Photo of a smoke alarm

Where can we buy a home smoke alarm?

Home smoke alarms are widely available in stores locally, including drug and discount stores, hardware and home improvement centers, department stores, and even some supermarkets.

How affordable are smoke alarms?

Smoke alarms today can be found in the price range of about $8 to $20. It is important to keep in mind that, by paying more for your smoke detector, you may not necessarily be increasing your level of protection.

Generally, the more expensive smoke alarms have additional features such as lights, combination aspects, or special long-lasting batteries, etc.

What should we look for when choosing a smoke alarm?

The seal of the California State Fire Marshal should appear on the packaging. The circle with the letters "U.L." (Underwriters laboratories listing) should appear either on the package or on the detector itself.

Where should smoke alarms be located?

Your first smoke detector should be mounted on the ceiling of your hallway outside bedrooms. If you have bedrooms that are separated from one another, you should have one smoke alarm for each bedroom area.

Two-story homes should have a smoke alarm downstairs in the living area and another at the top of the stairs.

Are there locations where smoke alarms should NOT be placed?

Smoke alarms should not be placed in kitchens, garages, bathrooms, on walls more than 12 inches from the ceiling, in corners, or too near heaters, vents, fireplaces, etc.

Why do fire departments regard smoke alarms as necessary?

In most residences, smoke alarms are now required by law. However, the most important reason is that they are proven life-savers. Smoke, not flames, is what kills about 85 percent of fire victims. Also, the early-warning advantage of smoke alarms helps to ensure there should be time to get everyone out safely, and gives firefighters the “early alarm” edge that helps to reduce the extent of property damage.

What is required for smoke alarm maintenance?

  • Test your smoke alarm(s) monthly and be sure to dust it lightly when you test it.
  • Change your smoke alarm batteries (whether they need it or not) when you change your clocks in the fall and spring and always when you first hear the battery-low "chirp."

Is there anything else we should know about home smoke alarms?

In homes with hard-wired (electric) smoke alarms, a battery-powered back-up smoke alarm is recommended.