Smoke Detectors

Detecting an Emergency
Working smoke detectors are the most effective and inexpensive means of detecting a fire in the home. The Natick Fire Department recommends that families replace smoke detector batteries at least twice each year. An easy way to remember to do this is to change the batteries whenever you change your clocks to and from daylight savings time.

Selling Your Home
When a resident sells his or her home, Massachusetts General Law Chapter 148 Section 26F requires that they equip their home with approved smoke detectors. The Natick Fire Department will conduct an inspection of the home and determine whether there is sufficient smoke detector coverage and to assure that they are properly installed. If the proper criteria is met, the seller will be given a Certificate of Compliance by the inspector. This certificate must be presented at the time of closing.


Inspections are conducted Monday - Friday between the hours of 3 - 4 p.m. Appointments can be made by calling the Joint Dispatch Center at 508-647-9550. There is a $50 fee for this service.

When we come out to inspect your home, this is what we’ll look for:

Built Prior to 1975
In residences built prior to 1975 smoke detectors may be of the battery operated type and should be located on each habitable level including basements and finished attics. If a single level  has an area in excess of 1200sf, a second smoke detector is required remote from the first. A third would be required on any floor in excess of 2400sf and so on…

Smoke detectors should be located on the ceiling at the base of each stairway leading to the floor above, and also outside of every sleeping area.

Built Between 1976 - 1997
If the home was built anytime from July 1, 1976 through August 1997, the detector locations are the same as those for homes built prior to 1975. However, these smoke detectors must be hardwired to your electrical system and interconnected with each other.                                  

Built After 1997
Finally, if your home was built from September 1, 1997 through the present, smoke detectors should be located on each habitable floor including basements and finished attics (one for every 1200sf of floor area). Smoke detectors should be mounted on the ceiling at the base of each stairway leading to the floor above, outside of every sleeping area, and inside every bedroom. These smoke detectors must be hardwired to your electrical system, include a battery back-up and be interconnected to each other.

Addition / Renovation Requirements

These requirements for new construction also apply to additions and/or renovations where a bedroom is either added or substantially altered. If an addition or renovation involves adding or substantially altering a bedroom, the entire house, including existing bedrooms must be brought up to the present standard according to the Massachusetts State Building Code (780 CMR), regardless of the age of the house.

House Numbers / House Identification

And don’t forget house numbers! Massachusetts General Law 148 Section 59 requires that all homes and businesses have numbers of sufficient size and affixed in such a way as to be visible from the street. So while we’re out to inspect your smoke detectors, we’ll also be looking for those house numbers! We would be unable to grant the smoke detector a Certificate of Compliance if the house is not properly marked. Remember, we can’t help you if we can’t find you!

If you have any questions, call 508-647-9556 or email the Fire Department.