Smoke Alarms

Check Your Smoke Alarms


About 90% of U.S. households have smoke alarms installed. In about 20 percent of those households, the alarms are out of order - primarily because of dead or missing batteries. 

One smoke alarm is not enough for your whole house. You should have at least one smoke alarm per each level of your home, preferably installed near bedrooms since most fatal fires occur when the household is asleep, and smoke alarms are also needed in each sleeping room. Children can help test the smoke detectors once a month. This helps them become familiar with the sound the alarm makes.

Are you aware of the new smoke alarm laws in California?

1. Existing installed operable/in working condition smoke alarms are NOT required to be replaced.

2. For all dwelling units intended for human occupancy for which a building permit is issued on or after January 1, 2014, for alterations, repairs, or additions exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), the permit issuer shall not sign off on the completion of work until the permittee demonstrates that all smoke alarms required for the dwelling unit are devices approved and listed by the State Fire Marshal.

3. By January 1, 2016, owners of a dwelling unit intended for human occupancy in which one or more units is rented or leased shall install additional smoke alarms, as needed, to ensure that smoke alarms are located in compliance with current building standards. Existing alarms installed need not be replaced unless the alarm is inoperable.

Smoke alarms by the numbers

•In 2007-2011, smoke alarms sounded in half of the home fires reported to U.S. fire departments.

•Three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

•No smoke alarms were present in more than one-third (37%) of the home fire deaths.

•In one-quarter (23%) of the home fire deaths, smoke alarms were present but did not sound.

•In reported home fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not operate, almost half (47%) of the smoke alarms had missing or disconnected batteries. Nuisance alarms were the leading reason for disconnected smoke alarms.



Smoke Detector and Fire Extinguisher laying on a table.