​​Smoke Alarms Save Lives!


For more information on smoke alarms, call the Phoenix Fire ​Department at 602-262-6771.

 Click here for handout.

Smoke alarms are devices that can save your life!  They alert you when smoke is present in your home.  When you are sleeping, they are your “nose at night” and can help you escape safely in the event of a fire.

Would you like to help our neighbors on fixed or  low incomes?  You can make a donation to the Firestar Fund through the Valley of the Sun United Way.  This is a tax-deductible donation!​


​Smoke Alarm Information

Fire Facts:

  • Missing or dead batteries are the main reasons smoke alarms do not sound in response to a fire.
  • A home fire doubles in size every 30 seconds.
  • After 10 years your smoke alarm has worked over 87,000 hours!
  • A smoke alarm has a limited life - like any household appliance that works 24-hours a day.
  • If you don't know exactly how old your smoke alarms are, you should replace them just to be safe.
  • Once a house fire starts, you have less than 5 minutes to get you and your family outside to safety.
  • Most deadly fires in America occur during the night between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. The majority of victims of home fires die in their sleep.
  • Your family's chances of surviving a home fire DOUBLE when there are working smoke alarms in the home.
  • Each year, home fires kill more Americans than all natural disasters combined.


Types of Smoke Alarms
Ionization - This is the most commonly available smoke alarm.  This kind of technology detects fast burning, rapidly moving fires.
Photoelectric - Many smoke alarms also contain this kind of technology.  These sensors detect slow, smoldering fires.
Dual-sensing - One alarm that contains both technologies of ionization and photoelectric.


Most smoke alarms are battery operated.  Many older alarms use 9 volt batteries.  Even if a battery is hardwired in to the home’s electrical system, a battery is usually included as a “back-up” in case of power failure.  
Some of the newer smoke alarms can use lithium batteries.  While lithium batteries usually cost more, they last much longer - as much as five to seven years longer than a 9 volt battery.
Currently, smoke alarms are produced that use both ionization and photoelectric sensors.  These “dual sensing” alarms offer better protection for your family.  Several of the dual sensing models can also use long-life lithium batteries.  

Using a dual sensing smoke alarm with a lithium battery offers the safest protection for you and your family.

Phoenix city ordinance G-5898-2014 specifies that a smoke alarm cannot remain in service longer than 10 years from the date of manufacture. Smoke alarms are permitted to be solely battery-operated in existing buildings where no construction is taking place, provided the smoke alarm is UL-listed with a sealed 10-year lithium battery.


Where to install smoke alarms

The Phoenix Fire Department recommends that every home have a smoke alarm outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home including basements.  For the most protection, install a smoke alarm in each bedroom.
Hallways longer than 30 feet should have a smoke alarm at each end.
Install smoke alarms at the top of each stairwell.
Smoke alarms in kitchens should be kept away from cooking fumes or smoking areas.
Install smoke alarms on walls at least 12 inches from the ceiling.
Smoke alarms can be installed on ceilings but be kept at least 18 inches away from dead air space near walls and corners.

As of April 2014, homeowners must install 10-year, sealed-battery smoke alarms when replacing outdated, missing or damaged units

Where smoke alarms should not be installed

Do not install smoke alarms near fireplaces and wood stoves.  This will cause “false alarms”.  
Drafts can affect how the smoke alarm works, so avoid windows and doors.
Never pl​​​ace a smoke alarm closer than three feet from an air register that could recirculate smoke.
Do not install smoke alarms in laundry rooms or garages.

Take care of your smoke alarms

Vacuum your smoke alarms every month.
Never paint your smoke alarms.
Replace batteries when you hear a chirping, popping or beeping sound.
Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.  Check manufacturer’s instructions when purchasing any smoke alarm.

Remember, when it comes to smoke alarms,

Get it! Purchase the correct number of smoke alarms you need for your home.

Check it! Check your smoke alarm every month to make sure the batteries are still working.

Change it! Replace the dead batteries with new ones to make sure your smoke alarm is in good working order and to ensure your family’s safety.