Fire Prevention

Introduction of the Fire Prevention and Code Enforcement Office

The primary responsibility of the Fire Prevention and Code Enforcement Office (FP/CE Office) is to prevent fires through aggressive enforcement of local, state, and federal ordinances/codes/regulations/laws relative to fire safety. This is accomplished through conducting inspections, issuing permits, investigating complaints and reported violations, and working to establish positive working relationships with public and private sector entities. The FP/CE Office is tasked with the review of all site and building plans for new construction, renovations and additions, sprinkler and fire alarm system upgrades, and demolition of structures. Inspectors also issue permits and monitor the installation and removal of underground and aboveground storage tanks and vehicle cargo/transfer tanks. The FP/CE Office works closely with many Town, State, and National departments/ agencies/ committees to meet fire safety mission goals: most notably the Building Department, Board of Health and Planning Board, the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services at the state level and National Fire Protection Agency at the national level.

The Fire Prevention and Code Enforcement Office, in accordance with OSHA SARA Title III Regulations and Tier II Reporting Requirements, is responsible for tracking and permitting flammable, combustible and hazardous materials/liquids stored, used and processed within the Town. The primary goal is to identify occupancies storing/using flammable and combustible liquids and hazardous materials and assist the Towns' Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) in developing prevention, response, and mitigation plans focused on these facilities. In addition to the LEPC, the FP/CE Office works closely with other Town and State departments/agencies and abutting communities to create a safe environment for the citizens.

Introduction of the Fire Investigation Unit

Beyond the missions of fire prevention and code enforcement, the FP/CE Office is the overseeing entity for the Department's Fire Investigation Unit (FIU). The FIU is a joint entity consisting of trained and certified fire investigators from the Southborough Fire and Police Departments and also includes the Towns' Wire Inspector. The mission of the FIU is to investigate all suspicious, large-scale, high-dollar loss fires and those that involve high-profile structures and Town-owned buildings. Also investigated are those that involve any responder or public injury and/or fatality. The FIU is also available to investigate any fire incident if requested by an Incident Commander. The FIU works closely with the Massachusetts State Police Fire and Explosive Investigation Unit and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (and explosives).

Fire/Life Safety

The FP/CE Office also works closely with the Department's Fire Safety Public Education Division to further prevent avoidable fires and life-threatening hazardous situations. For more information of public safety education please refer to the "Public Education" section.

Carbon Monoxide Emergencies: "What Do I Do"

  • Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas that results from incomplete burning of fuels such as natural gas, propane, oil, wood, coal, and gasoline. Each year many people die from accidental CO poisoning and thousands more are injured.
  • The first symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to the flu (but without the fever). They include headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea, and dizziness.
  • If you think you have symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning or your CO alarm is sounding, call 911 and leave the building immediately.
  • Do not hesitate: Incapacitating effects of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning can evolve rapidly. The key to your safety is to act immediately.
  • Prevention: The best way to limit the possibility of a carbon monoxide event within your home is to have annual (or more frequent) maintenance and cleaning of heating units conducted by a professional.