Smoke Alarms can Save Your Life

fire fighter

Each year in the United States almost 3,000 people are killed in home fires. Working smoke alarms increase your chances of surviving a fire by 50%. Smoke alarms are provided to residents based on economic need and/or installed based on a physical need.

What do I do?

  • Purchase, install and maintain smoke alarms in your home.
  • Develop and practice a home escape plan with your family.

How Many and Where?

  • For minimum protection, install smoke alarms in each bedroom, outside each sleeping area, such as the hallway, and on every level of your home.
  • For maximum protection, install additional smoke alarms in each living area of your home.

Nuisance Alarms

If an alarm regularly responds to cooking smoke or shower steam, consider the following:

  • Replace the alarm with one that has the silence button feature.
  • Move the alarm further away to give cooking smoke or steam a chance to dissipate before reaching the unit.
  • If ceiling mounted, move unit to a wall.
  • If the unit is the ionization type, replace it with a photoelectric detector. This type of alarm is less sensitive to smaller particles and thus less affected by cooking smoke or small amounts of steam. Packaging and/or owner’s manual will indicate type of alarm.


  • Mount smoke alarms in the middle of the ceiling, if possible.
  • For wall-mounted units, place them at least 3′ (1 m) from any corner and 4-6″ (10-15cm) from the ceiling.
  • Do not install smoke alarms near heating or cooling ducts.
  • In mobile home units, install smoke alarms on inside walls.


  • Test smoke alarms every month. For hard to reach units, use a broom handle or stick to press the test button.
  • Replace batteries once a year. Use daylight savings time as your reminder. “Change your clocks… change your batteries.”
  • If the low-battery signal begins to chirp, replace battery immediately.
  • Vacuum the outside covers periodically to remove dust, dirt particles and insects.

Adaptive Smoke Alarms

For more information about adaptive smoke alarms for those with special needs, including talking, strobe (up to 177 candela), vibrating and amplified (up to 90 dB) smoke alarm products, please visit one of the following sites:

First Alert

Be Safe…Replace!

Smoke alarms monitor the air 24 hours a day, every day. After 10 years, it’s been on the job for over 87,000 hours.For best protection, replace your smoke alarm units every 10 years.

Failure Predictions:

  • First year: 2 – 3%
  • Second to 10th year: 16 – 30%
  • More than 10 years old: 30 – 50%

Do you remember when you installed your smoke alarms or how old they were when you moved in?

If you are not sure, it is best to just replace them!


Contact Andy

    *Since 2007 in Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View and Sunnyvale