Smoke Detectors

Make sure smoke alarms are operating correctly by testing them regularly.

Frequency of Battery Checks

A proper and frequent check of your smoke and fire alarm is just as important as having one. A good rule of thumb is to replace the batteries twice a year, at the beginning and end of daylight savings time. Change the battery when the alarm’s low battery signal emits the sound indicating a change is necessary.

Installation Location & Maintenance

  • For minimum coverage, a smoke and fire alarm should be installed on every level of the home and in every sleeping area.
  • For maximum protection, a detector should be installed on every level including:
    • At the top and bottom of stairways
    • Basements and finished attics
    • Each bedroom, and in the hall outside of every sleeping area
    • Rooms that are frequently used
  • Remember that smoke detectors generally have a 12 year lifespan and should be checked for effectiveness.

What to Do if Your Smoke Alarm Sounds

A working smoke and fire alarm doubles a person’s chance of surviving a fire and could reduce fatalities by up to 90%. The loud alarm of a smoke and fire alarm can warn you of a dangerous situation before it becomes too late. When you are awakened by the alarm, make sure other family members are also awake.


If sleeping and a smoke and fire alarm sounds, immediately exit the home. Do not stop to get dressed, find the family pet or collect valuables. Fire moves very quickly and there are no seconds to spare. Teach children what the smoke and fire alarm sounds like.

Additional Tips

  • When leaving a room in a burning building, never open a door without feeling the door to see if it is warm. If it is hot, use an alternate exit, if possible. A warm door may mean there is a fire on the other side.
  • Close doors behind you as you leave a building in a fire. This will slow the progress of the fire.
  • If you should awaken to a smoke-filled room, stay low and crawl below the smoke to safety.
  • If your hair or clothing catch on fire, smother the flames with a thick material such as a towel, thick sweater, etc. or Stop, Drop and Roll to smother clothing fires. Get medical attention as soon as possible.