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Smoke Detectors

Smoke Alarms at Home

Smoke alarms are a key part of a home fire escape plan. When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast.  Smoke detectors are an important part of safety in a home, as these fire-protection devices will automatically detect and warn you of the presence of smoke and can save your life in the vent of a fire. 


According to the National Fire Protection Association, 92 percent of all homes in America have smoke detectors installed. However, over one third (1/3) of these do not work. A dead or missing battery is the primary cause for smoke detector failure. 

  • A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
  • Smoke alarms should be installed inside every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level. Smoke alarms should be connected so when one sounds, they all sound. Most homes do not have this level of protection.
  • Roughly 3 out of 5 fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
  • The majority of fatal home fires occur at night while people are sleeping. In addition, the poisonous gases and smoke from a fire will overcome you in a short period of time.  Multiple sources indicate that a smoke detector can decrease your chances of dying in a fire by up to 50%.
Suggested Installation Tips 
  • For wall mount (Place 12 inches from the ceiling) 
  • For ceiling mount (Place at least 12 inches from any wall) 
  • On high pitch ceilings (Place 3 feet from the highest point) 
  • Don't install near window, door, air register, or ceiling fan. 
  • Install smoke alarms in every bedroom. There should also be a minimum of one detector outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. 
  • A smoke alarm should be on the ceiling or high on a wall. Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms. They should be at least 10 feet (3 meters) from the stove
  • The following video shows guidance on how to install a Smoke Detector
Maintenance Tips 
  • Change battery twice a year or when chirping. We suggest you change the battery in the spring and fall, when you change the time on your clock. 
  • Test smoke detector once a month.
  • Always follow the manufacturers recommendations. 
  • The National Fire Protection Association recommends that you replace your battery operated detector every ten years. 
Safety Tips 
  • Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.
  • It is best to use interconnected smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds, they all sound.
  • Test all smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
  • Current alarms on the market employ different types of technology including multi-sensing, which could include smoke and carbon monoxide  combined.
  • Today’s smoke alarms will be more technologically advanced to respond to a multitude of fire conditions, yet mitigate false alarms.
  • People who are hard-of-hearing or deaf can use special alarms. These alarms have strobe lights and bed shakers.
Where to Buy Smoke Detectors 

Smoke detectors can be found at many home improvement and retail stores. There are many brands and several different features. You should do research to determine which one is best suited for your home.

For more information visit: 



As a service to the community, Porter Fire Department can assist with installation of smoke detectors in your home.  Personnel install smoke alarms where the current adopted Fire Code allows. The homeowner must be present at the time of the smoke alarm installation. If you are not able to be at your home during a business day, please indicate the best times to schedule your inspection.

  • If you do not own your home, but have concerns about your smoke alarms, contact your property manager.
  • If your smoke alarm is chirping and you are unable to change its batteries, call to speak with Fire Administration.
  • Submitting a request for a smoke alarm inspection does not guarantee that one of the times you request can be filled.

For more information and to schedule an appointment, please call Fire Administration at 281-354-6666.

Smoke Alarm Safety Tip Smoke Detector Installation Request
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