Smoke Alarms

Working SMOKE ALARMS save lives!

Historically, Minnesotans have the greatest risk of fire death and injury in their own homes. In 2017, 84% of fire deaths and 93% of civilian injuries occurred in residential settings. Where fire death has occurred, 23% of the residences did not have alarms, or had alarms that did not work. These tragedies are preventable with simple steps! Have working smoke alarms and Carbon Monoxide Alarms to save the lives of you and your family!

Smoke Alarm Facts:

  • Smoke Alarms must be replaced when they are 10 years old, or if alarm fails when tested.  Like all devices with electronic components, smoke alarms have a limited service life.
  • Change the Batteries in smoke alarms at least once a year. 
  • Consider alarms with 10 year sealed batteries. Interconnected, hard-wired alarms must also have a battery for backup.
  • TEST the alarm monthly, by pushing the test button. This is the best means of making sure the alarm will work.  Replace alarms that fail. This is a great time to practice your household escape plan and meeting place.

Testing the smoke alarm by pushing the button

  • Smoke Alarm BEEP-BEEP- BEEP is a call to action. When the alarm sounds, GET OUT AND STAY OUT!

Smoke Alarm Placement:    

  • Smoke Alarms are required in all sleeping rooms, outside of sleeping rooms, and on every level of the home. This Building and Fire Code has been in effect since the 1980's.
  • Smoke alarms in the newest homes are inter-connected via electricity, plus a battery backup. Single station battery operated smoke alarms may be installed in older homes.
  • Install smoke alarms at the ceiling, or on a wall no more than 12” from the ceiling. Where the ceiling is peaked, install alarms between 4” and 36” below the peak. Smoke from fire rises up and will set off the alarm. 

Smoke Alarm Diagram

  • Campers and Cabins need smoke alarms too! 

When purchasing alarms, choose a brand that meets performance standards of an independent testing organization, such as UL. Use quality batteries. Follow the manufacturer instructions. 

Watch this YouTube video from the NFPA.

Sources: NFPA. Minnesota State Fire Marshal Minnesota.