Smoke Alarms

Why should I have a working smoke alarm?

A properly installed and maintained smoke alarm is the only thing in your home that can alert you and your family to a fire 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Whether you’re awake or asleep, a working smoke alarm is constantly on alert, scanning the air for fire and smoke.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, almost 2/3 of home fire deaths occurr in properties without working smoke alarms. A working smoke alarm significantly increases your chances of surviving a deadly home fire.

What types of smoke alarms are available?

There are many brands of smoke alarms available, but there are 2 basic types: 

  • Ionization 
  • Photoelectric

It cannot be stated definitively that one is better than the other in a fire situation that could arise in a residence. Because both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms are better at detecting different, yet potentially fatal fires, and because no one can predict what type of fire might start in a home, the USFA recommends that every residence and place where people sleep be equipped with:

  • Both ionization AND photoelectric smoke alarms, OR
  • Dual sensor smoke alarms, which contain both ionization and photoelectric smoke sensors

In addition to basic types of alarms, there are alarms made to meet the needs of people with hearing disabilities. These alarms may use strobe lights that flash and/or vibrate to alert those who can't hear standard smoke alarms.

State-by-State Residential Smoke Alarm Requirements

The USFA compiled state-by-state residential guidelines for smoke alarms. These guidelines include instructions on the installation and maintenance of smoke alarms. 

The tips help families protect themselves and the firefighters who protect their lives!