Smoke alarm outreach materials

Help increase awareness in your community about the life-saving benefits of smoke alarms. Share these free materials to teach your community about the importance of fire safety and working home smoke alarms.

Statistics to share

Source: National Fire Protection Association

Digital media library

Here you’ll find social media content, pictographs, stock photos, videos and b-roll to increase awareness about the importance of installing and maintaining smoke alarms.

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replace your smoke alarms every 10 years

Infographics

Share these infographics with your community to help promote the importance of smoke alarms.

check the date smoke alarm infographic

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Customize the versions below with your logo.

English PDF 406 KB Spanish PDF 418 KB

hear the beep smoke alarm infographic

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Customize the versions below with your logo.

English PDF 3 MB Spanish PDF 4 MB

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? show answer + hide answer -
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.
Choose interconnected smoke alarms, so when one sounds, they all sound.
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.
Are smoke alarms expensive? show answer + hide answer -
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.
What powers a smoke alarm? show answer + hide answer -
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.
Where do I put smoke alarms in my home? show answer + hide answer -
  • A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Put smoke alarms inside and outside each bedroom and sleeping area. Put alarms on every level of the home. Smoke alarms should be interconnected. When one sounds, they all sound.
  • 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? show answer + hide answer -
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? show answer + hide answer -
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.

Outreach materials from the U.S. Fire Administration

Handouts

See also: Home smoke alarm handouts for older adults

up in smoke smoke alarm flyer
“Up in Smoke” smoke alarm flyer
English PDF 678 KB | Spanish PDF 678 KB
up in smoke - smoke alarm poster
“Up in Smoke” smoke alarm poster
English PDF 2.2 MB | English PDF Press 2.3 MB | Spanish PDF Press 2.2 MB| Spanish PDF Press 2.3 MB

Fire Prevention and Public Education Exchange

The Exchange is a collection of national, state and local fire prevention and life safety practices and public education materials you can share with your community. The materials can inspire new ideas and offer fire/life safety advocates immediate access to proven, effective tools. Visit the Exchange

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.

American Red Cross
The Red Cross has set a goal to reduce fire-related deaths and injuries in the U.S. by 25 percent by 2020. Volunteer with your local chapter’s Home Fire Campaign to install home smoke alarms and educate your community about fire safety.
Each year, the American Red Cross responds to nearly 66,000 home fires — the biggest disaster threat to American families.

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.

More information on home smoke alarms

Recommended free webinar (previously recorded)

Focused Fire Prevention: Forecasting Risks in Local Communities Presenter: Gary West, Tennessee State Fire Marshal

Tennessee’s fire prevention efforts on reducing fire deaths and property loss are gaining national attention, particularly the “Get Alarmed Tennessee” smoke alarm program with 147 documented saves. This presentation focuses on:

  • Fire prevention through public education, code enforcement and fire protection enhancements.
  • Identification and prioritization of risks defined as Community Risk Reduction.
  • Application of resources to minimize the probability of occurrence and impact of unfortunate events.