Most home fire deaths happen in the middle of the night between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. A smoke detector can save your life by waking you and giving you time to escape. When purchasing a smoke alarm, look for one that is accepted by an independent testing facility such as Underwriters Laboratories or Factory Mutual.
The best place for your smoke alarms:
- On every level of your home, including the basement and workshop.
- Outside every bedroom.
- On the ceiling or on the wall, 6 to 12 inches below the ceiling. Keep detectors away from air vents.
Check the alarm batteries once a month by pressing the test button with your finger. The batteries should be replaced once a year.
You should clean the alarm by following the manufacturer’s instructions. The grillwork on the detector should be vacuumed periodically to keep it dust-free.
Preventing nuisance alarms
To prevent false alarms, move the detector away from a kitchen or bathroom. You may also want to consider purchasing a smoke alarm, like a photoelectric, that’s less sensitive to common causes of false alarm. Some smoke alarms are also equipped with a silencing feature, so that nuisance alarms can be stopped quickly and easily.