According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the majority of fatal home fires happen at night, when people are asleep. Contrary to popular belief, the smell of smoke may not wake a sleeping person. The poisonous gases and smoke produced by a fire can numb the senses and put you into a deeper sleep.

A developing fire produces large amounts of heat, smoke, and toxic gases even before the flames begin.  The smoke reduces visibility and the gases begin to reduce your ability to escape from the home. According to the NFPA, smoke detectors can cut your risk of dying in a home fire nearly in half by providing an early warning and critical extra seconds to escape.

Types of Smoke Detectors

Some run on batteries, others run on household current.  Some detect smoke using an “ionization“ sensor; others use a “photoelectric” system.  All approved types of detectors will offer adequate protection provided they are installed and maintained properly.

Quantity of Smoke Detectors

Every home should have a smoke detector outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.  Be sure everyone sleeping in your home can hear your smoke detector’s alarm even with the bedroom doors closed.  If not, or if any residents are hearing impaired, additional detectors should be placed inside the bedrooms.  There are special smoke detectors for the hearing impaired; these flash a light in addition to sounding an audible alarm.

The NFPA suggests installing smoke detectors in dining rooms, furnace rooms, utility rooms, bedrooms, and hallways for extra protection.  Smoke detectors are not recommended in kitchens, bathrooms, garages, or attics where cooking fumes, steam, exhaust, humidity and temperature changes could set off false alarms.


  • Never disable your smoke detector by “borrowing” batteries for other uses
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Test all smoke detectors monthly
  • Install new batteries twice a year
  • Clean your detectors using a vacuum, without removing the detector cover
  • Never paint a smoke detector
  • Smoke detectors don’t last forever – replace any detector that is more than 10 years old

Smoke Detector Resident Program

CFFD installs smoke detectors for residents at no charge through the Smoke Detector Installation program. Call (330) 971-8400 for information.