Dauphin Island Fire and Rescue
1020 Chaumont Ave - PO Box 1596
Dauphin Island, AL 36528
251-861-5523
difr@dauphinisland.net
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Smoke Alarm Safety

Smoke alarms can act as a warning to get out of a building when a fire occurs, but they are only effective when working properly. Every home and business should be equipped with smoke alarms that are installed correctly and tested regularly. If you are a member of a fire/EMS department or Fire Corps team, consider using Fire Corps to conduct smoke alarm tests and installations in homes. If you are a community member, make sure that your smoke alarms are properly installed, connected, and working.

The right way to install smoke alarms

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement, making sure there is an alarm outside every separate sleeping area. New homes are required to have a smoke alarm in every sleeping room and all smoke alarms must be interconnected.
  • Hard-wired smoke alarms operate on your household electrical current. They can be interconnected so that every alarm sounds regardless of the fire's location. This is an advantage in early warning, because it gives occupants extra time to escape if they are in one part of the home and a fire breaks out in another part. Alarms that are hard-wired should have battery backups in case of a power outage, and should be installed by a qualified electrician.
  • If you sleep with bedroom doors closed, have a qualified electrician install interconnected smoke alarms in each room so that when one alarm sounds, they all sound.
  • If you or someone in your home is hearing impaired, consider installing an alarm that combines flashing lights, vibration, and/or sound.
  • Mount smoke alarms high on walls or ceilings (remember, smoke rises). Ceiling-mounted alarms should be installed at least four inches away from the nearest wall; wall-mounted alarms should be installed four to 12 inches away from the ceiling.
  • If you have ceilings that are pitched, install the alarm near the ceiling's highest point.
  • Don't install smoke alarms near windows, doors, or ducts where drafts might interfere with their operation.
  • Never paint smoke alarms. Paint, stickers, or other decorations could keep the alarms from working.

A life-saving test: check your smoke alarms regularly

  • Test your smoke alarms once a month, following the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Replace the batteries in your smoke alarm once a year, or as soon as the alarm "chirps" warning that the battery is low. Hint: schedule battery replacements for the same day you change your clocks from daylight savings time to standard time in the fall.
  • Never "borrow" a battery from a smoke alarm. Smoke alarms can't warn you of fire if their batteries are missing or have been disconnected.
  • Don't disable smoke alarms even temporarily. If your smoke alarm is sounding "nuisance alarms," try relocating it farther from kitchens or bathrooms, where cooking fumes and steam can cause the alarm to sound.
  • Regularly vacuuming or dusting your smoke alarms can keep them working properly. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Smoke alarms don't last forever. Replace yours once every 10 years. If you can't remember how old the alarm is, then it's probably time for a new one.
  • Consider installing smoke alarms with "long-life" (10-year) batteries.
  • Plan regular fire drills to ensure that everyone knows exactly what to do when the smoke alarm sounds. Hold a drill at night to make sure that sleeping family members awaken at the sound of the alarm.
  • If you are building a new home or remodeling your existing home, consider installing an automatic home fire sprinkler system. Sprinklers and smoke alarms together cut your risk of dying in a home fire by 82 percent a savings of thousands of lives a year.
 

The mission of Dauphin Island Fire and Rescue is to identify and respond to the community and deliver an effective and efficient system of services which minimize risk of life, health, and property from fire, trauma, acute illness and hazardous conditions.

This site was last updated on 03/26/2008