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Smoke Alarms

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Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms are very important to keep your home and family safe. Here are some guidelines to remember when setting up smoke alarms and maintaining smoke alarms in your home.

  • A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire. Install smoke alarms inside and outside each sleeping area. Make sure this is done for each floor of your home.
  • Interconnect every smoke alarm. When one alarms sounds, they all sound.
  • Large homes may need extra smoke alarms. If you believe there is a possibility of a fire occurring in that area. Protect it with a smoke alarm.
  • Test your smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
  • When a smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside. 
  • Replace all smoke alarms in your home every 10 years.

Installing Smoke Alarms

  • Choose smoke alarms that have a label of a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Install smoke alarms inside each sleeping area and outside each sleeping area.
  • Install smoke alarms in living rooms (den or family room) or near the stairway to the upper level, or in both locations.
  • Smoke alarms installed in the basement should be installed on the ceiling at the bottom of the stairs leading to the next level.
  • If you have a ceiling that is pitched, install the smoke alarm anywhere from 4-36 inches from the peak of the ceiling. Do not install the smoke alarm in the peak (less than 4 inches from the peak) or too far down (greater than 36 inches) from the peak of the ceiling.
  • Don't install fire alarms near windows, doors, or ducts where drafts might interfere with their operation.
  • Never paint smoke alarms. Paint, stickers, or other decorations could keep the alarm from working.
  • For the best protection, interconnect all smoke alarms. When one sounds, they all sound. This is done through hard-wiring or wireless technology. 
  • There are two types of smoke alarms, for the best protection both types of alarms are combination ionization-photoelectric alarms, also know as dual sensor smoke alarms are recommended.
    • The Two types of alarms:
      • Ionization - Ionization smoke alarms is generally more responsive to flaming fires.
      • Photoelectric - Photoelectric smoke alarms are more responsive to smoldering fires.

Testing Smoke Alarms

  • Smoke alarms should be maintained according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.
  • Make sure everyone in the home understands the sound of a smoke alarm and knows how to respond.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning to keep smoke alarms working well. The instructions are included in the package or can be found on the internet.
  • Smoke alarms with non-replaceable 10-year batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the alarm chirps, warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away.
  • When replacing a battery, follow the manufacturer's list of batteries on the back of the alarm or manufacturer's instructions. Manufacturer's instructions are specific to the batteries (brand and model) that must be used. The alarm may not work properly if a different kind of battery is used. 

Information gathered from the National Fire Protection Association