Most fire fatalities in the home do not occur from the fire itself, they are the result of the smoke that is produced. If you are sleeping when a fire starts, a working smoke detector may save your life. Every household is required to be equipped with functioning smoke detectors.
According to the State Fire Marshal, residential fires account for 83% of all fire fatalities in Minnesota. Approximately 2/3 of the fire fatalities that occur each year are in homes with no smoke detectors or inoperable smoke detectors.
Test your Detector
Test every smoke detector in your household once a month, by pressing the "Test" button, to ensure they are working properly. If the detectors are not working properly or if any of them are past the expiration date listed on the bottom, they will need to be replaced right away. Replace the batteries in your detectors once a year - The Elk River Fire Department suggests that you change the batteries every year when you change your clocks for Daylight Savings Time.
Smoke detectors should be installed in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home. Detectors installed in the basement should be installed on the ceiling at the bottom of the stairs leading to the next level. Keep detectors away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms due to cooking. It is best to use interconnected smoke detectors; when one detector sounds, they all sound. Interconnection can be done using hard-wiring or wireless technology. Always remember to follow manufacturer instructions.
What if your smoke detector is "chirping" every so often? If you find that your smoke detector is chirping, verify that there is no smoke or fire in the area. Once this is verified, replace the battery and press the "Test" button on the detector. If this does not solve the issue, the detector may be bad or it may be past its expiration date; replace the detector as soon as possible.
Check out the Smoke Alarms at Home fact sheet for further information.
If you have questions regarding your smoke detectors, contact the Fire Department at 763-635-1100.