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Get a smoke detector

Updated December 23, 2009

People often ask how they can minimize the risk of fire deaths in their home. The easy and very simple answer to this question is to obtain a smoke detector. If you have a properly functioning smoke detector in your home or apartment, your chances of dying in a fire may be reduced by 50 percent. In almost 40 percent of all reported fires, smoke detectors sounded and provided the first warning of a fire.

Follow these very simple guidelines pertaining to smoke detectors:

  • Smoke detectors should be installed on every level of the home.
  • If you live in an apartment, it is the obligation of the landlord to have smoke detectors installed in your unit.
  • Smoke detectors should be installed in every bedroom or area designated as sleeping areas, and also in hallways.
  • Smoke detector batteries should be changed twice a year.
  • When purchasing a smoke detector, make sure it has the label of an independent testing lab certified by a nationally recognized quality control laboratory and the State Fire Marshal's Office seal.
  • Smoke detectors are usually made with a battery test button. This procedure to check your battery can be done during your monthly drills.
  • If a chirping sound is heard, this is an indication that there is a low battery. Check and service the detector immediately.
  • The test button may also be used to conduct a fire drill with your family, which should be done at least once a year.
  • Never paint over a smoke detector.
  • Installation varies depending on the maker. It is recommended that you follow the manufacturer's installation instructions.

Installing smoke detectors in your home costs very little and takes only a few minutes to install. When you consider that smoke detectors could save your life, your loved ones, and your home, installing smoke detectors is certainly one of the simplest and smartest investments you'll ever make!

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