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Smoke Alarms Save Lives

Smoke alarms save lives. Smoke alarms will double your chance of surviving a fire.  Smoke alarms save lives when the’re properly installed and maintained, and play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries. In the United States, according to National Fire Protection Association statistics, three out of five home fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms. If there is a fire in your home, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out.

It is everyone’s responsibility to make sure homes have working smoke alarms. For rental units, landlords are required by law to ensure each unit has the required smoke alarms and detectors, and that they are in working condition. Smoke alarms also must be checked once a year. Battery-operated units often fail because the battery can be easily removed, dislodged or drained, although these units can be installed almost anywhere. Older buildings might be restricted to battery-powered designs, while newer homes generally offer more options for power sources. If possible, homeowners should install smoke alarms that are hard-wired with a battery backup, especially during a renovation or remodeling project.

Renters also have the responsibility to leave battery-operated detectors in place for the next tenant—and most of all, to make sure the battery stays connected so the detectors can do their job.  Smoke alarms must be tested regularly and should have batteries changed at least annually, or when a low-battery warning sounds. The smoke alarms must not be painted over and should be kept clean. Alarms should be replaced when they reach the end of their life span. Buildings with more than two residential units also need smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. The installation requirements for those multifamily dwellings are different. The National Fire Protection Agency requires that smoke alarms be AFCI-protected.

  • A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Smoke alarms should be interconnected. When one sounds, they all sound.
  • Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.
  • Test your smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
  • Today’s smoke alarms will be more technologically advanced to respond to a multitude of fire conditions, yet mitigate false alarms.
  • When a smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside.
  • Replace all smoke alarms in your home every 10 years. Install alarms on every level of the home.  In summary, smoke alarms are invaluable, life-saving appliances when they       are installed properly and adequately maintained.

For more information on installing and maintaining smoke alarms:

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JPR Home Inspections, LLC

Serving Greater Milwaukee


  • Waukesha
  • Sheboygan
  • Muskego
  • New Berlin
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