Smoke Alarm Safety

Half of all fire deaths happen between 11pm and 7am when residents are most likely to be asleep, making an already dangerous situation much worse. Smoke detectors are an essential part of your fire safety plan. When a fire begins in a home, many times occupants only have minutes to escape. When a home has properly installed, working smoke alarms, the risk of occupants dying in a household fire is reduced by half. Here are some tips to help you make sure your smoke detectors are functioning properly and keeping your family safe.

  1. Test smoke alarms once a month by pressing the test button.
  2. Replace batteries in smoke alarms at least once a year. If an alarm starts chirping, indicating the battery is low, replace immediately.
  3. Smoke alarms that are all connected are more effective. When one sounds, the rest of them will, alerting all areas of the dwelling of fire and/or smoke.
  4. Install both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms to make sure that any type of fire in your home can be quickly detected.
  5. Replace all smoke detectors every 10 years, or if they no longer sound when testing by pressing the test button.
  6. Smoke alarms should be installed in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement.
  7. Don't forget the Carbon Monoxide detectors as well, which should be on each level of the home.
  8. Smoke alarms should be located on a ceiling or high on a wall. They should be at least 10 feet away from stoves, to avoid false alarms when cooking.
  9. Sleeping children (and some adults) may not always hear smoke alarms. Make sure that, as a part of your family fire escape plan, all children and adults who are heavy sleepers will be woken up by another adult.
  10. Make sure all family members know exactly what your smoke alarms sound like, and what to do when they hear one sound. A fire escape plan is essential, and should be practiced multiple times, and throughout the years.