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Working smoke alarms save lives – replace old alarms to stay safe in 2023

Replace smoke alarms every 10 years

Smoke alarms can reduce the risk of being injured by a home fire by alerting you that smoke is present and providing critical time to respond safely. Most fire deaths are caused by smoke inhalation, not burns. According to a 2020 study by the National Fire Protection Association, working smoke alarms reduce the risk of dying in a home fire by 55%.

Smoke alarms can be ionization alarms, photoelectric alarms or combination ionization-photoelectric alarms. They all work but ionization smoke alarms are more responsive to flaming fires, and photoelectric smoke alarms are more responsive to smoldering fires. While smoke alarms should not be installed in the kitchen, a photoelectric smoke alarm is the best type of alarm near the kitchen to reduce nuisance alarms from regular cooking smoke.

Tips for buying and installing smoke alarms:

  • Buy alarms that are listed by a qualified testing laboratory
  • Know if the alarm you are installing is an ionization alarm, a photoelectric alarm or a combination of the two
  • If your smoke alarms are interconnected, when one sounds, they all sound
  • Install alarms on every level of the home, in each sleeping room, and in the hallway outside of sleeping rooms
  • Test smoke alarms monthly and replace alarms every 10 years
  • Make sure everyone in the home knows the sound of the smoke alarms and how to respond safely

Learn more

Smoke alarm video in multiple languages

Free smoke alarms for qualified Seattle residents