Smoke alarm outreach materials

Help increase awareness in your community about the life-saving benefits of smoke alarms. These free materials are yours to use when educating residents about the importance of fire safety and working home smoke alarms.

Statistics to share

Source: National Fire Protection Association

Outreach materials from the U.S. Fire Administration

Community outreach guide and presentation

Use these materials to help spread the word about working smoke alarms and other fire risks in your community. Our community outreach guide shares a few ideas to get you get started, offering suggestions for engaging people in the community. The smoke alarm presentation will help you explain the fire problem in your community, the importance of working smoke alarms, and how community members can play a role in preventing fires before they happen.

Answers to common questions about smoke alarms

See below for answers to common questions that community residents ask us about home smoke alarms.

What types of smoke 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.
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.
What powers a smoke alarm?
Smoke alarms are powered by battery or by your home's electrical system. If the smoke alarm is powered by battery, it runs on either a disposable nine-volt battery or a non-replaceable 10-year lithium (“long-life”) battery. Alarms that get power from your home's electrical system, or “hardwired,” usually have a back-up battery that will need to be replaced once a year.
Are smoke alarms expensive?
Smoke alarms are not expensive and are worth the lives they can help save.
Alarm type and cost
  • Ionization and photoelectric: $6 and up
  • Dual sensor: $24 and up
  • Smoke alarms with a microprocessor (faster to alert, fewer false alarms): $30 and up
  • Radio frequency/wireless (communicate from one to the next without wires: $40 and up)
Your city, county or state may require a specific type of alarm. Please check with your local fire marshal for information on what type of alarm you need.
Some fire departments offer reduced-price, or even free, smoke alarms. Contact your local fire department's non-emergency phone number for more information.
Where do I put smoke alarms in my home?
  • Put smoke alarms on every floor of your home. Also, in every bedroom and in the hallway outside of each sleeping area.
  • Choose smoke alarms that communicate with each other, so that if one alarm sounds they all will.
  • 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.
Some fire departments will install battery-operated smoke alarms in your home at no cost. Contact your local fire department’s non-emergency phone number for more information.
How do I take care of my smoke 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. Below 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 10 years.
Smoke alarm powered by a 10-year lithium (or “long-life”) battery
  • Test the alarm monthly.
  • 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.
What do I do if my smoke alarm sounds while I'm cooking?
Never take the battery out of your smoke alarm while cooking! If a smoke alarm sounds while you're cooking or taking a shower with lots of steam, do not remove the battery. You should:
  • Open a window or door and press the “hush” button.
  • Wave a towel at the alarm to clear the air.
  • Move the entire alarm several feet away from the kitchen or bathroom.
Disabling a smoke alarm or removing the battery can be a deadly mistake.

Public service announcements

Encourage community members to install and maintain home smoke alarms with these print, radio and video public service announcements created under our Fire Is Everyone’s Fight initiative.

Stock photography and b-roll

Use our free high-resolution photos and high-definition b-roll footage to customize your materials and help spread the word in your community about working smoke alarms.

smoke alarm outreach photo
smoke alarm outreach photo
smoke alarm outreach photo
smoke alarm outreach photo

Social media messages

Copy and paste these messages to your social media accounts and ask your followers to share.

Twitter

Test smoke alarms monthly & replace alkaline batteries at least once each year http://www.usfa.fema.gov
It's a fact: if your smoke alarm was installed more than 10 years ago it needs to be replaced! http://www.usfa.fema.gov

Facebook

Did you know that most home fire deaths happen when people are asleep (between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.)? Don’t let this happen to you. Keep your family safe by installing smoke alarms and testing them monthly to make sure they work.

Handouts

Smoke alarm flyer
Smoke alarm flyer
PDF 2.6 MB
Two-sided flyer with smoke alarm messages.
Smoke alarm flyer – customize PDF 3 MB
Two-sided flyer with smoke alarm messages. Customize with local information.
Smoke alarm information card
Smoke alarm information card PDF 2 MB
Two-sided cards with smoke alarm messages.

Fire Prevention and Public Education Exchange

The Exchange serves as a centralized location for national, state and local fire prevention and life safety practices and public education materials that organizations may wish to share with other communities.

Outreach materials from other organizations

The U.S. Fire Administration recommends the following organizations as trusted and reliable sources for free outreach materials you can use to help increase awareness about fires in your community.

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
The “Keeping Your Community Safe and Sound” toolkit contains handouts, talking points, outreach ideas, public service announcements, and sample news releases and op-eds to conduct a smoke alarm awareness campaign in your community.
The National Fire Protection Association helps to reduce fire loss through consensus codes and standards, research, training and education.

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Safety alerts, guides, posters, brochures, handbooks and other materials which you can use to help spread smoke alarm information in your community.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission is a U.S. federal agency that protects the public from injury or death associated with the use of consumer products.

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More information on home smoke alarms