• Chris Young

Smoke Alarm Safety

Updated: Feb 16

Smoke alarms save lives. Smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries. If there is a fire in your home, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out.

Smoke Alarms Facts


In 2012-2016, smoke alarms sounded in more than half (53%) of the home fires reported to U.S. fire departments.

Almost three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms (40%) or no working smoke alarms (17%).


No smoke alarms were present in two out of every five (40%) home fire deaths.

The death rate per 1,000 reported home fires was more than twice as high in homes that did not have any working smoke alarms compared to the rate in homes with working smoke alarms (12.3 deaths vs. 5.7 deaths per 1,000 fires).

In fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not operate, more than two of every five (43%) of the smoke alarms had missing or disconnected batteries.

Dead batteries caused one-quarter (25%) of the smoke alarm failures.


Smoke Alarm Safety- Everything You Need to Know


  • A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home.

  • Smoke alarms should be interconnected. When one sounds, they all sound.

  • Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.

  • Test your smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.

  • There are two kinds of alarms. Ionization smoke alarms are quicker to warn about flaming fires. Photoelectric alarms are quicker to warn about smoldering fires. It is best to use of both types of alarms in the home.

  • When a smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside.

  • Replace all smoke alarms in your home every 10 years.

  • Smoke alarms are not expensive and are worth the lives they can help save.

  • A  smoke alarm with a dead or missing battery is the same as having no smoke alarm at all. A smoke alarm only works when it is properly installed and regularly tested. Take care of your smoke alarms according to the manufacturer’s instructions.


For more information and resources on Smoke Alarms, check out our Smoke Alarm FAQs!

DOWNLOADABLE RESOURCES

Up In Smoke Handout

Hear the Beep Where You Sleep

Don’t Wait- Check the Date!

Resources for families Handout


Source for Content:  U.S. Fire Administration and National Fire Protection Association  and Maryland State Firemen's Association

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Randallstown, MD 21133

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