Smoke Alarms

According to statistics from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 8 people on average die in a home fire each day in the U.S. and around 3,000 people every year.

It has been found out that working smoke alarms cut the chance of deaths in a fire into half, while two-thirds of all home fire deaths occur due to homes without working smoke alarms.

Many people do not know or do not have the recommended level of residential smoke alarm protection or their homes may not be equipped with the required number of alarms, or they may be using outdated or nonfunctional smoke alarms.

Following are few tips outlined by the Electrical Safety Foundation International, to ensure smoke alarms are installed and working properly:

Installation Tips

Smoke alarms should be installed in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home.

For the best protection, smoke alarms should be interconnected, so that they all sound if one sounds.

Combination smoke alarms that include both ionization and photoelectric alarms offer the most comprehensive protection. An ionization alarm is more responsive to flames, while a photoelectric alarm is more responsive to a smoldering fire.

Hardwired smoke alarms with battery backups are considered to be more reliable than those operated solely by batteries.

Purchase smoke alarms from a reputable retailer that you trust.

Choose alarms that bear the label of a nationally-recognized testing laboratory.

Install smoke alarms at least 10 feet from cooking appliances to reduce the possibility of nuisance alarms.

Alarms installed between 10-20 feet of a cooking appliance must have a hush feature to temporarily reduce the alarm sensitivity or must be a photoelectric alarm.

If possible, alarms should be mounted in the center of a ceiling. If mounted on a wall, they should be located 6 to 12 inches below the ceiling.

Avoid locating alarms near bathrooms, heating appliances, windows or ceiling fans.

Maintenance Tips

Smoke alarms should be tested once a month by pressing the TEST button.

Smoke alarm batteries should be replaced in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, at least once a year. If an alarm “chirps” or “beeps” to indicate low batteries, they should be replaced immediately.

Occasionally dust or lightly vacuum the exterior of the alarm to remove dust and cobwebs.

Smoke alarms should be replaced in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, at least every ten years.

Never paint over a smoke alarm.

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