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1875 Falmouth Road, Centerville, Massachusetts, 02632

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Fire Stations
FREQUENTLY  ASKED  QUESTIONS
                                   
                                  "Ever wonder why?"

 

  1. Why do my smoke detectors "chirp" sometimes?
  2. My smoke detectors sound every time I take a shower or cook in the kitchen, what can I do?
  3. Why are house numbers so important?
  4. Why do I need a carbon monoxide detector?
  5. I live alone and cannot change the batteries in my smoke detectors, what should I do?
  6. I have a fire hydrant on my property but want to landscape, are there any regulations that would affect me?

Why do my smoke detectors "chirp" sometimes?

The reason some smoke detectors "chirp" is due to a low battery.  Most manufacturers have this built in feature that will make the detector "chirp" once every 30 - 60 seconds when the battery is getting low.  Replacing the battery will usually correct this issue.  It is a good idea to change the batteries twice a year.  An easy way to remember this is whenever you change your clocks for daylight savings, change the batteries in your smoke detectors.  NOTE:  Even if you have hardwired smoke detectors, if it has a battery back-up it will usually have this function.

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My smoke detectors sound every time I take a shower or cook in the kitchen, what can I do?

There are two different types of smoke detectors available, ionization and photo-electric.  Both types are designed to alert you in the event of a fire but each reacts differently to products of combustion.  Ionization detectors react very quickly and are sensitive to steam and low amounts of cooking smoke.  Photo-electric detectors are less sensitive to these "nuisance" alarms such as steam and cooking smoke.  Any smoke detector installed within twenty (20) feet of a kitchen or bathroom with a tub/ shower should be a photo-electric detector.  Photo-electric smoke detectors are available in both battery operated and hard-wired with battery back-up models. 

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Why are house numbers so important?

House numbers are the means by which emergency responders identify your house in the event of an emergency and are required by law.  In the event of a fire we might see the smoke or fire, but if you need police or emergency medical assistance it will take much longer to identify your house if there are no house numbers present.  Also, we have to be able to identify your house in the day-time, night-time and in all different weather situations.  House numbers should be a minimum of three inches in height, posted on the house and a contrasting color to the house.  If you cannot easily see the numbers on the house from the street, another set of numbers needs to be posted at the street, usually on a mailbox or a post.   

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Why do I need a carbon monoxide detector?

Massachusetts Law now requires all residential occupancies to have carbon monoxide detectors installed if they have a fossil fuel burning appliance or an attached garage.  Fossil fuel burning appliances are oil and gas burners/ furnaces, woodstoves and pellet stoves just to name a few.  Fossil fuel appliances and motor vehicles produce carbon monoxide as products of the combustion process.  Usually, these products of combustion are exhausted by a flue pipe or chimney, but if the vent gets blocked in any way, these gasses may back up into the house.  Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas and cannot be picked up by the human senses.  The only way to determine if carbon monoxide is present is by a carbon monoxide detector or by a special metering device used by the fire department.  Exposure to carbon monoxide may produce serious health effects or death.

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I live alone and cannot change the batteries in my smoke detectors, what should I do?

If you cannot change the batteries in your smoke detectors for health reasons or if you don't feel steady on a stool or ladder and you have no one to help you, you should call the fire department.  If you call the fire department on the business line and explain your situation, we would be glad to assist you.  When you call we will make an appointment and based on the size of your house, our visit should last between fifteen and thirty minutes. 

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I have a fire hydrant on my property but want to landscape, are there any regulations that would affect me?

Fire hydrants are strategically placed to provide the town with the best water protection available.  In the event of a fire, any one or multiple hydrants may be used to provide water at the fire scene.  It is important that we are able to rapidly identify and operate fire hydrants when needed.  There should be no obstructions in front of the hydrant to the street and no obstructions three feet all the way around the fire hydrant.  This allows us to identify hydrants rapidly as well as operate them safely.   

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Francis M. Pulsifer- Fire Prevention Officer
Copyright 2001  [COMM Fire Department]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 03/05/07.

 


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