In the United States, 15 of every 16 homes (94%) have at least one smoke alarm. One-half of home fire deaths occur in the 6% of homes with no smoke alarms.
Homes with smoke alarms (whether or not they are operational) typically have a death rate that is 40-50% less than the rate for homes without alarms.In three of every 10 reported fires in homes equipped with smoke alarms, the devices did not work. Households with non-working smoke alarms now outnumber those with no smoke alarms.Smoke alarms most often fail because of missing, dead or disconnected batteries.
Install, Test and Battery Replacement of Smoke Alarms
Install at least one smoke alarm on every floor of your home (including the basement) and outside each sleeping area.
Because smoke rises, alarms should be mounted high on walls or ceilings.
Smoke alarms should not be installed near a window, door or forced-air register where drafts could interfere with their operation.
Test smoke alarms at least once a month.
Install new batteries in all smoke alarms at least once a year, for example, on your birthday.
Replace all smoke alarm batteries immediately upon moving into a new home.
Keep batteries in smoke alarms; do not borrow them for other purposes.
Replace smoke alarms every 10 years.
- Draw a floor plan of your home, showing two ways out of each room, including windows.
- Practice the escape plan at least twice a year, making sure that everyone is involved - from kids to grandparents. If there are infants or family members with mobility limitations, make sure that someone is assigned to assist them.
- Agree on an outside meeting place where everyone can meet after they've escaped. Remember to get out first, then call for help. Never go back inside until the fire department gives the OK.
- Use a portable fire extinguisher when the fire is confined to a small area, such as a wastebasket, and is not growing; everyone has exited the building; the fire department has been called or is being called; and the room is not filled with smoke.
Fire Escape Plan
While smoke alarms alert people to fires, families still need to develop and practice home fire escape plans so that they can get out quickly.