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Smoke Detectors / Alarms
Smoke Detectors / Alarms

The following information is provided from the US Fire Administration website:  


Three out of five home fire deaths result from fires in properties without working smoke alarms.

More than one-third (38 percent) of home fire deaths result from fires in which no smoke alarms are present.

The risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms.

How Often Should I Replace My Smoke Detector/Alarm?
Age matters when it comes to your smoke alarm. Check the manufacture dates on your smoke alarm. look at the back of the alarm for the date of manufacture. Smoke alarm should be replaced 10 years from the date of manufacture. Put the alarm back on the ceiling or wall if it is less than 10 years old. If your smoke alarm does not sound when tested, it should be replaced.

What Types of Smoke Detectors/Alarms Can I Buy?

There are many brands of smoke alarms on the market, but they fall under two basic types: ionization and photoelectric.

Ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms detect different types of fires. Since no one can predict what type of fire might start in their home, the USFA recommends that every home and place where people sleep have:

  • Both ionization AND photoelectric smoke alarms; OR
  • Dual sensor smoke alarms, which contain both ionization and photoelectric smoke sensors.

Choose interconnected smoke alarms, so when one sounds, they all sound.

There are also alarms for people with hearing loss. These alarms may have strobe lights that flash and/or vibrate to alert those who are unable to hear standard smoke alarms when they sound.

Are Smoke Detectors/Alarms Expensive?
Smoke alarms are not expensive (between $6.00 and over $40.00) and are worth the lives they can help save.

Jacksonville Fire and Emergency Services has a smoke alarm program that offers free smoke alarms to citizens who are buying their home.

Where Should My Smoke Detector/Alarm be Located?
  •  A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Put smoke alarms inside and outside each bedroom and sleeping area. Put alarms on every level of the home. Smoke alarms should be interconnected. When one sounds, they all sound.
  • Place smoke alarms on the ceiling or high on the wall. Check the manufacturer's instructions for the best place for your alarm.
  • Only qualified electricians should install hardwired smoke alarms.

How Do I Take Care Of My Smoke Detector/Alarm?

Is your smoke alarm still working? 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. Here are some general maintenance tips –

Smoke alarm powered by a nine-volt battery

- Test the alarm monthly.
- Replace the batteries at least once every year.
- Replace the entire smoke alarm every ten years.

Smoke alarm powered by a 10-year lithium (or “long-life”) battery

- Test the alarm month.
- Since you cannot (and should not replace the lithium battery, replace the entire smoke alarm according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Smoke alarm that is hardwired into your home's electrical system

Test the alarm monthly
- Replace the backup battery at least once every year.
- Replace the entire smoke alarm every 10 years.

A good habit to develop is to change batteries in the spring when you turn your clock ahead and in the fall when you turn your clock back.

Jacksonville Fire and Emergency Services - Smoke Alarm Program
If you would like more information on our smoke alarm program, please contact the Prevention Division at (910) 455-8080.

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