Installing Smoke Alarms
Install smoke alarms inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.
On levels without bedrooms, install alarms in the living room (or den or family room) or near the stairway to the upper level, or in both locations.
Smoke alarms installed in the basement should be installed on the ceiling at the bottom of the stairs leading to the next level.
Smoke alarms should be installed at least 10 feet (3 meters) from a cooking appliance to minimize false alarms when cooking.
Mount smoke alarms high on walls or ceilings (remember, smoke rises). Wall-mounted alarms should be installed not more than 12 inches away from the ceiling (to the top of the alarm).
If you have ceilings that are pitched, install the alarm within 3 feet of the peak but not within the apex of the peak (four inches down from the peak).
Figure A.220.127.116.11 Smoke alarm installation*
Don’t install smoke alarms near windows, doors or ducts where drafts might interfere with their operation.
Never paint smoke alarms. Paint, stickers or other decorations could keep the alarms from working.
For the best protection, interconnect all smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds they all sound. Interconnection can be done using hard-wiring or wireless technology.
When interconnected smoke alarms are installed, it is important that all of the alarms are from the same manufacturer. If the alarms are not compatible, they may not sound.
There are two types of smoke alarms – ionization and photoelectric. An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires, and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, both types of alarms or combination ionization-photoelectric alarms, also known as dual sensor smoke alarms, are recommended.
Keep manufacturer’s instructions for reference.
Testing Smoke Alarms
Smoke alarms should be maintained according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.
Make sure everyone in the home understands the sound of the smoke alarm and knows how to respond.
Follow manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning to keep smoke alarms working well. The instructions are included in the package or can be found on the internet.
Smoke alarms with non-replaceable 10-year batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the alarm chirps, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away.
Smoke alarms with any other type of battery need a new battery at least once a year. If that alarm chirps, warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away.
When replacing a battery, follow manufacturer’s list of batteries on the back of the alarm or manufacturer’s instructions. Manufacturer’s instructions are specific to the batteries (brand and model) that must be used. The smoke alarm may not work properly if a different kind of battery is used.
This year’s Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 4-10) campaign, “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!™,” works to educate everyone about the simple but important actions they can take to keep themselves, and those around them, safe in the kitchen.*
In the event of a fire, remember that every second counts. Escape plans help you get out of your home quickly. Twice each year, practice your home fire escape plan. Some tips to consider when preparing this plan include:
- Find two ways to get out of each room in the event the primary way is blocked by fire or smoke.
- A secondary route might be a window onto a neighboring roof or a collapsible ladder for escape from upper story windows.
- Make sure that windows are not stuck, screens can be taken out quickly and that security bars can be properly opened.
- Practice feeling your way out of the house in the dark or with your eyes closed.
- Teach children not to hide from firefighters.
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Practice Your Fire Escape Plan at Least Twice a Year
Sleeping with Closed Bedroom Doors Can Increase the Survivability of a Fire in Your Home
National Burn Awareness Week (February 2-8), is a window of opportunity for burn care organizations, burn survivor support groups, public safety, and injury prevention professionals to increase awareness among the general population of the frequency and causes of burn injury in America, and the advances in and sources of burn care available today.*
The Old Dominion Firefighters Burn Foundation urges the Richmond-Metro community to take steps to prevent burn injuries in the home and workplace.
For more information on preventing burn injuries, browse our website and follow us on social media.
Facebook – @olddominionburn
Instagram – @odburnfoundationrva
Twitter – @odburnfndnRVA
*American Burn Association – 2020
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