Fire Marshal Department

Smoke Alarms

Tips for installing your smoke alarms correctly:

Install smoke alarms Listed (examined and tested to appropriate product safety standards) by a qualified testing laboratory on every level of your home, including the basement (but not unfinished attics). Make sure there is an alarm in or near every sleeping area.

Mount the smoke alarms high on ceilings or walls - remember, smoke rises. Ceiling-mounted alarms should be installed at least four inches away from the nearest wall; wall-mounted alarms should be installed four to 12 inches away from the ceiling.

Don't install smoke alarms near windows, outside doors, or ducts where drafts might interfere with their operation.

Don't paint your smoke alarms; paint or other decorations could keep them from working when you most need it.

Tips for keeping your smoke alarms working properly:

Test your smoke alarms at least once a month by using the alarms' "test button." Never use an open-flame device to test the alarm as you could burn yourself or start a fire. If the smoke alarm manufacturer's instructions permit the use of an aerosol smoke product for testing the smoke alarm, only use one that has been Listed by a third-party product testing agency, and utilize it in accordance with the product instructions.

Replace the batteries in your smoke alarms once a year, or as soon as the alarm "chirps," warning that the battery is low.

Helpful hint: schedule battery replacements for the same day you change your clock from daylight to standard time in the fall.

Regularly vacuuming or dusting your smoke alarm following manufacturer's instructions can help keep it working properly

Replace your smoke alarms once every 10 years.

Never "borrow" a battery from a smoke alarm.

Make sure that everyone in your home can hear and recognize the sound of the alarm and knows how to react immediately.