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Smoke Alarms: Life-Saving Tips

Installing, maintaining, and using your smoke alarms correctly is essential to keeping your family safe. The U.S. Fire Administration gives the following smoke alarm safety tips:


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  • Place a smoke alarm on every level of your home and outside bedrooms. If you keep your bedroom doors closed, place a smoke alarm in each bedroom.
  • Check smoke alarms monthly by pushing the test button. If you cannot reach the button easily, use a broom handle.
  • Change the batteries in your alarms at least once a year – perhaps when you change your clocks for Daylight Savings Time.
  • Teach children what the smoke alarm sounds like and what to do – leave the building immediately by crawling low under the smoke – when they hear it sound.
Did you know?
  • Eighty-two percent of all fire deaths occur in the home.
  • Having a working smoke alarm reduces one’s chances of dying in a fire by nearly half.
  • Nearly one third of the residential fires and two-fifths of residential fatalities occur in homes with no smoke alarms.

Following these simple fire safety tips can increase survival rates dramatically. Please share them with others because knowledge is the best fire protection.


  • If cooking smoke sets off the alarm, do not disable it. Turn on the range fan, open a window, or wave a towel near the alarm.
  • Do not remove the batteries to put in other appliances such as personal stereos or games.
  • Smoke alarms wear out over time. Replace yours if it is 10 years old or more.
  • Keep smoke alarms clean. Dust and debris can interfere with their operation. Vacuum over and around your smoke alarm regularly.
  • Consider installing a 10-year lithium battery-powered smoke alarm, which is sealed so it cannot be tampered with or opened.
  • Hard-wired smoke alarms with battery back-ups need to be tested monthly and batteries replaced yearly.


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HHI is committed to accuracy of content and correcting information that is incomplete or inaccurate. With our broad scope of coverage of healthful indoor environments, and desire to rapidly publish info to benefit the community, mistakes are inevitable. HHI has established an error correction policy to welcome corrections or enhancements to our information. Please help us improve the quality of our content by contacting with corrections or suggestions for improvement. Each contact will receive a respectful reply.

The Healthy House Institute (HHI), a for-profit educational LLC, provides the information on as a free service to the public. The intent is to disseminate accurate, verified and science-based information on creating healthy home environments.


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Smoke Alarms: Life-Saving Tips:  Created on July 25th, 2011.  Last Modified on June 24th, 2014


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About U.S. Fire Administration (USFA)

As an entity of the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the mission of the USFA is to provide national leadership to foster a solid foundation for our fire and emergency services in prevention, preparedness, and response.



Information provided by The Healthy House Institute is designed to support, not to replace the relationship between patient/physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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