Office of Fire Prevention
The Fire Prevention Office and Fire Inspector provide inspections for home re-sales, new construction, commercial properties and oil burner systems. As part of this process plans are reviewed to ensure they meet the current code. This is an area that is just as important to the safety of our citizens as it often prevents incidents that may happen and ensures that they homes and properties are protected.
Tue, Wed , Thur. 8:30-4:00
Hours subject to change.
HFD Forms and Information
New Homes, Additions & Alterations
- Please complete the attached form.
- Locate Smoke, CO & Heat Detectors on the plans. (This is the responsibility of the applicant.)
- If an Alteration or Addition, plans of the ENTIRE HOME are required.
- All Building Plans and Sprinkler System Permits (new & alterations) will be brought to the Building Department.
- All building plans and sprinkler are to be submitted to the Building Department. The Fire Inspector will review the plans at Town Hall on most Tuesday and Thursday mornings.
- The Building Department will collect the plans, fees and issue construction permits including fire alarm and sprinklers.
- The Fire Department will issue permits for the maintenance of fire alarm and sprinkler systems as well as continuing all of the other standard permits.All permits for new construction and renovation fall under the building code.
These lockboxes are a safe and secure way to provide the Fire Department a key to the property in case of alarm activation. These lockboxes are opened by a special key that ONLY the fire department carries. These lockboxes are different than the ones distributed by the Harwich Water Department.
Contact the HFD for more information at (508) 430-7546.
The Board of Fire Prevention Regulations (BFPR) adopted revised smoke alarm regulations that go into effect December 1, 2016. The changes apply only to one- and two-family residences built before January 1, 1975 that have not been substantially altered. If built or altered after that date, the smoke alarm requirements are established by the State Building Code. Working smoke alarms installed prior to December 1, 2016 (that met requirements) can continue to be used until they are 10 years old or have exceeded the manufacturer’s recommended life. Click here for info sheet
Minimum Requirements for New Smoke Alarms in One- and Two-Family Residences Built before 1975
Smoke alarms must be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions:
- On every habitable level of the residence.
- In the basement.
- On the ceiling at the base of each stairway leading to a floor above including the basement (but not within stairways).
- On the ceiling outside each separate sleeping area.
- Must be photoelectric. Can be in combination with ionization or carbon monoxide alarms.
- Must contain a hush feature to silence nuisance alarms.
- May be battery-powered, hardwired, or a combination of both. – New battery-powered alarms must have 10-year, sealed, non-rechargeable, non-replaceable batteries. – Battery-powered alarms that are more than 10 years old, or have expired must be replaced (check with the manufacturer) with 10-year, sealed, non-rechargeable, non-replaceable, battery-powered ones.
- In two-family dwellings, smoke alarms are required in common areas shared by residents.
Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Combination smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms must follow the requirements for smoke alarms for placement and battery power. They must have both a tone and a simulated voice alarm to distinguish the type of emergency. Be aware that the carbon monoxide part of the alarm may fail before 10 years (it will sound an end-of-life alarm) and the device must be replaced. New battery-powered combination smoke and CO alarms must have a 10-year, sealed, non-replaceable battery
Wireless and Networked Smoke Alarms
Wireless smoke alarms or networked smoke alarms with photoelectric sensing technology can have a replaceable battery as long as the battery lasts for at least one year. Wireless and networked alarms meet minimum requirements when they are installed following the manufacturer’s instructions and are in required locations.
Required Locations For Carbon Monoxide Detectors:
- 1. Any home built up until January 1, 2008 may have battery operated Carbon Monoxide Detectors
(CO), or plug in with a battery backup.
- Any home built after January 1, 2008 must have hard wired CO’s with a battery backup. If they are
combination CO/SD, then the CO alarm has to have a verbal annunciation.
- CO’s must be on every level on the home, within 10 feet of each bedroom.
- CO detectors must be 5 years or less or be replaced.
Required Locations for Heat Detectors:
As January 1, 2008 a hard wired heat detector is required in all New Construction attached garages.
Required House Numbers:
The number must be on the house and VISIBLE from the road, with a minimum of 3 inch numbers,
contrasting color from the home. If you cannot see the numbers from the road it must be on both sides of
a post, and on the home.
Low Voltage Alarm Systems:
- A Fire Alarm system that is transmitted off premises the Alarm Company must be present.
- An alarm that transmits off the property must have a Town of Harwich approved lockbox per the Town By-Law.
- Low voltage or wireless low voltage systems only use Photoelectric detectors.
Contact the Fire Prevention Office
(508) 432-5685 fax
Have you replaced the battery in your smoke detectors recently ?
Fire Inspector Tim Spears explains commercial kitchen prevention, safety and equipment maintenance.
Sprinklers are a choice homeowners can add, not a code requirement unless you build over 14400 sq ft.
WTHR-TV in Indianapolis conducted an aquarium test to show the dramatic difference between ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms. Inspired by a similar demonstration by the World Fire Safety Foundation, investigative reporter Bob Segall shows why smoke alarms with photoelectric technology are a much better option for detecting slow-burning smoky fires, which kill hundreds of people in homes and apartments each year.