Smoke Alarms 101

Smoke alarms are an important defense against injury, death and property loss in house fires. Nearly two-thirds of home fire fatalities occur in homes with non-working or missing smoke detectors. An early warning can save lives!

  • Smoke alarms should be in installed every bedroom, outside every sleeping area, and on each level of the home.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement. High, peaked ceilings have dead air space at the top, so smoke alarms should be placed no closer than 3 feet from the highest point.
  • Near the kitchen, use an alarm with a “hush button” that will silence nuisance alarms reacting to cooking smoke or steam. Or install a photoelectric alarm which will not be triggered by cooking. Never remove the unit’s battery to stop or prevent nuisance alarms.
  • Test each unit monthly. Put a reminder in your calendar to do this on the first or last day of the month, for example. This is also an ideal time to dust off the unit so that it continues to work properly.
  • Replace the batteries at least once a year. A common rule of thumb is to do this when changing to or from Daylight Saving Time in fall or spring. Many alarms now come with 10-year lithium batteries that eliminate the need for new batteries, but the unit itself must be replaced after its lifespan.
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