Smoke Alarms and The Smoke Alarm Program
Most fire deaths occur in homes without properly placed or maintained smoke alarms. If you have a fire, the smoke will act like an anesthetic and will put you in a deeper sleep. Therefore, you must protect yourself and your family by installing and maintaining smoke alarms in your home. A properly placed and working smoke alarm will wake you in time to escape.
- One smoke alarm outside each sleeping area
- One smoke alarm on each level of your home
- An additional smoke alarm in each bedroom
Proper placement of the smoke alarm is important. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions. The basic guidelines are as follows:
- Mount on the ceiling or wall. If on the ceiling, make sure it is at least 4" from the wall and if on the wall, it should be mounted between 4"-12" down from the ceiling (the corner between wall and ceiling is a dead air space).
- Keep smoke alarms away from air vents and ceiling fans.
- If alarm is located near a kitchen or shower area, the alarm may activate. If so, relocate the alarm closer to a bedroom area.
- Battery operated smoke alarms should be checked weekly by pushing the test button. Hard-wired alarms should be checked at least monthly.
- Clean the alarm periodically by removing the cover and dusting or vacuuming the alarm.
- Change the battery when you change your clock in the spring and fall.
- A periodic "beep" or "chirp" means the battery is low. Replace the battery immediately and don't remove or disconnect the battery before you have one to replace it.
The Smoke Alarm Program
The Tallahassee Fire Department Smoke Alarm Program began in the early 1980's with a community block grant. This program was designed to provide senior citizens and low-income citizens with a smoke alarm for their home. Senior citizens have an increased risk of dying in fires. During 2003-2007, 28% of the people fatally injured in home fires were 65 or older. Over the years, the department has installed many smoke alarms throughout Tallahassee and Leon County.
Smoke alarms can provide the early warning necessary to escape a deadly fire. To be effective, smoke alarms must be installed in the right location and they must be maintained. Some alarms use a 9-volt battery which should be replaced whenever you change your clock in the fall and in the spring. A "chirping" or "beeping" sound indicates the battery is weak and needs to be replaced. Do not remove the battery until you have one to replace it with. Newer smoke alarms on the market have a 10-year sealed, long-life lithium battery.
In addition to commercial business and HRS compliance inspections, we perform home fire safety surveys upon request of owner. Call the Prevention Division at 891-6600.