Tips for Testing Your Smoke Detector

Smoke detectors are the first line of defense against deadly fire. Having a working smoke detector in your home reduces your risk of dying in a fire by nearly 50%. In a fire, every second is needed to get out safely. Early warning from a smoke detector can make the difference between surviving a fire and dying in one. Smoke Alarm Tips (PDF)


Check out these tips for installing your smoke detectors correctly below:

  • Install smoke detectors listed by a qualified testing laboratory on every level of your home, including the basement. Make sure there is a detector in or near every sleeping area.
  • Mount smoke detectors high on ceilings or walls. Remember that smoke rises therefore ceiling-mounted detectors should be installed at least four inches away from the nearest wall; wall-mounted detectors should be installed four to 12 inches away from the ceiling. If you have questions, contact your local fire department.
  • Don't install smoke detectors near windows, outside doors, or ducts where drafts might interfere wither their operation.
  • Don't paint your smoke detectors; paint or other decorations could effect their operation.

Keep Alarms Working Properly

Find important information and tips for keeping your smoke detectors working properly below:

  • Test your smoke detectors at least once a month by using the detectors' test button.
  • Replace the batteries in your smoke detectors regularly, or as soon as it chirps, warning that the battery is low (Reminder: "Change your clocks, change your batteries!").
  • Regularly vacuuming or dusting your smoke detectors and following manufacturer instructions can help keep them working properly.
  • Replace your smoke detectors every 10 years.
  • Never borrow a battery from a smoke detector.
  • Make sure that everyone in your home can hear and recognize the alarm sound your detector(s) makes and how to react immediately.