or town are encouraged to check with their government for any local burning restrictions that might apply.

  • Recycling and composting are alternatives to open burning recommended by the Department of Environment and Conservation.

  • Household garbage that cannot be recycled should be disposed in a permitted landfill.

County Convenience Centers and private garbage haulers are options for property owners to appropriately dispose of household trash.


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