Dive Team
   Fire Prevention



   Norton Fire Dept.
   70 East Main St.
   Norton, MA 02766
   (508) 285 - 0246

Fire Prevention / Code Compliance / Enforcement and Education

Shawn R Simmons

Deputy Fire Chief

The mission of the Fire Prevention Division is to proactively prevent injury or loss of life and prevent property damage through code enforcement and education.

The code enforcement program includes routine inspections of many of our commercial occupancies for compliance with the Fire Prevention Codes. We also actively participate in new construction meetings, to not only assure that the completed structure will be safe and be code compliant, but also that the construction process itself will be conducted in a manner that will prevent fires and hazards to workers and firefighters. In addition, we review construction plans and conduct inspections for new construction, additions, alterations, and other fire protection system inspections when required.

Inspections are made as required and in accordance with Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 148 and 527 CMR 1.00 (Commonwealth of Massachusetts Regulations) which is the Massachusetts Comprehensive Fire Safety Code. Typically, commercial inspections are either quarterly or annually based on the type and use of the structure. The 2015 NFPA with Massachusetts amendments was adopted on 1/1/2018. As part of the new code changes, we are now required to issue a permit as well as conduct an inspection prior to any hot work (i.e. welding, cutting, etc.). You can find additional information on the hot work requirements on the Department of Fire Services website or stopping by the fire station.

Residential inspections for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are conducted with new construction or at the sale of an existing home. We also conduct residential inspections for: oil burners, oil tanks, propane tanks and unvented gas-fired space heaters. In addition to inspections, quarterly fire drills (mandated by state law) are performed by on-duty firefighters at all public and private schools.

The Fire Prevention Division educates the public in several ways primarily through our Students Awareness of Fire Education program (S.A.F.E.) and senior fire safety programs that are grant funded. Firefighters Kate Barry and James Patten coordinate the programs and their hard work and dedication to attain grant funding and deliver these programs has been essential to their continued success. They have done many programs at the schools, senior facilities and community events.
In addition to these programs, we interact with the public daily either on emergency calls, inspections or at the fire station and take the opportunity to educate the public whenever possible.

In closing, I would encourage you to contact us or stop by the station with any questions regarding fire prevention. We have information for the public on a multitude of fire prevention and emergency preparedness topics and are happy to help you be safe and compliant however we can. In addition the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services web site is an excellent resource for fire safety information (www.mass.gov/fire-safety-for-the-public).

I would also like to thank all of the department members, members of our community, business owners and stakeholders for their cooperation and dedication to our mission of preserving life and property through fire prevention and education.

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 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.




Lt. Bob Wood-Superintendent
Capt Craig Blake, Assistant Superintendent

B.Hurd, J.Wilson, N.Dyer, Technicians

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!!!