The majority of home fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms according to statistics from the National Fire Protection Association. When smoke alarms fail to operate it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected or dead. Smoke alarms that are hardwired into your home’s electric also have a battery that needs to be changed so your smoke alarms will continue to operate during a power outage. Change the batteries in your home’s smoke alarms every six months. Test your smoke alarms monthly and replace them if they fail to test regardless of their age. All smoke alarms need to be replaced every ten years even if they seem to be operating just fine. There should be a smoke alarm on every level of your home, including your basement. Smoke alarms should also be located inside of bedrooms and in hallways outside of bedrooms. Interconnected smoke alarms provide the best warning because when one activates/sounds they all sound throughout your home. There are also smoke alarms available that come with a ten year battery built into the unit from the manufacturer that eliminate the need to change the batteries for the lifetime of the unit. All smoke alarms should be maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

In addition to working smoke alarms plan and practice home fire escape drills with your family. Plan for two ways out of every room. Have a fire escape ladder for upper story rooms, available at most hardware and general merchandise stores. Plan ahead who will be responsible for assisting family members that are not able to escape on their own. Make sure everyone knows where your family meeting place is located outside. When the alarm sounds get outside and stay outside. Remember to crawl low below the smoke as you are escaping and once outside call 9-1-1 from a cell phone or a neighbor’s phone.

For more information on smoke alarms and fire escape planning please visit the National Fire Protection Association web site at or visit our web site at For assistance in checking or changing your smoke alarm batteries please call the Plainfield Fire Protection District at 815-436-5335.