Because more people die from the poisonous smoke and gases from a fire than die from flames, the Elk Grove Village Fire Department recommends that you have smoke alarms in your home or apartment to provide early warning in the event of a fire. Working smoke alarms double your chances of survival and provide inexpensive protection for you and your family. Since most fatal home fires happen at night when you are asleep and are least able to respond quickly, early warning of a fire is critical.
To ensure your family will be effectively alerted to any fire dangers, follow these important safety measures regarding smoke detectors:
• Purchase only smoke alarms that are UL listed and carry the UL mark on packaging.
• Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement. Make sure there is an alarm within 15 feet of every sleeping area. It is recommended to install additional smoke alarms inside all bedrooms.
• Smoke alarms should be mounted high on walls or ceilings. Ceiling mounted alarms should be installed at least four inches away from the nearest wall; wall-mounted alarms should be installed four to 12 inches away from the ceiling.
• Choose an installation location that is well away from the path of steam from bathrooms and cooking vapors from the kitchen, which can result in false or nuisance alarms. Smoke alarms should be installed away from windows, doors, or ducts where drafts might interfere with their operation.
• Test smoke detectors at least once every month. Nearly all smoke detectors have a test button, simply push the test button and the alarm will sound.
• It’s recommended to replace smoke detector batteries at least twice per year. The Elk Grove Village Fire Department encourages residents to replace batteries the same time clocks are changed. Change your clock, change your batteries. Never disconnect or remove smoke alarm batteries for other uses.
• Clean smoke detectors at least once a year. Dust and other particles in the air can build up over time and decrease the sensitivity of a smoke detector. The best way to clean a smoke detector is with a vacuum hose.
• Smoke detectors do wear out over time and the entire smoke detector should be replaced at least once every ten years.
• Hard-wired smoke detectors should be tested, cleaned, and replaced just as often as non-wired smoke detectors.
• It is recommended to interconnect smoke detectors so that a fire detected by any smoke alarm will sound an alarm at every location where a smoke detector is installed.
• Develop and practice an escape plan so that everyone in the home knows what to do if the smoke detector sounds.
If you have questions about smoke alarm installation or placement, please call the Elk Grove Village Public Education Division at 847-734-8027.