Dive Team
   Fire Prevention



   Norton Fire Dept.
   70 East Main St.
   Norton, MA 02766
   (508) 285 - 0248

Fire Prevention / Code Compliance / Enforcement and Education

William D.Myles

Deputy Fire Chief

The Fire Prevention Division is responsible for not only code compliance relative to fire safety, but also for overseeing the SAFE (Student Awareness of Fire Education) program within the Town. The division conducts quarterly inspections of all schools, nursing facilities, DMH/DMR facilities, as well as licensed day care facilities.Whenever possible, inspections requiring both the fire department and building inspector are conducted together. The division conducts quarterly inspections of all schools, nursing facilities, DMH/DMR facilities, as well as licensed day cares. Some of those requiring both inspection departments are any facility that has an annual license attached to it, such as auto body shops and food/liquor license facilities to name a few. These inspections are in addition to all the numerous new construction projects and renovations underway in Norton and usually will involve many hours of review and meetings with contractors, as well as onsite visits and inspections.

In addition to these projects, there are numerous other types of inspections that are made on a routine basis as required by the Massachusetts General Law Chapter 148 and 527 CMR (Commonwealth of Massachusetts Regulations) which is the Massachusetts Comprehensive Fire Safety Code. The types and amount of inspections is listed below. Not included in these numbers are the numerous in-service inspections made by the firefighters to perform pre-fire planning/familiarization with building hazards within the town.

Type of Inspection Number
Residential fire alarm and sprinkler systems in new dwellings 33
Residential fire alarm in existing dwellings 179
Residential carbon monoxide inspections 93
Commercial fire alarm, sprinkler, drills and license renewals 330
Oil burners, tanks installed or removed 44
Blasting/special types 0
Propane 33
Inspections resulting from complaints of violations 1
Total inspections for fiscal year 2012 713

The overall inspections showed a decrease this year, mainly the result of the position of Deputy Fire Chief not being filled until May of 2012. The department is continuing our pre-fire planning efforts of going out to the larger facilities in town to both inspect and update our records for our use in any future incident at those facilities. Also, state law mandates that all public and private schools conduct quarterly fire drills. The on-duty firefighters go out and conduct these drills at these regulated facilities.

Once again the SAFE program (Students Awareness of Fire Education) has been very prevalent in the community. Coordinator Andrew Gomes and Co-Coordinator Tom Schmidt continue to do a great job in sending out their message. Together, they carry out the mission of fire safety education within our public and private schools and various civic organizations. They will continue to produce a high caliber program of which the department and community can be truly proud of.

New Regulation on Mulch Safety

This new regulation was developed in response to several fires in the Commonwealth involving mulch-wood products.

Million Dollar Mulch Fire
The most notable fire occurred at a Peabody apartment complex in May 2008. A cigarette lit mulch fire caused a $6.7 million loss, displaced 750 people temporarily, and 36 residents of the apartments permanently.

In April 2012, improperly discarded smoking materials ignited mulch outside an assisted living center in Braintree. The fire forced the early morning evacuation of many older adults, some of whom suffered smoke inhalation injuries.

Starting on September 1, 2012, the new application of mulch within 18” around combustible exteriors of buildings (such as wood or vinyl but not brick or concrete) is prohibited. Residential buildings with less than six units are exempted from this regulation, but all homeowners may also wish to adopt these safety practices.

Here are some tips for property managers and building owners on how to prevent mulch fires:
1. Keep wood mulch 18” away from combustible exteriors of buildings such as wood or vinyl siding. Don’t put it right up against the building.
2. Use something like pea stone or crushed rock for the first 18” as a barrier around the foundation of the building.
3. Provide proper receptacles for smoking materials.

Go to the Department of Fire Services Website at http://www.mass.gov/eopss/agencies/dfs for more information.

Safety Tips

With the exception of an all electric home without an attached garage, every house in Norton should have carbon monoxide detection installed. These units are mandated on every habitable level as well as within ten feet of every bedroom door. These units can be battery powered or plug-in/electric with battery back-up. If a combination smoke detector/CO detector unit is utilized, the CO function must be called out by a voice, not a tone. The fire department is required to inspect the placement and operation of these detectors as well as your smoke detectors on the sale or transfer of the property.

I want to remind everyone that all oil lines are required to be connected to heating systems by either an incased continuous plastic sleeve or have an oil safety valve installed at the tank. This was enacted to help prevent the leaking of fuel oil into the ground from a failed oil supply line. Not only could an oil spill be detrimental to the environment, but it could also create a costly cleanup for the owner. Contact your oil supplier for more information.

I also want to remind everyone to check your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors twice a year when you change your clocks. You should also formulate and practice an escape plan and set up a meeting place with your family members so in the event of a fire or an emergency, you will know that everyone has gotten out safely.

If you have any questions relative to the placement of either your smoke detection or carbon monoxide detection, or any other fire prevention matter, feel free to contact my office at

1-508-285-0246 or e-mail me at mylesd@nortonfire.com.

In closing, I would like to thank the men and women of the Norton Fire/Rescue Department for their professionalism, dedicated service, and continued support during this past year.

Respectfully submitted,

William D. Myles
Deputy Fire Chief




Firefighter Edward L.Burgess, Superintendent
Firefighter Robert Wood, Assistant Superintendent
Firefighter Craig Blake, Technician

Like many of Norton Fire Department’s specialties, the Fire Alarm Division is what we call a collateral duty. This means it is staffed by full-time firefighting personnel, who can be called upon when necessary, to perform their special job. In this case, the special job is the planning, installation and maintenance of the fire alarm system. Previously staffed by 3 technicians, building growth, utility company upgrades and new system technology has warranted the addition of a fourth technician. With over 500 alarm boxes and 40+ miles of electrical cabling, the advent of “smart systems” and training to keep abreast of code changes, this small crew is constantly busy.

Our system is based on the original technology developed by Mr. Morse and Mr. Gamewell. Although the ideas are over 100 years old, many modern and innovative design changes have taken place. The most important change, being the invention of “digital” boxes and addressable panels with smart devices. Digital boxes send in the individual “zone” or location within a building directly to the communications center. Smart devices tell the panel exactly where the problem is in the building. Coupled together, device to panel to digital box, responding fire fighters gain some insight as to what and where the problem is, while enroute. Thus, we reduce our time searching for the problem and any excessive damage that may occur to the property. All new commercial buildings are required to install these new type boxes.

Businesses are not the only recipients of the town’s fire alarm protection. All housing developments in town have at least one fire alarm box at the entrance. However, most of them also have boxes strategically installed throughout the neighborhood. This is due to the fact that developers are required to install fire alarm boxes at the entrance to, and within, any proposed sub-division. This helps us expand in the areas affected by growth at no cost to the fire department. Construction continues on the new “over age 55” subdivision at Red Mill Village off East Main Street, while ground breaking begins on a new project called Arrowhead Road off of North Washington Street.

Remember, Fire Alarm boxes are not solely for the purpose of reporting a fire. They can be utilized to summons help in any emergency. This is especially important to remember if your telephone should become inoperable (i.e.; Severe Storms, Accidents, Phone system overload, Etc.) If you see an emergency, don’t “assume” that help is on the way, utilize the Boxes! We in the Fire Alarm Division would like to remind you to STAY CLEAR OF ANY DOWNED WIRES. We consider them LIVE and ENERGIZED and you should too!!!