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Fire Alarm


Professionally monitored systems are most often found in commercial settings.


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A fire alarm is a detection system typically installed in commercial buildings or in large residential settings like apartment houses. Fire alarms in such places are frequently combined with detectors for other kinds of hazards, such as intrusions.

Smoke alarms, on the other hand, are most frequently found in residential homes such as condominiums, townhouses, single-family homes and some apartment rooms.

Smoke alarms save lives, but they can’t do the job effectively if they’re improperly placed, have dead batteries, or are filled with dust. Following is a list of do’s and don’ts that will help keep your family safe.


• Install and maintain alarms for both smoke and carbon monoxide, or purchase models capable of detecting both threats. Most alarms detect the presence of either smoke or carbon monoxide, but not both.

• Install alarms on every level of the home, particularly in or just outside sleeping areas.

• Mount detectors on the ceiling or on a wall near the ceiling, since smoke rises. Ceiling-mounted detectors work best if centered in the room. Mount alarms on the ceiling more than 4 inches from an adjacent wall, and locate wall-mounted detectors between 4 inches and 12 inches from the adjoining ceiling.

• Test alarms once a month, following manufacturer instructions. Most detectors have a simple test button.

• Replace batteries once a year, or whenever an alarm “chirps” at regular intervals. The chirp is a low-battery warning.

• Vacuum or dust alarms frequently. Dust will interfere with their ability to detect smoke. Simply wipe a vacuum cleaner brush attachment gently over the detector’s ventilation slots to suck dust out of the unit.

• Replace old smoke detectors. Alarms that are more than 10 years old begin to lose their detection ability.


• Disable a detector because of false alarms, or if you need to “borrow” the battery. Nuisance alarms usually mean poor placement, typically near cooking (kitchens) and steam (kitchens and bathrooms). Relocate the alarm and restore it to service, and buy new batteries for other uses.

• Install alarms where drafts may interfere with proper operation, such as near windows, doors, or ventilation ducts.

• Paint or decorate a smoke alarm – ever. Doing so can degrade a detector’s performance or prevent it from working altogether.


National Fire Protection Association



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Fire Alarm:  Created on June 4th, 2009.  Last Modified on November 9th, 2009


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