In the event of a fire, a smoke alarm can save your life and those of your loved ones. They are the single most important means of preventing house and apartment fire fatalities by providing an early warning signal, so you and your family can escape. Smoke alarms are one of the best safety features you can buy and install to protect yourself, your family, and your home.
Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement. Many fatal fires begin late at night or in the early morning. For extra safety, install smoke alarms both inside and outside the sleeping area.
Smoke alarms should be installed on the ceiling at least 4 inches from the nearest wall or 6-8 inches below the ceiling on side walls. On vaulted ceilings, be sure to mount the unit at the highest point possible. Since smoke and many deadly gases rise, installing your smoke alarms at the proper level will provide you with the earliest warning possible. Always follow the manufacturer's installation instructions.
Don't install smoke alarms near windows, outside doors, or ducts where drafts might interfere with their operation. Also, don't paint (or otherwise obstruct) smoke alarms; paint or other decorations could keep them from working when you most need them.
Additional Facts & Figures
- Fifteen of every 16 homes (94%) in the U.S. have at least one smoke alarm.
- Homes with smoke alarms (whether or not they are operational) typically have a death rate that is 40-50% less than the rate for homes without alarms.
- In three of every 10 reported fires in homes equipped with smoke alarms, the devices did not work. Households with non-working smoke alarms now outnumber those with no smoke alarms.
- One-half of home fire deaths occur in the 6% of homes with no smoke alarms.
- Smoke alarms most often fail because of missing, dead, or disconnected batteries.