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Smoke Alarms

Choosing an Alarm

  • Buy smoke alarms that have been tested by an independent laboratory.
  • Smoke alarms can be battery powered or wired to run on household current with a battery back-up.

Installing an Alarm

  • One alarm is recommended for every level of a home.
  • Place alarms within ten feet of the family sleeping area and within four to twelve inches of the ceiling. Place ceiling mounted alarms within four inches of the nearest wall.
  • Avoid placing smoke alarms near kitchens, bathrooms, or garages in order to prevent nuisance alarms.

Maintaining Smoke Alarms

  • Never disable an alarm. If it constantly “chirps” replace the battery or the alarm.
  • Test smoke alarms monthly.
  • Replace batteries in an alkaline battery-powered alarm once a year. Many new alarms contain 10-year lithium powered batteries, which last the life of the unit.
  • Replace smoke alarm units every ten years.

Planning an Escape Route

  • Everyone should know at least two ways out of a room.
  • Keep windows and doors free of objects that could block your path.
  • Agree on an outside meeting place for family members once they escape.
  • Once out, stay out! Use a neighbor’s phone to call 911.
  • Practice your escape route at least two times a year.

Page last updated: May 13, 2021