Fire Safety Begins at Home

by Redwood County Farmers Mutual

Smoke Detector Placement: Where to Place Smoke Alarms in Your Home

Smoke detectors are one of the easiest, least expensive and most important ways to protect your family from the threat of a house fire.

First Things First: Read your manual. All smoke detectors work differently, and you really need to understand how your model works. Make sure you buy fresh batteries (check expiration) for your smoke alarms. Once they are installed, hit the tester button. Depending on the alarm, you will hear short beeps, long beeps, or prolonged beeps to let you know they are working.

How to Install: Ideal placement for smoke detectors is at bed level (specifically at the level of your nose and mouth when you are in bed). But in practice, many families cannot install due to curious hands, wagging tails etc. If that is the case, install your smoke detectors on the ceiling or high on the wall, within arm’s reach and at least 2 inches from where the wall and ceiling meet. Do not place them near air-conditioning or heating ducts, since this could interrupt the flow of smoke needed to activate the alarm.

Where to Place:  The placement depends on the layout and size of your home. At the very least, you should install one detector on each floor, one near the kitchen (but not over the stove) and one in each sleeping area. That is the bare minimum. Err on the safe side and place an alarm in each bedroom, in the hallway outside each bedroom, one adjacent to the kitchen, and other strategic areas of your home. Your lifestyle should also be taken into account. For example, if you enjoy a roaring fire in the winter, place a smoke detector in the room that the fire place is located.

Test your Smoke Detectors: You should do regular testing and seasonal battery refreshes. You should test about once a month, typically in conjunction with another sporadic chore, like window washing. You should also swap out old batteries for new ones at least once a year, if not twice a year. A good time is whenever you are turning clocks back/forward for Daylight Savings Time.

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