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Installing/Testing Smoke Alarms
Home Safety Council research shows that 97 percent of American homes have at least one smoke alarm, but one may not be enough. Do you have enough smoke alarms in your home? Are they correctly installed? Early warning is essential for every fire escape plan. To ensure your family will be effectively alerted to any fire dangers, use the following guidelines when installing and testing smoke alarms:
  • Only purchase smoke alarms that are listed by UL and carry the UL mark on packaging.
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement. Make sure there is an alarm near every sleeping area.
  • The Home Safety Council recommends installing additional smoke alarms inside all bedrooms. For the best detection and notification protection, install both ionization and photoelectric-type smoke alarms. Some models provide dual coverage. The type will be printed on the box or package.
  • Smoke rises, so smoke alarms should be mounted high on walls or ceilings. Ceiling mounted alarms should be installed at least four inches away from the nearest wall; wall-mounted alarms should be installed four to 12 inches away from the ceiling.
  • Choose an installation location that is well away from the path of steam from bathrooms and cooking vapors from the kitchen, which can result in false, or nuisance alarms.
  • Don't install smoke alarms near windows, doors, or ducts where drafts might interfere with their operation.
  • Test each smoke alarm every month. Push the test button until you hear a loud noise.
  • Put new batteries in your smoke alarms at least one time each year.
  • The Home Safety Council recommends using interconnected smoke alarms. These are available with wireless connection and hard-wired with battery back-up. These alarms are tied in together so that if one alarm operates, they all signal together. Some models provide dual coverage (both ionization and photoelectric sensing technology).
  •  If your smoke alarms are more than 10 years old, get new smoke alarms.

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