MFD Safety Tips: Smoke Alarms

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Smoke alarms keeping you up at night? Maricopa Fire Department has tips to help.

smoke alarmThe cooler weather is often a much-needed relief from the typical Arizona summer, but with the changing temperatures comes, a spike in Smoke Alarm Assistance calls for the Maricopa Fire Department. As the temperatures drop and residents start to open their windows for the first time in months or turn on their heaters, smoke alarms pickup particles of dust as smoke and can activate. The department is often called out to homes were residents have changed the batteries in the smoke alarms and yet they are still chirping or going off.

The Maricopa Fire Department wants to make sure that you are protected at home, and you smoke alarms are in proper working order.

If your alarm alerts or chips and there is no fire, take the following steps:

  1. Blow out the alarm to ensure there is no dust in the unit.
  2. Check the battery and replace if needed.
  3. If these first two steps do not silence the unit, replace it.

Here are some additional tips:

  • Smoke alarms should be maintained according to manufacturer's instructions.
  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.
  • Make sure everyone in the home understands the sound of the smoke alarm and knows how to respond.
  • Follow manufacturer's instructions for cleaning to keep smoke alarms working well. The instructions are included in the package or can be found on the internet.
  • Smoke alarms with non-replaceable 10-year batteries are designed to remain effective for up to ten years. If the alarm chirps, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away.
  • Smoke alarms with any other type of battery need a new battery at least once a year. If that alarm chirps, warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away.
  • When replacing a battery, follow manufacturer's list of batteries on the back of the alarm or manufacturer's instructions. Manufacturer's instructions are specific to the batteries (brand and model) that must be used. The smoke alarm may not work properly if a different kind of battery is used.
  • Install smoke alarms inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.
  • Smoke alarms should be installed at least 10 feet (3 meters) from a cooking appliance to minimize false alarms when cooking.
  • Don't install smoke alarms near windows, doors, or ducts where drafts might interfere with their operation.
  • Never paint smoke alarms. Paint, stickers, or other decorations could keep the alarms from working.
  • For the best protection, interconnect all smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds they all sound
  • Interconnection can be done using hard-wiring or wireless technology.
  • When interconnected smoke alarms are installed, it is important that all of the alarms are from the samemanufacturer. If the alarms are not compatible, they may not sound.

The department has found that it is common for smoke alarms to start to fail as soon as 5-7 years after installation (the manufacture date is labeled on the back of the alarm). If you have an alarm chirping, replaced the batteries and blown any dirt out of it, and it is still chirping you must replace the unit. It is recommended that you replace all the alarms in the house at once if possible.

If you have any questions, please call Fire Prevention at 520-568-3333.