Smoke Detectors

Requirements in Dwelling Units

The Fire Department is continuing the process of notifying owners of 3 family dwellings as to the requirements for the installation of smoke alarms. As this process continues and many property owners receive letters from the Fire Prevention Bureau a list of frequently asked questions has been compiled. It is hoped that this list will assist the property owners in the process to achieve compliance.

FAQs

What law requires installation of smoke detectors?

Massachusetts General Law 148, Section 26E requires the installation of smoke detectors in dwellings.

What type of smoke detectors are required in 3 Family Dwellings?

Existing 3 Family dwellings require hard wired (electric) smoke detectors in the common areas (hallways and basement) with battery back-up and battery operated smoke detectors outside bedroom areas.

Do one and two family dwellings require hard wired (electric) smoke detectors?

Existing 1 and 2 Family dwellings do not require hard wired smoke detectors but they do require battery operated smoke detectors.

Newly constructed 1 and 2 Family dwellings require the hard wired smoked detectors.

Are Permits required for the installation of smoke detectors in 3 Family dwellings?

Yes, permits from both the Fire Prevention Bureau and the Wire Department. The fees associated with these permits have been waived for compliance under the law accepted in March of 1998.

Do the hard wired (electric) smoke detectors require a battery back up?

Yes, the smoke detectors in the common areas are required to have battery back up and must be interconnect ( all detectors sound in the hallways if one detector is activated)

What should I do when I receive a letter from the Fire Department?

You should contact the Fire Prevention Bureau Code Compliance Officer to receive further information on how to proceed with the installation of smoke detectors.

Do I have to install the smoke detectors immediately?

Once you receive a letter from the Fire Department you should contact the Fire Prevention Bureau to begin the process of compliance. The process does allow you time to comply with the requirements of the law. The Fire Prevention Officer will be able to assist you with the time frames.

Can I install the smoke detectors myself in a 3 Family Dwelling?

Since hard wired detectors are required in 3 family dwellings licensed electrician must install the detector in the common areas. The battery operated detectors in the apartments can be installed by the property owner.

Can any electrician do the installation?

Yes, any licensed electrician can do the installation of the smoke detector systems. The electrician is required to receive a permit and have an inspection competed by the Wire Department.

Are there any programs available to assist property owners with the cost of installation?

Yes, a grant program has been established to assist property owners with the purchase of hard wired smoke detectors. The program is administered through the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Neighborhood Development. For more information regarding this program contact the Office of Housing and Neighborhood Development at (508)979-1500.

Do I need to have the smoke detector system inspected by the Fire Department after installation?

Yes, when the property is ready for inspection and appointment for inspection can be made by calling the Fire Prevention Bureau at (508) 991-6120 and requesting and inspection. A date will be set for an inspection of the smoke detector system by a fire inspector and a permit will be issued.

The Fire Prevention Bureau urges all property owners who have questions regarding smoke detector installations to call the office at (508) 991-6120. The Fire Inspector are available to answer all your questions regarding the smoke detector requirements.

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