According to the National Fire Protection Association, two out of
three home fire deaths are attributed to blazes in homes without
smoke alarms or with detectors that aren't working. When smoke
alarms fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are missing,
disconnected or dead.
"Many fire fatalities are preventable by a
simple, inexpensive smoke alarm," said Illinois State Fire Marshal
Larry Matkaitis. "State law requires that all residential homes and
buildings have working smoke alarms within 15 feet outside every
sleeping room and at least one on each floor, which is the minimum
required by law, although local building codes may call for more."
The Office of the State Fire Marshal offers the following
lifesaving advice and information when using or purchasing smoke
alarms for your home:
Smoke alarms serve
as one important part of a greater home fire escape plan.
Be sure the smoke
alarms you purchase have the label of a recognized testing
Since smoke rises,
install smoke alarms high on a wall or on a ceiling, and follow
manufacturer's instructions. Save the manufacturer's
instructions for testing and maintenance.
Alarms that are
hard-wired (and include battery backup) must be installed by a
alarms at least monthly by simply pushing the test button.
in all smoke alarms at least once a year. A "chirping" alarm is
a warning that battery power is low. Replace dead batteries
smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires, and a
photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to
smoldering fires. For the best protection, install both types of
alarms or a combination alarm, photoelectric and ionization.
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Replace all smoke alarms, including alarms that use 10-year
batteries and hard-wired alarms, no later than the 10-year
anniversary. Over time, the alarm's components may deteriorate
and may not respond properly in the presence of smoke or fire.
cooking fumes or steam sets off nuisance alarms, replace the
alarm with one equipped with a "hush" button. A hush button will
reduce the alarm's sensitivity for short periods of time.
Consider using an ionization alarm with a hush button or a
photoelectric alarm if the alarm is within 20 feet of a cooking
addition to the usual piercing alarm sound, some smoke alarms
permit a recorded voice announcement. This type of alarm may be
helpful in waking children accustomed to hearing the familiar
voice of a parent or loved one.
Smoke alarms equipped with
strobe lights or vibrating elements are available for
individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.
For more information on smoke alarms, call the
Office of the State Fire Marshal at 217-785-0969 or visit the
agency's Web site at
Office of the State Fire
Marshal file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]