Fire Prevention Tips for News Stories:
Smoke Alarms

This page may contain links to non-U.S. government websites. What this means to you »

About 3,400 Americans die each year in fires and about 17,500 are injured. You can stop the fire before it starts. Use this fact sheet to learn how to prevent a fire in your home and know what to do if you have a fire.

It is very important to have a working smoke alarm with a working battery in your home. If you have that, it greatly lowers your chances of dying in a fire.

Follow these 10 easy tips on smoke alarms:

  1. One of the best ways to protect yourself and your family is to have a working smoke alarm that can sound fast for both a fire that has flames, and a smoky fire that has fumes without flames. It is called a "Dual Sensor Smoke Alarm."
  2. Place a smoke alarm on the ceiling of every level of your home and both inside and outside bedrooms. Children and older people can sleep though the loud sound of a smoke alarm. Make sure your escape plan includes someone that can help children and others wake up immediately to escape from the home.
  3. If you keep your bedroom doors closed, place a smoke alarm on the ceiling of each bedroom.
  4. Check smoke alarms monthly by pressing the test button.
  5. Never take smoke alarm batteries out to put into other items like games or remote controls.
  6. Teach children what the smoke alarm sounds like and what to do when they hear the alarm sound.
  7. If there is a fire, leave the home right away by crawling low under the smoke and never go back inside.
  8. If smoke from cooking makes the alarm sound, press the "hush" button, if your alarm has one. You can also turn on the kitchen fan, open a window or wave a towel near the alarm until it stops making the sound. Never take the battery out of the alarm.
  9. Most alarms need a new battery at least once a year. Some smoke alarms have batteries that last for up to 10 years. If your smoke alarm is over 10 years old, replace it with a new alarm and a new battery.
  10. If you rent, talk to your landlord about placing a working smoke alarm in your home. You still need to buy a new battery at least once a year for the alarm.