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[Share]Published: October 21, 2013

FDNY Fire Safety: Smoke Alarms

FDNY members fought two fires on Oct. 20 in homes without working smoke alarms.

Please ensure your home has a working smoke alarm by following these simple tips:


  • Check it has the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Mark (combo smoke/CO alarms are available).
  • Install an alarm on every floor of your home, including the basement, and consider interconnected alarms, so when one is triggered, all of them sound.
  • Place alarms within 15 feet of all sleeping areas and, if possible, in all bedrooms.
  • Install smoke alarms on the ceiling, preferably in the center of the room and no less than 4 inches from a wall. If installed on a wall, be sure it’s 4 to 12 inches from the ceiling.
  • The hearing-impaired should install alarms with alternate notifications, i.e. flashing lights. 


  • Test the alarms once a month
  • Be sure all alarms always have batteries. Replace batteries twice a year.
  • Never paint over alarms.
  • Replace smoke alarms at least every 10 years.

False Alarms

If your smoke alarm sounds because of bathroom steam or cooking vapors, do not remove it or its batteries. Instead:

  • Push the “HUSH” button.
  • Open windows and turn on vent fans to clear the air.
  • Consider reinstalling the alarm away from the cooking area or bathroom.


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