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Smoke Detectors

Make Them Work To Save YOUR Life!

Installation           Maintenance

Installation Tips

  • Install at least one smoke alarm on every floor of your home (including the basement) and outside each sleeping area. If you sleep with the door closed, NFPA recommends installing smoke alarms inside the room. In new homes, smoke alarms are required in all sleeping rooms, according to the NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm Code.
  • Mount the smoke alarms on ceilings or high on 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 at least four inches, but not more than 12 inches away from the ceiling. On vaulted ceilings, be sure to mount the alarm at the highest point of 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.

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Maintenance Tips

  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month by using the alarm's "test button" or an approved smoke substitute, and clean the units in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Replace the batteries in your smoke alarms once a year, or as soon as the alarm "chirps," warning that the battery is low. 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.
  • NFPA recommends that people who have hearing impairments install smoke alarms with strobe lights to alert them to a fire.
  • Be sure that the smoke alarm you buy carries the label of an independent testing lab. For a list of manufacturers that distribute smoke alarms for the hearing impaired, please call NFPAs Center for High-Risk Outreach at +1 617 984-7826.
  • Alarms that are hard-wired to the home's electrical system should be installed by a qualified electrician.
       Source: National Fire Protection Association

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