Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector Inspections

*ATTENTION* Please be advised that due to Governor's Baker's emergency declaration made on March 20, 2020, and due to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, all smoke detector and carbon monoxide inspections are deferred for up to ninety (90) days after the State of Emergency has been lifted. RESIDENTIAL BUYERS AND SELLERS ARE ADVISED THAT AN APPLICATION TO THE FIRE DEPARTMENT FOR INSPECTION/CERTIFICATE IS STILL REQUIRED. Please contact the Fire Prevention Office for further information. 

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Did you know that...

Some facts about smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • When fire strikes, you may have less than one minute to safely get out of the building?
  • 3,000 people die each year in fires in the United States?
  • Carbon monoxide (CO) is poisonous, odorless, colorless, and tasteless and can be fatal if inhaled?
  • Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are required in every residential buiilding in Massachusetts?
  • In order to sell your home in Massachusetts, you are required to obtain a smoke detector/carbon monoxide detector certificate from your local fire department?
  • Smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector inspections can be applied for on our quick and easy to use online permitting website!
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Massachusetts Guidelines for Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Requirements
Year built or substantially modified (per building permit issue date)Before 19751975 -  8/27/19978/27/1997 - 9/1/20089/1/2008 - 2/1/20112/1/2011 - Present
Smoke Alarm Power SupplyBattery or HardwiredHardwired, InterconnectedHardwired, Interconnected w/ battery backupHardwired, interconnected w/ battery backupHardwired, interconnected w/battery backup
Type of Smoke Alarm Technology (Photoelectric or Ionization)
On the same level, if a required detector is located more than 20 feet from a kitchen or full bathroom doorway, it shall be:Photoelectric with a sealed 10-year nonrechargeable, nonreplaceable batteryPhotoelectric OR Ionization

Photoelectric OR IonizationPhotoelectric OR Dual Detector*Photoelectric ONLY

On the same level, if a required detector is located less than 20 feet from a  kitchen or full bathroom doorway, it shall be:Photoelectric with a sealed 10-year nonrechargeable, nonreplaceable battery
Photoelectric OR Ionization

Photoelectric ONLYPhotoelectric ONLYPhotoelectric ONLY
Smoke Alarm Placement
On every habitable level & including the basement level on the CEILING; at the base of each stairway leading to an occupied floor aboveSmokeSmokeSmokeSmokeSmoke
On CEILING outside each sleeping area in hallwaySmokeSmokeSmokeSmokeSmoke
Inside every bedroomNot RequiredNot RequiredSmokeSmokeSmoke
Finished attic (habitable)SmokeSmokeSmokeSmokeSmoke
Garage (Attached)Not RequiredNot RequiredNot RequiredHeat DetectorHeat Detector
Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarm Power Supply and Placement
Battery, or plug in with battery backupAllowedAllowedAllowedNot AllowedNot Allowed
Hardwired, interconnected w/ battery backupAllowedAllowedAllowedRequiredRequired
ALARM PLACEMENT - A CO alarm shall be located on each habitable level, including finished portions of basements and attics. A CO alarm shall be placed in the hallway outside each separate sleeping area (where bedrooms are located, NO FARTHER THAN 10 FEET FROM ANY BEDROOM DOOR.

All detectors must be less than 10 years old. One smoke alarm is necessary for every 1,200 square feet of area or portion thereof, per floor.

COMBINATION SMOKE & CARBON MONOXIDE ALARMS MUST HAVE BOTH A TONE AND A SIMULATED VOICE FEATURE. BATTERY POWERED DETECTORS WHERE ALLOWED SHALL HAVE A 10 YEAR SEALED BATTERY

*Dual detectors are a single smoke detector that uses both photoelectric and ionization technology.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector Information

Chelmsford Fire Prevention Office

Chelmsford Fire Prevention
50 Billerica Road
Chelmsford, MA 01824

Town Hall Room LLO5
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DIAL 911 IN AN EMERGENCY