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Fire Deaths Occur in Homes without Working Smoke Alarms!

Longmont Fire Department



smoke alarm campaign graphic

NFPA estimates that 93% of U.S. homes have at least one smoke alarm. Although 13 of every 14 homes have at least one smoke alarm, almost half of home fires and three-fifths of fire deaths occur in the homes with no alarms. Thousands of people still die each year in home fires where smoke alarms aren't present or properly maintained. The Longmont Fire Department cares about your safety. Every home should be protected with smoke alarms. If you cannot afford smoke alarms the fire department will provide them and install them for you. For more information, please email or call (303) 651-8437.

Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives

Tragically, the grave importance of installing and maintaining smoke alarms has not yet been fully realized. Most people who die in home fires are not in the room where the fire starts; working smoke alarms alert people to fire and give them time to escape in a situation where minutes can mean the difference between life and death.

Having a smoke alarm cuts your chance of dying nearly in half if you have a home fire. By properly placing, regularly testing and maintaining your alarms, you can ensure that they are in fact working and will alert you if a fire breaks out. Make sure you buy only those alarms that bear the mark of an independent testing laboratory. The United States Fire Administration (USFA) provides an educational video on smoke alarms.

Fire protection in the home must start with smoke alarms. There are many other kinds of alarms which may be designed to detect such factors as high temperatures, rapid changes in temperature, and certain gases produced in fires. However, these detectors are NOT as effective as smoke alarms in giving the first warning when a fire breaks out. Fire codes do not require heat detectors in homes; however, they may be used for optional extra protection in areas like kitchens, attics, and garages, where smoke alarms are susceptible to nuisance alarms. Reliable heat detectors can be purchased for approximately $20.

Contrary to popular belief, the smell of smoke may not wake a sleeping person. Instead, the poisonous gases and smoke produced by a fire can numb the senses and put one into a deeper sleep.

Where Should Smoke Alarms Be Installed?

Fire codes require that smoke alarms be installed (installation video) in every bedroom or other area where people sleep. Smoke alarms should additionally be installed in the hall or area outside each bedroom. At least one smoke alarm should be located on each level of the home including the basement. Smoke alarms should be installed on the ceiling or high on the wall. Dead air spaces within 4" of a corner should be avoided. Locate smoke alarms away from heat ducts, ceiling fans and other drafty locations. Do not install smoke alarms in garages, kitchens or bathrooms (or right outside bathroom doors) where dust, steam or cooking fumes may cause nuisance alarms.

Answers to Commonly Asked Questions



For additional information regarding smoke alarms please email or call (303)651-4440.