Houston Fire Department

Smoke Detectors can Save Your Life

Picture of 10 year battery smoke alarm vs old style battery alarm Home fire safety begins with a working smoke detectors. A smoke detector is probably the most important safety device you can have in your home.

However, based on 2010-2011 Houston Fire Department estimates, 30 percent of all Houston area homes have no smoke detectors or have ones that don’t work. Nationwide, annual estimates indicate that up to 75 percent of residential fire fatalities occur in homes without working smoke detectors. That percentage can be greatly reduced because smoke alarms are easy to install, maintain and can mean the difference between life and death.

In order to provide added protection we (HFD) now recommend smoke detectors with a 10-year battery instead of those that require a new battery twice a year. These detectors contain lithium batteries which will last the life of the alarm. Through the Get Alarmed Houston! smoke detector program , the Houston Fire Department aims to provide free 10-year "worry free" smoke detectors to every Houston area homeowner, specifically targeting our low income, disabled and elderly population.

This program, founded in 2001, is entirely funded by private and corporate donations. The members of the Houston Fire Department distribute and install 3,000-4,000 smoke detectors a year by individual appointments and special events.

If you or someone you know needs a smoke detector please visit the HFD "Get Alarmed" webpage >>>

Smoke Detector Types:
1. Ionization-Works faster in a flaming fire
2. Photoelectric-Works faster in a smoldering fire
3. Dual sensor- Works fast in either type of fire

Picture how to install smoke alarm

• Test your detector every month by pressing and holding the “Test” button
• Vacuum the vents of the detector at least once a year
• Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions
• The National Fire Protection Association recommends replacing your smoke detectors every 10 years

Where to install your smoke detector:
• A smoke detector should be installed in every bedroom, the hallway connecting each room, the living room, den and all other living areas. At least one alarm should be installed on each floor of your home.
• When mounting your smoke detector to the wall or ceiling follow the manufacturer's instructions or use these tips as guides for proper location.
• Wall Mount: Place 4-12 inches from the ceiling
• Ceiling Mount: Place at least 4 inches from any wall
• High-Pitch Ceilings: Place 3 feet from highest point of ceiling
• DO NOT place your detector in the kitchen or near an air conditioning vent.