Smoke Alarms / Out To Alarm Valpo

Smoke Detector Adjusted

Installing & Using Smoke Alarms

More than 4,000 people die every year in residential fires in the United States. Most fatal home fires occur between 8:00 pm and 8:00 am while residents are asleep. A smoke alarm buys valuable time. As soon as it senses smoke, an alarm automatically sounds, allowing residents a chance to get out before toxic fumes accumulate to lethal levels.

Smoke alarms should be installed on each level of the house, in all bedrooms, and in hallways close to sleeping areas. Never place a smoke alarm on an uninsulated wall or ceiling. Remember to:
  • Dust and vacuum alarms at least twice a year
  • Make sure alarms are working when you return home after an extended absence
  • Never borrow smoke alarm batteries for other uses
  • Replace smoke alarms every 10 years, or as directed by the manufacturer
  • Replace worn batteries immediately or at least twice a year (when turning clocks back or ahead)
  • Test your smoke alarm at least once a month by pressing the test button
Smoke Detector Home Placement Adjusted

Purchasing a Smoke Alarm

When purchasing a smoke alarm, the determining factor should be quality, not price. Make sure the alarm has a laboratory label (UL) (FM) and an alarm loud enough to awaken a sleeping family. The alarm should also have a malfunction signal for low batteries. 

Smoke alarms save lives by giving occupants an early warning of toxic smoke. They are inexpensive, easy to purchase, and easy to install and maintain. Don't let yourself or your loved ones be without this early warning life saver. If you can't afford a smoke alarm, or are having difficulties installing one, please read our next section "OUT TO ALARM VALPO".

"Out to Alarm Valpo" Assistance Program

​Valparaiso Fire Department, along with Martin Security, would like to inform the community of our smoke alarm program…

“We’re Out to Alarm Valpo” 

As you read above, smoke alarms are the single most important means of preventing house and apartment fire fatalities by providing an early warning signal so families can escape. Smoke alarms are one of the best safety features that can be easily installed to protect residents and their property.

The Valparaiso Fire Territory and Martin Security are teaming together in a cooperative effort to provide smoke alarms, free of charge for residents who live in the City of Valparaiso or Center Township, that are in need of the smoke alarms in their home. After filling out the Smoke Detector Request Form, someone from the Valparaiso Fire Department or Martin Security will make contact with you to set up a time to install the alarm(s). You may also call the Valparaiso Fire Department at 219.462.8325 for assistance with the smoke alarm program. 

On all routine and emergency responses, fire department personnel can check to ensure that residents are protected by a working smoke alarm. If a battery is dead or missing, it can be replaced. If a smoke alarm is not present, or is not operable, a new alarm can be given or installed if possible, at no charge. 

Smoke Alarm Care, Placement & Maintenance 
At a minimum, a smoke alarm should be installed on every floor in your home. If possible, smoke alarms should also be installed in each sleeping area. In the event of a fire, an individual may not hear an alarm that is in a hallway if they are sleeping.  

In general, smoke alarms should be placed in the center of a ceiling or, if placed on a wall, should be at least 10 inches below the ceiling. If a wall mounted alarm is placed too close to the ceiling or a ceiling mounted alarm is placed in a corner, an air pocket may form around them, possibly making them slower to detect a smoke condition. Smoke alarms should also not be mounted too close to a kitchen or fireplace due to the potential for numerous false alarms that may lead to immunity of the alarm in the event of a real fire.
Finally, smoke alarms should be tested monthly. If the alarm fails to activate, check and/or replace the batteries. Also, if the alarm begins to “chirp”, this is likely an indication that the alarm is low and the batteries need to be replaced. With many manufacturers, the number of “chirps” that the alarm makes in a specified amount of time is written on the alarm as to the probable meaning of the chirp if you are unsure. Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.