Smoke Alarms Save Lives!!!


The majority of fatal home fires happen at night.  The smell of smoke won't always wake you up.  In fact, smoke and poisonous gases such as carbon monoxide can put you into a deeper sleep.

Home smoke alarms can awaken you in time to escape, cutting your chances of dying nearly in half.  Smoke alarms are inexpensive and they DO save lives!

Be sure that any smoke alarm you purchase carries the label of an independent testing lab, such as UL (Underwriters' Laboratories).

Some smoke detectors run on batteries, others on household current.  Different models utilize different fire sensing technologies.  All approved labeled smoke alarms, regardless of the brand or model, will protect you.

Install a smoke alarm on every floor of your home (including the basement) and outside each sleeping area, inside as well if you sleep with the doors closed.  Alarms should also be installed in or near dens, living rooms, family rooms, and other living areas.

Be sure that everyone sleeping in your house can hear the smoke alarms, even with appliances such as air conditioners running.  If someone in your home is hearing impaired, you can install louder alarms, or one that flash a bright light along with sounding an audible signal.

The National Fire Alarm Code prohibits the installation of smoke alarms in locations such as attics and other unheated spaces where ambient conditions are outside the limits set by the manufacturer.  Smoke detectors should not be located where cooking fumes, steam, or automobile exhaust fumes might cause false alarms.

Smoke rises, so alarms should be mounted on the ceiling or high on a wall.  Place ceiling-mounted alarms at least 4 inches from the nearest wall.  Position wall mounted alarms with the top of the unit 4 to 8 inches from the ceiling.  In a room with a pitched ceiling, mount the alarm at or near the ceiling's highest point.

In open stairways with no doors at the top or bottom, install alarms anywhere along the path that smoke would travel up the stairs.  In closed stairways, always mount the detector at the bottom.  Dead air trapped near the door at the top of the stairway could prevent smoke from reaching an alarm located at the top.

Don't install a smoke alarm too near a window, door, or forced-air register where drafts could interfere with its operation.

Most battery operated smoke alarms, as well as alarms that plug into wall outlets, can be installed using only a drill and a screwdriver.  Follow the manufacturer's instructions.  Plug-in alarms must have a restraining device so that they can't be accidentally unplugged.  If you are a senior citizen and need assistance installing a smoke detector, call the fire station- we will be happy to send someone over to help you.

Smoke alarms also can be hard-wired into your home's electrical system by a qualified installer.  Never connect a smoke alarm to a circuit that can be turned off by a wall switch.

Cooking vapors, steam, dust, and other fumes sometimes can cause false alarms.  If this happens, don't take the battery out of your smoke detector!  Try moving it to a different location, away from the source of the problem.  Some alarms have a "pause"-type button that will temporarily disable them for a few minutes.  These alarms will reactivate themselves automatically.

If your alarm sounds and will not reset, call 911 and request that the fire department respond to your home, even if you cannot see or smell any smoke.  Modern smoke detectors are much more sensitive than the human nose and can detect fires in their earliest stages.  We would much rather arrive to find a small fire, or even nothing at all, than to arrive later and find your house engulfed in flames because you didn't want to bother us earlier!

Test your smoke detectors monthly by pushing the "TEST" button.  Install new batteries yearly when you set the clocks back in the fall, or whenever your alarm chirps to indicate that its battery is low.


Some additional smoke alarm tips...

  • Never "borrow" a smoke alarm battery to use in another appliance.
  • Vacuum your smoke detectors regularly to keep them free of dust and cobwebs (unless otherwise indicated by the manufacturer's instructions.)
  • Never paint over a smoke alarm.
  • Smoke detectors don't last forever- replace any alarm that is over 10 years old.

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