Smoke Alarms

Key to Surviving or Reducing Injuries Caused by a Fire

Firefighter Checks smoke alarm on the wall

The key to surviving or reducing injuries caused by a fire is early notification. Early warning of fire or smoke danger is provided by maintaining smoke detectors in good working order.

The majority of fatal fires occur late at night or in the early morning hours. Early detection may be the key to survival for you and/or your family.

In most cases, people only have an average of 2 minutes to evacuate a building after they hear a smoke alarm activate.

Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of the house and inside and outside all sleeping areas. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper installation of the device(s). Most smoke alarms can be installed with the aid of a screwdriver. Record the installation date somewhere on the alarm with a permanent marker.

Replace the unit with a new alarm after 10 years of service. Replace alarm batteries every spring and fall when daylight savings time changes. “Hard-wired” alarms are connected to the home’s electrical system and may not have a battery backup. In the event of a power outage, “hard wired” alarms without battery backup capabilities become non-operable. In such cases, it is recommended that battery-operated alarms be installed on each level of your home as a backup.

On your calendar, choose and then mark one day each month to test your alarms. Clean alarms annually by gently running the vacuum cleaner around the device, leaving the alarm’s cover in place while you do this.

You can purchase smoke alarms at most retail, department or hardware stores.

View more information on smoke alarms (PDF).