Why should my
home have smoke alarms?
event of a fire, properly installed and maintained smoke alarms
could save your own life and those of your loved ones. They
are the single most important means of preventing fire fatalities in
homes by providing an early warning signal - so you and your family
can escape to safety. Smoke alarms are one of the best safety
features you can have in your home.
What type of
smoke detectors should I have?
are two basic types of smoke detectors:
1. Ionization Detectors - Ionization detectors contain
radioactive material that ionizes the air, making an electrical
path. When smoke enters, the smoke molecules attach themselves
to the ions. The change in electric current flow triggers the
alarm. The radioactive material is called americium. It
is a radioactive metallic element produced by bombardment of
plutonium with high-energy neutrons. The amount is very small
and not harmful.
detectors - these types of detectors contain a light
source (usually a bulb) and a photocell, which is activated by
light. Light from the bulb reflects off the smoke particles
and is directed towards the photocell. The photocell then is
activated to trigger the alarm.
The Maumee Fire
Division recommends having both types or a combination detector with
a battery back-up. Be sure to check for a testing laboratory
label on the detector.
Where do I put
smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the
basement. Many fatal fires begin late at night or in the
early morning. For extra safety, install smoke alarms
both inside and outside sleeping areas.
smoke alarms should be installed on the ceiling or the wall
according to the manufacturer's instructions. Since
smoke and many deadly gases rise, installing your smoke alarms
at the proper level will provide you with the earliest warning
Can I get a
free smoke detector?
Fire Division does have free smoke detectors available to low-income
residents. Just call the Fire Prevention Bureau at
419-897-7051 for information.
alarms difficult to install?
No. In most
cases all you will need is a screwdriver. Many brands are
self-adhesive and will automatically stick to the wall or ceiling
where they are placed. However, be sure to follow the
directions from the manufacturer because each brand is
different. If you are unable or not sure what to do, contact
your local fire department for information.
City of Maumee
residents can contact their fire department to install and check
home smoke alarms for FREE. Contact the Maumee Fire Prevention
Bureau during business hours, Monday through Friday, at
419-897-7051, to make arrangements.
How do I
keep my smoke alarm working?
alarms are easy to maintain:
the batteries at least once a year. A good way to
remember when to change the battery in your smoke alarm is
when you change your clocks during Daylight Savings Time in
the fall and spring.
alarms now on the market come with a ten-year battery.
This type of smoke alarm is designed to be replaced as a whole
unit, thus avoiding the need for battery replacement. If
your smoke alarm starts making a "chirping" noise,
replace the batteries and retest it.
your smoke alarms at least once a month. Pushing the
test button on the front of the smoke alarm for a few seconds
easily does this. Try the end of a broom handle when you
cannot reach the button. Keep them clean from dust and
debris. By vacuuming over and around your smoke alarms
regularly will assure their proper operation.
if the alarm goes off while I'm cooking?
smoke alarm is doing its job. Do not disable your smoke alarm
if it alarms due to cooking or other non-fire causes. You may
not remember to put the battery back in the smoke alarm after
cooking. Instead, clear the air by waving a towel near the
alarm, leaving the battery in place. The smoke alarm may have
to be moved to a new location. Call the fire department for
assistance if you are not sure what to do.
long will my smoke alarm last?
eight-to-ten years after the manufacturer date (usually found on the
back of the smoke alarm or inside near the battery or you can write
the purchase date on the unit with a marker). Like most
electrical devices, smoke alarms wear out.
smoke alarms are considered to be "hard wired." This
means they are connected to the household electrical system and may
or may not have battery backup. Electric type smoke alarms
should be tested at least once a month. Notify your Home
Security Monitoring Service if your electric smoke alarm is
connected to your home security system before testing. It is
important to test every smoke alarm monthly and always use fresh
batteries when replacing the old ones.
your smoke alarm once a month.
your smoke alarm frequently.
the smoke alarm battery when you change your clocks.
at least 2 ways out and practice your escape plan frequently -
be sure to have a family meeting place outside your home -
call Emergency 9-1-1 from a neighbor's telephone.
who need assistance with installation, battery changes, or
inspection of a smoke detector may call the Fire Prevention Bureau
Links of Interest:
States Fire Administration (USFA): www.usfa.fema.gov
Kids Page: www.usfa.fema.gov/kids/
Emergency Management Agency: www.fema.gov
Properties - Did you know??
must install smoke detectors in multiple-dwelling apartment
buildings? But it is your responsibility to maintain them!
you disable a smoke detector or fire alarm system in the house or an
apartment that you rent, you are in violation of the law. You
could be subject to fines and penalties. You may also be
violating the lease or rental agreement with your landlord.