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Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms save lives. Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out.


  • Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. 
  • Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound. 
  • An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires, and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, both types of alarms or a combination alarm (photoelectric and ionization) should be installed in homes. 
  • Test alarms at least monthly by pushing the test button. 
  • Smoke rises; install smoke alarms following manufacturer's instructions high on a wall or on a ceiling. Save manufacturer's instructions for testing and maintenance. 
  • Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least once a year. If an alarm “chirps”, warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away. 
  • Replace all smoke alarms, including alarms that use 10-year batteries and hard-wired alarms, when they are 10 year old or sooner if they do not respond properly. 
  • Be sure the smoke alarm has the label of a recognized testing laboratory. 
  • Alarms that are hard-wired (and include battery backup) must be installed by a qualified electrician. 
  • If cooking fumes or steam sets off nuisance alarms, replace the alarm with an alarm that has a "hush" button. A "hush" button will reduce the alarm’s sensitivity for a short period of time. 
  • An ionization alarm with a hush button or a photoelectric alarm should be used if the alarm is within 20 feet of a cooking appliance. 
  • Smoke alarms that include a recordable voice announcement in addition to the usual alarm sound, may be helpful in waking children through the use of a familiar voice. 
  • Smoke alarms are available for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. These devices use strobe lights. Vibration devices can be added to these alarms 
  • Smoke alarms are an important part of a home fire escape plan.


for more information, visit NFPA.org

If you don't have a working smoke alarm in your house, most Fire Departments offer free smoke alarms.