Smoke Alarms: Lifesaving, early warning devices

IN THE UNITED STATES, MORE NEARLY 2,500 PEOPLE DIE each year in fires, and nearly 14,000 people are injured. Properly installed and maintained smoke alarms provide early warning of a fire and allow occupants precious time to escape a burning building. Having a working smoke alarm more than doubles your chances of surviving a fire. Take action today to keep your family safe.

Did you know...

Smoke alarms that are more than 10 years old should be replaced. Aging smoke alarms are unreliable and often are the source of nuisance alarms. Borrowing" a smoke alarm battery can be deadly. Removing a smoke alarm battery for another use takes away its lifesaving benefits and puts your family at risk.

Fire drills aren't just for schools — practice escape at home, too. Develop an escape plan with two ways out of every room, then practice so everyone knows what to do when the smoke alarm sounds.

Escape Planning Grid (PDF)

Escape Planning Tips (PDF)

What types of smoke alarms are available?

There are many different brands of smoke alarms available on the market, but they fall under two basic types: ionization and photoelectric.

Ionization alarms sound quickly when a flaming, fast moving fire occurs. Photoelectric alarms are quicker at sensing smoldering, smoky fires.

It cannot be stated definitively that one is better than the other in every fire situation that could arise in a residence. Because both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms are better at detecting distinctly different, yet potentially fatal fires, and because no one can predict what type of fire might start in a home, the United States Fire Administration recommends that every residence and place where people sleep be equipped with:

  • Both ionization AND photoelectric smoke alarms, OR
  • dual sensor smoke alarms, which contain both ionization and photoelectric smoke sensors

In addition to the basic types of alarms, there are alarms made to meet the needs of people with hearing disabilities. These alarms may use strobe lights that flash and/or vibrate to assist in alerting those who are unable to hear standard smoke alarms when they sound.

FREE Smoke Alarm Program

 Get FREE smoke alarms installed by your firefighters.

Due to grant funding, East Pierce Fire & Rescue is able to offer free smoke alarms to its residents. Fire department personnel will install alarms equipped with a 10-year battery. Call 253-863-1800 to schedule an appointment.

To learn about smoke alarm types, placement and maintenance, click here.

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