Roughly 70% of home fire deaths result from fires in homes with no working smoke alarms. Smoke alarms are one of the greatest technological advancements, but only when they’re working correctly.
WHO SHOULD HAVE SMOKE ALARMS?
Every home should have at least one smoke alarm. In the event of a fire, a smoke alarm can save lives. A properly installed and maintained smoke alarm will provide early warning signal to your household increasing the chance to escape.
WHERE DO I INSTALL MY SMOKE ALARMS?
Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement. Since most fatal fires begin late at night or early in the morning when the occupants are sleeping you should always install smoke alarms both inside and outside any sleeping areas.
Smoke alarms are not hard to install. In most cases, all you need is a screwdriver. Follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions. Since smoke and many deadly gases rise, install your smoke alarms on the ceiling, or 12” from doorway.
HOW DO I KEEP THEM WORKING?
There are simple steps to remember when caring for your smoke alarms.
- Replace the battery at least once a year in those that use 9-volt batteries. You can also purchase a new style of alarm that comes with a 10-year lithium battery that doesn’t require you to change the battery.
- Keep your smoke alarm clean. Dust and debris can affect how smoke alarms work. Regularly vacuum your alarm to keep it working right.
WHAT IF THE ALARM GOES OFF WHILE I AM COOKING?
The alarm is doing its job! Do not disable your smoke alarm. You may not remember to put the batteries back in it when you are finished cooking. Instead, clear the air by waving a towel near the alarm, leaving the batteries in place. If this happens frequently, you may want to consider moving the alarm to a new location.
WHEN DO I NEED TO REPLACE MY SMOKE ALARMS?
Smoke alarms should function properly for ten years. After ten years they should be replaced.
The “chirping” noise indicates the battery in the smoke alarm needs to be replaced.
WHAT IF I CAN’T AFFORD SMOKE ALARMS?
Renton Regional Fire Authority can provide and install smoke alarms in homes for senior citizens, disabled persons, and people who are living on a low income. If you meet these requirements and live in the City of Renton, please call the Public Education Desk at 425-276-9586 to make arrangements to have a smoke alarm installed.
WHAT IF I RENT?
Your landlord is required by law (RCW 48.48.140) to provide you with a working smoke alarm at the time you move into your home. Tenants are required to maintain the alarm in working order.