Smoke alarms in the residence is a key component to providing a safe home for your family. Smoke alarms provide occupants with early warning of a fire. This allows for early evacuation of the residence before fire spreads, overcomes the occupants, or blocks exits. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, 2/3 of all fire deaths take place in homes without working smoke detectors.
- Treat every alarm activation as if it is a real fire. Exit the residence, call 911, and let the fire department investigate the cause of activation. Never return inside the residence until deemed safe by the Fire Department.
- Practice with your family what to do when the alarm sounds. As a family, find two ways out of each room and out of the residence. Let children hear what the smoke alarm sounds like, and have them practice crawling to safety.
Installing a smoke detector
- Install smoke detectors on every level of your home, including the basement.
- Place one detector outside of every sleeping area.
- New homes are now required to have a detector in every bedroom.
- For best protection and notification, have your detectors interconnected so they all sound at once.
- Smoke alarms should be installed away from the kitchen and bathrooms to prevent false alarms, generally 10 feet away from cooking appliances.
- Replace smoke detectors when they are 10 years old, or according to manufacturer’s recommendation.
- For residents that are deaf or hard of hearing, have special detectors installed that use the combination of flashing lights, vibration, and sound.
- Painting or decorating smoke detectors can prevent them from functioning properly.
- Keep detectors away from windows and doors. The drafts can prevent the detector from functioning.
- Change the battery twice a year (at spring and fall time changes).
- An intermittent beep of the detector could mean a low battery. Change the battery, and if the intermittent beep persists, replace the smoke alarm.
- Use the “Test Button” monthly to test your detector.
- If you have a pitched ceiling, the detector should be installed at the highest point.
- Ceiling-mounted detectors should be a minimum of 4 inches from the wall.
- Wall-mounted detectors should be place no more than 12 inches from the ceiling to the top of the detector.
- To reduce false alarms, lightly dust around alarms to remove dust particles and spider webs. Blowing into a smoke alarm is not recommended, and can damage the alarm causing it not to function properly.