Smoke alarms are the residential fire safety success story of the past quarter century. Smoke alarm technology has been around since the 1960s. But the single-station, battery-powered smoke alarm we know today became available to consumers in the 1970s, and since then, the home fire death rate has been reduced by half. NFPA estimates that 94% of U.S. homes have at least one smoke alarm today, and most states have laws requiring them in residential dwellings.

Important: Working smoke alarms are essential in every household. It is necessary to practice home fire drills to be certain everyone is familiar with the smoke alarm signal, and to determine if there are any obstacles to a quick and safe evacuation (including the inability for some to awaken to the smoke alarm signal).

Facts & Figures

  • 19 of every 20 homes (95%) in the U.S. have at least one smoke alarm.
  • More than half of home fire deaths result from fires in the 5% of homes with no smoke alarms.
  • 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 one-quarter of the 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.
  • Why do smoke alarms fail? Most often because of missing, dead or disconnected batteries.

When you change your clocks, change the batteries in your alarms.

Here are a number of links on fire and safety equipment-

Smoke Alarms

Smoke Alarms for Hearing Impared

Sprinklers in Your Home

  Video from FEMA on types and installation of smoke alarms

If your CO alarm sounds

  • If it is a battery-powered intermittent alarm, check the battery.
  • If it is a steady alarm or you are unable to determine, evacuate the dwelling. Do not re-enter until the responding agency says it is ok.
  • Report the CO alarm warning by calling the appropriate phone number.
  • Call a qualified technician to inspect all equipment.

Carbon Monoxide Alarms