Fire Alarm & Suppression System, CO2 Detection, Flooring Fire-block

This is unofficial advice given neighbor to neighbor; accuracy is not guaranteed, and any work on a unit should be done by licensed professionals with proper permissions from the building management.

Fire Alarm and Suppression System (Building)

The entire building is plumbed with a water sprinkling system.  These sprinkler heads are non intrusive but if you are concerned about them, recommend you have a contractor install cages around the sprinkler heads. [Admin note: Accidentally bumping into one of these heads and activating it can be a disaster with hundreds of gallons of water pouring into your unit and the ones below. It’s important that workmen and movers as well as residents avoid banging into them.]

There is a red speaker in the hallway on the second floor of your apartment that will announce an emergency when the alarm for your floor activates.

There are centralized smoke detectors located just outside your unit and in the emergency exit hallway on the second floor of your unit.  The alarm goes off every six months or so for one reason or the other.

—Bill J.

When the building alarms go off, the unit alarms for the floor with the problem and the floors immediately above and below it are also activated. If you’re inside your unit with any sort of music or sound on, or in your bedroom with the door shut, you may not even be aware that the alarms in the atrium are sounding if your unit alarms have not gone off. Should there be a serious emergency, alarms throughout the building will sound.

When the fire alarm goes off but is limited to certain floors, the tendency among residents is to prepare to leave but wait in the atrium hallways, much to the annoyance of fire department personnel who want everyone out ASAP. Always take a fire alarm seriously—especially if your floor is affected—this is an old building with wooden stairways and it’s far better to be safe than sorry.

—Ruth E.

Fire Alarm and CO2 detection (Unit)

Code requires you to have smoke and CO2 detectors in your apartment.  Smoke detectors are located in the hallways on the first and second floor of your apartment.  You may have newer detectors which have integrated CO2 detection or you may have separate CO2 detectors.  Older smoke detectors are connected such that if one goes off, the other will activate.  Newer smoke detectors may tell you where the alarm is, older ones will not.  Smoke detectors will need to be replaced periodically as the components lose their effectiveness.  When the detector reaches end of life, it will beep in a manner which tells you it needs replacing.  Recommend you become familiar with the detectors in your apartment and replace them as needed.


As you can probably guess, the building’s original wooden mill floors are under your first floor carpet or other flooring, and those old floors have a fireproof white flooring material covering them.  Do not remove this fireproofing material unless you replace it with an equally effective fireproof material.  Recommend you contact the City of Lowell for this.  Material was required by the city because of the oil-soaked flooring. 

—Bill J.

One thought on “Fire Alarm & Suppression System, CO2 Detection, Flooring Fire-block”

  1. I have a question about the sprinkler system pipes. Do they contain lead?

    There are many layers of paint on the pipe in my bathroom and I want to scrape and paint, to put a rust inhibitor layer before I repaint. But I don’t want to be exposing my family to lead.

    Who would know?


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