Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean when my smoke detector is "chirping"?
Usually a smoke detector that "chirps" or "beeps" about every minute needs a new battery. Batteries in smoke detectors should be replaced twice a year, traditionally on the days you set your clock forward in the spring and back in the fall. If it continues to chirp after you replace the battery, it may indicate a malfunctioning smoke detector. New smoke detectors can be purchased at hardware stores or department stores.
The Firefighter/Paramedics treated me but didn't transport me.  Will I be charged?
Patients who receive care at the scene and are not transported to a hospital are not charged for these services.
Why does the Fire Department make so much noise when they respond to a call?
For the safety of our citizens, fire engines and ambulances sound sirens and display warning lights, when needed, while responding to emergencies.
Why do I see firefighters cutting holes in the roof and breaking windows of a building on fire?
When there is a fire, you may have seen firefighters breaking windows and cutting holes in the roof. The firefighters are performing ventilation. Ventilation allows smoke and superheated gas to escape from the building. This prevents two dangerous conditions known as flashover and backdraft from developing. Flashover and backdraft can potentially kill firefighters or other people still inside the building. Ventilation also decreases the temperature inside of the building and increases visibility so that firefighters can work more safely and effectively. While it may look like the firefighters are just breaking things, they are actually performing a critical task at a fire.
What if there is a fire outside that is near my home or business?
If a fire is close to your home or business (such as a car parked next to your home) consider it inside your home, evacuate the building, call 9-1-1 and wait for Bourne Fire / Rescue & Emergency Services to arrive.
How do I become a Bourne Firefighter?
Full time requirements:

  • You must have a High School diploma or a GED.
  • You must have a valid MA driver’s license.
  • Pass a physical exam, psychological exam, and a extensive background check
  • Must be a Paramedic
  • Every 2 years there is a test held by the Civil Service Department.  For more information visit the Human Resources Division at 1 Ash Burton Place in Boston or call them at (617) 727-3555 or<

It also helps greatly if you:

  • Have residency preference by living in town one year before the date of the test.
  • You have served in US military.


Become a Paid Call Firefighter:

  • Live in town
  • You must have a High School diploma or a GED.
  • You must have a valid MA driver’s license
  • Pass a physical exam, an extensive back ground check and physical agilities tests (PAT)
  • Complete a Firefighter I/II training program, nights and weekends (200 + hrs not compensated).
  • Be a certified EMT or become one within 18 months as a condition of employment.
  • Maintain a minimum number of drills and responses.
What is the best type of fire extinguisher for my home?
A multi-purpose fire extinguisher is best for the home. Look for the rating to be at least 2A-10B C on the label. This extinguisher can be used on any type of fire commonly found in the home. It will often be labeled A-B-C. It is recommended that extinguishers be installed in the kitchen and in the garage.
Fire extinguishers are rated by what kinds of fire they are designed to extinguish. The Classes of fire are:
  • CLASS A: Ordinary combustibles such as wood, cloth, and paper.
  • CLASS B: Flammable liquids such as gasoline, oil, and oil-based paint.
  • CLASS C: Energized electrical equipment - including wiring, fuse boxes, circuit breakers, machinery, and appliances.
Why do I occasionally see fire trucks and ambulances driving with lights and sirens proceed through red lights and travel down roadways and then suddenly they turn off their lights and slow down?
Many times, several units are dispatched to the same emergency incident. These units may respond from different fire stations throughout town. The first arriving unit will assess the situation and inform the dispatcher that the situation is or is not under control or that a single unit or that multiple units will be needed to handle the emergency. If the decision is made that no other apparatus is needed on scene, all other responding units are cancelled and return to quarters to prepare for the next call. Most likely, when you see an emergency vehicle with red lights and siren go through an intersection and then slow down and turn the emergency lights off, they have been cancelled from the call they were responding to.
When an emergency vehicle is approaching that is displaying emergency lights and sirens, what should I do?
By Massachusetts’s law, you are required to pull to the right and stop. This allows emergency apparatus adequate and clear lanes to safely continue their response.
What should I do to keep my home safer this winter?
This fall,
  • Have your furnace/boiler cleaned and serviced by a licensed oil burner or gas technician.
  • Chimneys should be cleaned, especially if you burn wood in a wood stove or fireplace. Chimneys should also have a screened rain cap to prevent rain, snow and animals from entering the flue.
  • If your oil or gas furnace/boiler has a direct vent, make regular checks during storms to make sure the vent is free from accumulated snow or debris.
  • Cleaning leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts will prevent ice buildups during freezing weather.
  • Candles should be on a flat surface in a noncombustible holder of glass, metal or ceramic. Candles should never be left unattended. Many major fires in our area have been started by unattended candles.
  • Carbon Monoxide detectors should be installed on all level of your home that have habitable space and within 10 feet of every bedroom.  Also, have properly working smoke detectors on all levels of your home.
  • NEVER EVER use a gas oven to heat a room.
  • Keep space heaters away from upholstery, drapes, newspapers, magazines and other combustibles.
How do I arrange a Tour of the Fire Station?
A tour of any fire station can be arranged by calling our business telephone number at (508) 759-4412 or by simply stopping in.
Do I have to remove my underground home heating oil tank?
No. Current State law does not require the homeowner to remove an underground storage tank for home heating oil. Tanks must be removed if they have been identified as leaking or if they have not been used in the previous 24 months. The oil can only be used for heating the building and domestic hot water. If the tank supplies fuel for other equipment such as an emergency generator, other guidelines become effective. The tank can remain in place but must meet requirements for corrosion protection and annual testing for leaks. However, if you are selling your home, a new buyer may find it difficult to obtain a mortgage on the property if an underground storage tank is present. If you are planning to remove a tank, a permit must be obtained from Bourne Fire / Rescue & Emergency Services. This can be done by stopping into the Headquarters Station at 130 Main Street in Buzzards Bay.
Why do I need to get a smoke detector inspection and where do I place them?
According to Massachusetts State Law (Chap. 148 Sec 26F) all buildings or structures occupied in whole or in part for residential purposes upon the sale or transfer, shall be equipped by the seller with approved smoke detectors/ MGL Chap.148 sec. 26F. An operating smoke detector is required on every habitable level, including the basement. Finished attic spaces also need smoke detector coverage. In homes with floor space exceeding 1,200 square feet per floor, a second detector will be required.
How often should I check my smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector to see if they are working?
We recommend that you test your detectors on a monthly basis. You can do this with most detectors by pressing the test button for a few seconds. This is also a good time to discuss and review your home fire escape plan with those who live with you.