Spring into Action

Almost 2,500 people die in home fires every year in the United States. Most of these people live in homes that do not have working smoke alarms. Smoke alarms save lives. Keep your family safe. Put working smoke alarms in your home. Keep them working.

Put Smoke Alarms in Your Home to Keep Your Family Safe

  • Smoke is poisonous. It can kill you
  • Smoke alarms make a loud noise when there is smoke in your home
  • Smoke alarms wake you up if you are sleeping
  • Put a smoke alarm on every level of your home and outside each sleeping area
  • Put a smoke alarm inside every bedroom Smoke goes up
  • Put smoke alarms on the ceiling or high on the wall

Make Sure Your Smoke Alarms Work

  • Your family is not safe if they can’t hear the smoke alarms
  • Test your smoke alarms. Push the test button.You will hear a loud noise. If you don’t hear the noise, you need a new battery or a new alarm. Fix this immediately.
  • Make sure the smoke alarm always has a good battery. Most alarms will need a new battery every year.
  • Smoke alarms with long-life batteries will work for up to 10 years. You do not change the battery.
  • Smoke alarms do not last forever. Get new smoke alarms every 10 years.

Know What to Do if Your Smoke Alarm Makes a Loud Noise

You have about three minutes to get everyone outside and safe.

  • Make an escape plan.
    • Tell your family what to do if they hear the smoke alarm.
    • Make an escape plan so everyone knows how to get out fast.
    • Pick a meeting place outside your home where everyone will meet.
    • Some children and older adults cannot hear the smoke alarm when they are sleeping. Make a plan for how to wake them up and help them get out.
    • Practice your home escape plan with everyone in your family two times each year by having family fire drills.
  • Use your escape plan if there is a fire.
    • Go to your outside meeting place immediately.
    • Call 911 or the fire department from outside.
    • Never go back inside a burning building.

Open Burning Season Starts January 15 and ends May 1

A permit must be obtained from the Harwich Fire Department. Weather conditions can change rapidly, especially in the spring, and fire wardens will determine on a daily basis when it is safe to conduct open burning. If winds kick up or other atmospheric conditions change suddenly, making it unsafe to burn, permits can be rescinded (cancelled).

The open burning must be a minimum of 75 feet from all buildings and must be conducted between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and must take place on the land closest to the source of material to be burned, according to Department of Environmental Protection regulations (310 CMR DEP 7.07).

People conducting illegal burning, or who allow a fire to get out of control, may be held liable for costs of extinguishing a fire, fined, and even imprisoned (MGL c.48 s.13).

With A Permit, Burning of the Following Materials Is Allowed:

  • Brush, cane, driftwood, and forestry debris from other than commercial or industrial land clearing operations
  • Materials normally associated with the pursuit of agriculture such as, fruit tree prunings, dead raspberry stalks, blueberry patches for pruning purposes, and infected beehives for disease control.
  • Trees and brush resulting from agricultural land clearing.
  • Fungus infected elm wood, if no other acceptable means of disposal is available.

Burning of the Following Materials Is Prohibited Statewide:

  • Brush, trees, cane and driftwood from commercial and/or industrial land clearing operations.
  • Grass, hay, leaves and stumps, and tires.
  • Construction material and debris

LOCK BOX Requirements

The Town of Harwich requires any home or business owner to install a lockbox on any property that has an alarm system that is monitored remotely. This includes medical alert buttons and fire alrm systems. These lockboxes are a safe and secure way to provide the Fire Department a key to the property in case of alarm activation. These lockboxes are opened by a special key that ONLY the fire department carries. These lockboxes are different than the ones distributed by the Harwich Water Department. Contact the HFD for more information at (508) 430-7546.

Click here to download the NEW 2013 Lock Box Form

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