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Frequently Asked Questions


Please let the fire department know if you have questions or concerns that are not answered here.  


Where can I get a burning permit?  Does Onota Township have a burning ordinance?


Burn permits and restrictions are set by the Michigan DNR.  Onota Township does not currently have a burning ordinance.


What is a paid on-call department?


This type of department is made up of members of the community, who frequently have jobs outside of the fire department.  When an emergency occurs, all available members respond.  Members are always on call when in the area.  Firefighters are paid hourly for calls and training within the township (mileage for approved off-site training is allowed).  Continual training is an important part of being a firefighter or first responder.  Our department offers local training, and assures that our firefighters are advised of upcoming mutual aid, county and state-wide trainings. 

Why do I need a fire number sign?  Where do I get one?  My sign is wrong/rusted!


Without a fire number sign, emergency services may have a difficult time locating your residence.  In a rural area, it also serves as your street address for shipping companies.  To obtain a fire number sign if your property does not currently have one, or to have your rusted sign replaced, contact the Alger County Sheriff Office at (906) 387-4444.


What happens when I call 911?


You are connected to a 911 dispatcher at the Alger County Sheriff Office (or possibly Central Dispatch @ the Negaunee State Police Post). They will then send the appropriate emergency services based on your situation.  If your residence or location is difficult to find – please tell the dispatcher. If possible, send someone to direct emergency traffic in or mark your location by parking a vehicle at the end of the driveway.


Why do other fire departments or agencies show up if 911 is called?


Fire departments in Alger County have an agreement called 'mutual aid' – this means that we have a written document that allows us to assist each other if requested by the jurisdictional agency or dispatch.  Onota Township also shares mutual aid with Chocolay Township for the western side of the township.  Police and ambulances frequently show up to vehicle accidents or other incidents for a variety of reasons – to provide transport for the injured, check on victims, to make a report on the incident, or to assist firefighters.  



Can a building be offered to the department to burn it for training?


Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality does not permit property owners to burn a building.  The local fire department is permitted to burn a building as a training exercise under state regulations; however this requires a trained inspector to certify that there is no asbestos or other hazardous material present in the structure, which costs a few hundred dollars.  It also requires a disposal method for the remains to be secured.  

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