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Although scrap fire detection and alarm system components may be disposed of in the normal municipal waste stream, recycling is the preferred option for disposal of all fire alarm components. Check your detector for the address of the manufacturer and return it there. Locate a recycling facility for electronics in your area, visit the website of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Electronics Recycling Industry website.
Federal regulations do not address the disposal of smoke detectors (PDF), heat detectors, flame detectors and/or other types of fire detection systems and/or components.
All Watertown Fire Department members are Massachusetts trained and certified Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT). During a medical emergency minutes, sometimes seconds, count! The response of the closest fire engine to your emergency brings trained firefighter/EMTs to your home or business in minutes. Emergency life saving equipment such as oxygen, semi-automatic defibrillators, and other medical equipment are carried on these fire engines for use by trained firefighters.
Additional staff on a fire engine also provides supervision and it is necessary to have additional trained personnel to assist in moving stretchers through buildings, carrying patients down stairs or when dangerous conditions are encountered. It is also necessary to have more than two people perform certain treatments such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation while moving a patient.
At traffic accidents the fire engine personnel keep the area safe if there are fuel spills, fire and removing crash victims from vehicles.
Recovering from a fire can be a physically and mentally draining process. When fire strikes, lives are suddenly turned around. Often, the hardest part is knowing where to begin and who to contact. The United States Fire Administration has created a guide to assist those who have been a victim of fire (PDF).
Mass General Law Chapter 48, Section 13 prohibits open air burning without permission. Chimineas and fire pits are considered open burning and as such require a permit. Due to the proximity of structures and concern over fire spread, in Watertown, the fire department does not issue burning permits. If you use a chiminea/fire pit on your property and the Watertown Fire Department responds, the fire will be extinguished and the person operating the chiminea/fire pit would be subject to a fine of up to $500.
Any time your smoke detector goes off, it's important to pay attention. If it's sounding its loud alarm because it senses the presence of smoke, check your home thoroughly. If you smell smoke and are unable to locate a fire, call 911 and we'll send an engine to make sure that a fire isn't smoldering in a hidden area and it won't cost anything. If you don't smell smoke, the detector may be reacting to the presence of dust, steam, or a small insect or spider. Dust and bugs can be removed by a vacuum cleaner. If steam from a nearby shower is affecting your smoke detector regularly, move the detector to a different spot.
If the detector is just chirping, thumping, or buzzing, it probably means that the battery is low. Replace the battery as soon as possible. Without a working battery, a smoke detector can't do its job and the risk of dying in a fire increases greatly.
In the interest of community safety, the Watertown Fire Department does not recommend that child or invalid locator decals be placed on home windows for the following reasons:
The most effective way to protect yourself and your family in the event of a fire in your house is to:
A properly installed and maintained smoke alarm is the only thing in your home that can alert you and your family to a fire 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Whether you’re awake or asleep, a working smoke alarm is constantly on alert, scanning the air for fire and smoke.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in properties without working smoke alarms. A working smoke alarm significantly increases your chances of surviving a deadly home fire.
There are many different brands of smoke alarms available on the market, but they fall under two basic types: ionization and photoelectric.
It cannot be stated definitively that one is better than the other in every fire situation that could arise in a residence. Because both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms are better at detecting distinctly different, yet potentially fatal fires, and because no one can predict what type of fire might start in a home, the USFA recommends that every residence and place where people sleep be equipped with:
In addition to the basic types of alarms, there are alarms made to meet the needs of people with hearing disabilities. These alarms may use strobe lights that flash and/or vibrate to assist in alerting those who are unable to hear standard smoke alarms when they sound.
Smoke alarms are powered by battery or they are hardwired into the home’s electrical system. If the smoke alarm is powered by battery, it runs on either a disposable 9-volt battery or a non-replaceable 10-year lithium (“long-life”) battery. A backup battery is usually present on hardwired alarms and may need to be replaced.
These batteries must be tested on a regular basis and, in most cases, should be replaced at least once each year (except for lithium batteries). See the Smoke Alarm Maintenance section for more information.
Smoke alarms are not expensive and are worth the lives they can help save. Ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms cost between $6 and $20. Dual sensor smoke alarms cost between $24 and $40.