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September 25, 2018
Learning Center & Fire Prevention
Mar 05, 2007

The Story of The Maltese Cross and How it was Linked to Firefighting 

When a courageous band of crusaders, the Knights of St. John, fought the Saracens for possession of the Holy Lands, they were faced with a new device of war—fire.

As the crusaders advanced on Jerusalem, the Saracens pelted them with glass bombs full of naphtha and then threw down flaming torches.  Hundreds of knights were burned alive while others risked their lives to save their kinsmen from painful fiery deaths.  Thus these became the first firefighters.  Their heroic efforts were recognized by fellow crusaders who awarded them with a badge of honor similar to the cross firefighters wear today.  Since the Knights of St. John lived nearly four centuries on the island of Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea, the cross came to be known as the Maltese Cross.

The Meaning of The Maltese Cross 

The Maltese Cross is our symbol of protection.  It means that the Firefighter who wears this cross is willing to lay down his/her life for you just as the crusaders sacrificed their lives for their fellow man so many years ago. The Maltese Cross is a Firefighter's badge of honor, signifying that he/she works in courage - a ladder's rung away from death.

A Maltese Cross consists of eight points. The picture below shows the meaning of each point.


Mar 20, 2012

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

If you need a Certificate of Compliance for Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors for a condo or single family home read these guidelines thoroughly and follow all instructions  in order to acquire a certificate.

In order to be compliant with the regulation you will need:

     • smoke detectors 

     • carbon monoxide detectors 

     • house numbers.

It is the responsibility of the realtor / homeowner to place the proper detector in the locations required.

It is important that the smoke detectors  and CO detectors be approved by Underwriters Laboratories (UL).  Be sure that the detectors have the UL label on the back of the detectors.

Typical single family residences built before January 1, 1975:

Owners must now install smoke detectors employing both ionization and photoelectric technologies in  all places where they were previously required, EXCEPT within 20 feet of a kitchen or a bathroom containing a bathtub or shower. Within 20 feet of a kitchen or bathroom containing a bathtub or shower, ONLY a photoelectric smoke detector is allowed. Compliance can be achieved by installing two separate detectors using these technologies, or by installing one detector which uses both technologies. The new regulations do not change the location where the detectors need to be placed. They only change the technologies that have to be employed.

In residences not subject to MGL c.148,s.26F(built after January 1975), the smoke detector upgrade is recommended, but is not required by law.  This would be in reference to those properties that have hard wired detection systems.

Smoke Detectors are required as follows:

              *   Must be mounted on ceiling and at least 6 inches from    

                   nearest wall.                                                                       

              *   On  every habitable level of the residence.  If a single level has an area in excess of 1200 S/F, a second smoke detector is required remote from the first.     

              *   On the ceiling above the base of each  stairway (Including the basement). if the  ceiling is not finished place the detector on the bottom of the floor joist.  Do not put the detector on the sloped                    part of the ceiling above the stairs.

              *   On  the ceiling outside of each separate sleeping area.

              *   The smoke detectors may either be battery powered, hardwired or a combination of the two.

              *   If the smoke detector is located within 20 feet of a kitchen or bathroom (containing a bathtub or shower), the smoke detector will be required to be a photoelectric detector.

              *   If the smoke detector is outside of 20 feet of a kitchen or a bathroom (containing a bathtub or shower) you must utilize either:


  •                  A dual detector (containing both ionization and photoelectric technologies); OR
  •                  Two separate detectors (one photoelectric and one ionization).

Low voltage household warning systems are exempt from the dual detection requirement.



 Carbon Monoxide Detectors are required as follows: 

For buildings with fossil-fuel burning equipment or enclosed parking areas, the regulations require carbon monoxide detectors on every level of the home and within ten feet of each sleeping area and in habitable portions of attics.  

If your home contains equipment which includes: water heaters, oil or gas furnaces, wood or gas fireplaces, wood pellet stoves, gas clothes dryers, or gas cooking stoves, you will need to follow the CO detector requirements.  Homes with  attached garages will also require CO detectors.       

              *  May be ceiling or wall mounted if CO only detector.  May be either: battery powered, AC plug-in with battery backup or hardwired with battery backup.

              *  A CO detector must be located  on every level of the residence,  including basements and habitable portions of attics but  excluding crawl  spaces.

              A CO detector must be located within the immediate vicinity of the sleeping area, not to exceed 10 feet from any bedroom door.

              *  Homes with attached garages will also require CO detectors in the home and not in the garage.

Combination detectors (photoelectric smoke and carbon monoxide detector) may be used if the detector is within 20 feet of a kitchen or bathroom (containing a bathtub or shower). Acceptable combination smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms must have simulated voice and tone alarms that clearly distinguish between the two types of emergencies.  Combination units must be ceiling mounted.

Combination detectors (ionization smoke and carbon monoxide detector) may be used if the detector is outside of 20 feet of a kitchen or bathroom (containing a bathtub or shower). Acceptable combination smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms must have simulated voice and tone alarms that clearly distinguish between the two types of emergencies. Combination units must be ceiling mounted.

House Numbers are required as follows:

House numbers should be at least 3 “ high in numerals only.  They should be a contrasting color to the house and clearly visible from the street.  If the home is not visible from the street the number should be on a post or marker at the street as well as on the home.  The numbers should be to the left or right of the entry door  and not on the door itself.  No Adhesive Numbers


Smoke and CO Detector Placement Guidelines


Smokes Detectors     There must be 2 smoke detectors (Ionization and Photoelectric) on the ceiling at the bottom of the basement stairway.  In unfinished construction, detectors should be mounted on the bottom of the floor joist.  If there is a full bathroom or kitchen in the basement that is within 20 feet of the stairway then the detector should be photoelectric only. 

Carbon Monoxide Detector      A CO detector must  be located in the basement.  It can go in the same location as the smoke detectors.  If there are bedrooms in the basement then the detector must be located within 10 feet of each bedroom door.  The CO detector should not be located within 10 feet of a Carbon Monoxide producing appliance.

1st Floor         

Smoke Detectors     Smoke detectors (ionization and photoelectric) must go on the ceiling at the bottom of the stairway leading to the 2nd floor.  If this location is within 20 feet of a bathroom or kitchen then the detector should be photoelectric only.   If there are any bedrooms on the first floor then  a smoke detector should go on the ceiling outside the sleeping area.

Carbon Monoxide Detector     A Carbon Monoxide detector should be placed on the first floor level.  If there are bedrooms on the first floor then the CO Detector should be within 10 feet of the bedroom door.

2nd Floor           

Smoke Detectors     There should be a smoke detector on the ceiling outside the sleeping area, typically in the common hallway.  If there is a bathroom within 20 feet of these bedrooms then a photoelectric detector should be used.  If these bedrooms are beyond 20 feet then 2 detectors (Ionization and Photoelectric) should be used.  If you sleep with your bedroom doors closed, it is recommended that a smoke detector be installed inside each bedroom.  Alarms should also be installed in other areas of your home where people sleep.

Carbon Monoxide Detector     A CO detector should be placed on the 2nd floor level.  If there are bedrooms on the 2nd floor then the CO Detector should be in the common hallway within 10 feet of the bedroom doors.


Habitable portions of an attic should have both types of smoke detectors and a CO Detector

Mar 05, 2007




Firefighting helmets are designed to protect the firefighters head from falling objects and scolding water that may spill onto them from above. They are made of leather or fiberglass. The shield on the helmet usually indicates the Engine, Ladder or Rescue company that particular firefighter works for.


The facemask provides protection to the eyes and face from smoke, heat, and debris. It also delivers clean breathing air from the air tank to the firefighter.


Helps firefighters communicate with eachother and with the command center. The speaker and microphone are combined into one unit, which clips onto the bunker coat around the shoulder area for easy access.


Flashlights can be used to help guide firefighters through smoke filled rooms, to find their way outside at night or in buildings that have lost power. These flashlights are specially designed to be ignition-proof, so firefighters can work in dangerous areas where flammable gases or liquids may be present.


PASS - (Personal Alert Safety System) After a lack of motion lasting approximately 30 to 35 seconds, the unit will go into the 'Alarm' mode, which is a loud audio 'Alarm' signal that rapidly varies in pitch. This feature is invaluable for recognizing and locating downed firefighters.  Some models even have a built-in temperature sensor, which will also sound the alarm when the surrounding temperature is reaching too dangerous a level.


When carried together, these tools are called "Irons". Both can be used for forcible entry. The axe is designed to chop and smash through rooftops, walls, doors, and windows to help firefighters gain entry to an area or to ventilate a smokefilled area. A halligan is a mutifunctional tool consisting of a pry foot for lifting, spreading, and prying, a flat wedge for breaching, a pointed tang for pulling and puncturing, and a flat head for hammering.



The Bunker Coat & Pants are made of fire resistant materials and consist of 3 different layers that are designed to keep heat and moisture out.


Firefighting gloves are usually made of pigskin, or similar materials, that are shrink resistant when wet as well as heat resistant materials. They are designed to protect hands from heat, fire, cuts, and abbrasions. These gloves provide very little dexterity, which can make a firefighters job even more difficult at times.


Firefighting boots are made of either leather or rubber. They have a steel mid-sole for puncture protection, a steel shank for shin protection and a steel toe to protect toes from fallen objects.


Also known as SCBA (Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus). Supplies clean breathing air through the face mask, allowing firefighters to work in a smoky or contaminated environment.



The rescue rope can be used to lower or hoist victims or downed firefighters to a safe location.

Page Last Updated: Mar 20, 2012 (19:01:00)
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