Smoke Alarms

A smoke alarmSmoke Alarm Help (non-emergency)

Smoke alarm PSAs (video and audio)

What is the best kind of smoke alarm to have in my home?  

Where should smoke alarms be installed?

How do I maintain my smoke alarms?

Do I ever need to replace my smoke alarms?

How do I clean my smoke alarms?

What if I rent?


What is the best kind of smoke alarm to have in my home? back to top

The best kind of smoke alarm to have is one that works! A properly installed and maintained smoke alarm will provide early warning in the event of a fire, giving you and your family the chance for escape.

If you have electric smoke alarms in your home, make sure you have some battery-powered alarms in case of power outage, for instance, during an ice or thunderstorm.

Where should smoke alarms be installed? back to top

Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement. They should also be placed outside of sleeping areas, and for added safety one in each sleeping room.

As smoke rises, for best results smoke alarms should be placed on the ceiling near its highest point. Avoid corners, vents, and dead air space. Keep alarms at least four inches from the nearest wall. If placed high on the wall, mount it so the top of the alarm is four to 12 inches from the ceiling. For more information, call the Public Education office and request a brochure.

How do I maintain my smoke alarms? back to top

Replace batteries in smoke alarms once a year. If your alarm "chirps," your battery needs replaced. Even is the alarm stops chirping - and you haven't changed the battery - the battery still needs changed.

Dust and debris can interfere with how smoke alarms work. Vacuum smoke alarms regularly to keep them working properly.

Most importantly, DO NOT DISABLE YOUR SMOKE ALARMS! You may not remember to put the battery back in. If your smoke alarm activates (for instance, while cooking), fan the air with a towel.

Do I ever need to replace my smoke alarms? back to top

Replace your smoke alarms every 8 - 10 years. After 10 years your smoke alarms will have been working for over 87,000 continuous hours, and like most electrical appliances, they can wear out. When you purchase new smoke alarms, write the date of purchase on the back, so you'll know when to replace it.

How do I clean my smoke alarms? back to top

Clean your smoke alarms by following the manufacturer's recommendations.

What if I rent? back to top

Landlords are required by law to provide working smoke alarms at the time a tenant moves into a rental property. Tenants must keep alarms in working order.