Smoke Detectors

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A smoke alarm must be installed in every sleeping room and outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms. Additionally, a minimum of one smoke alarm must be installed on every level of the home, including the basement. Smoke alarms should be installed at least 10 feet from a cooking appliance to minimize false alarms while cooking. Refer to the installation diagrams for the proper number and location of your smoke alarms.

Interconnected smoke alarms offer the best protection and have been required in homes since at least 1982. There are three general types of smoke detectors – ionization, photoelectric, and combination ionization/photoelectric. Ionization smoke detectors are generally more responsive to fast burning raging fires, and a photoelectric smoke detector is generally more responsive to slow burning smoldering fires. Combination detectors utilize both features to detect a wider range of the various fire characteristics. For the best protection, the National Fire Protection Association recommends installing both types of detectors or combination ionization/photoelectric detectors. Combination detectors are also marketed as dual sensor smoke detectors.

Smoke alarms should be tested at least once a month. Batteries for your smoke alarm should be replaced annually and the smoke detector itself should be replaced every 10 years.


NFPA Video - Home Smoke Alarm Basics
Diagrams of Required Smoke Detector Locations

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