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
Three out of five home fire deaths result from fires in properties without working smoke alarms
More than one-third (38 percent) of home fire deaths result from fires in which no smoke alarms are present.
The risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.