Smoke Detectors

Importance of Smoke Detectors

Have you tested your smoke detector recently? Every day in America, smoke detectors save lives, by alerting someone to the presence of fire. But they can't save lives when they aren't working or aren't installed properly.

It only takes 2 seconds to do, but sadly, many people don't bother. In fact, more than half the smoke detectors installed aren't working, usually because the batteries have died or have been removed. It could mean your life, or the life of someone you love.


Install smoke detectors on every level of your home including the basement. One smoke detector should be placed outside every sleeping area in your home. Proper placement is on the ceiling; however, if you have to use the wall, install it a minimum of 4 inches and a maximum of 12 inches from the ceiling. Make sure the unit you purchase carries a UL or FM label. This will ensure the unit has been listed by an approved testing facility.


Smoke detectors need to be tested monthly to ensure they are working. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations, or use the test button.


Smoke detectors need to be cleaned by using the vacuum cleaner hose on your vacuum at least twice yearly. If you have a battery operated unit, change the battery annually. Pick a special date that will be easy to remember, such as the day you change your clock for daylight savings time, or your birthday.

In Case of an Emergency

Your smoke detector is there to warn you of smoke and fire while there's still time to get out. Every second counts. So be sure everyone in your household knows what to do. Be sure to:

  • Plan 2 ways out of every room.
  • Plan and practice your escape route before fire strikes.
  • Make sure you can open all doors and windows
  • Check now to see if all routes of escape are unobstructed and all doors and windows are easy to open.
  • Deadbolt locks need keys installed right by the door where everyone can reach them easily.