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Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms provide an early warning of fire, giving you and your family more time to safely leave your home.

Did You Know?

  • Six out of ten residential fire deaths occur in homes without smoke alarms.
  • You can't smell smoke when you're sleeping. If anything, smoke will put you into a deeper sleep.
  • A smoke alarm is your first line of defense to get out alive.

How many and where to install?

The total number of smoke alarms and where they are installed depends on the home. Follow these guidelines for determining the number of smoke alarms and where to install them.

  • Place a smoke alarm:
    • In each bedroom
    • In the hallway
    • Within six feet of each door leading to a bedroom or sleeping area
    • On each level of your home
  • Mount alarms high on a wall or on the ceiling. Avoid dead air spaces.
    • Wall-mounted alarms should be installed 4 - 12 inches from the ceiling
    • Ceiling-mounted alarms should be installed 4 - 12 inches from the nearest wall
    • They should be at least 3 feet from windows or air ducts.
  • Smoke alarms are not recommended for kitchens, bathrooms, garages or workshops where cooking fumes, steam, or exhaust fumes could result in false alarms.
  • Do not install an alarm in an attic or other unheated spaces where humidity and temperature changes could affect the alarm's operation.

Maintenance and Batteries

  • Only a functioning smoke alarm can protect you and your family
  • Never disable an alarm by "borrowing" its battery for another use
  • Test your smoke alarms monthly
  • Change your batteries twice a year
    Daylight Saving Time is a good reminder - when you change your clocks, change your batteries
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions
  • Clean your smoke alarms using a compressed air or a vacuum
  • Never paint a smoke alarm
  • Replace smoke alarms every 10 years

Having trouble with your smoke alarms?

  • If you hear a chirping noise, usually every 60 seconds, the battery is dying. Change the battery immediately. Once the battery is dead, you have no protection.
    • If changing your batteries doesn't stop the "chirping" sound, it's time to replace your alarm
  • If your alarm regularly goes off due to normal cooking in the kitchen, do not remove the battery to stop the sound. Physically move and reinstall the smoke alarm in a location where the alarm will not continually go off while you are cooking.

What if I can't reach the smoke alarm to change the batteries?

Contact our Public Education Office at 843-682-5141 and we will get you help.

Free Smoke Alarm Program

You may qualify for a free smoke alarm(s) or battery replacement from our Fire Rescue Department if you live within town limits, own and occupy your home and are:

  • Elderly or disabled
  • On a fixed income
  • Handicapped

The smoke alarm(s) and batteries are installed by Fire Rescue personnel at no cost to the resident.

Learn More About our Smoke Alarm Program

Contact our Public Education Office at 843-682-5141 to learn more about our smoke alarm program.