Smoke Detectors / Out To Alarm Valpo

Smoke Detector Adjusted

Installing & Using Smoke Detectors

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 detector 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 detectors should be installed on each level of the house, in all bedrooms, and in hallways close to sleeping areas. Never place a smoke detector on an uninsulated wall or ceiling. Remember to:
  • Dust and vacuum detectors at least twice a year
  • Make sure detectors are working when you return home after an extended absence
  • Never borrow smoke detector batteries for other uses
  • Replace smoke detectors 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 detector at least once a month by pressing the test button
Smoke Detector Home Placement Adjusted

Purchasing a Smoke Detector

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

Smoke detectors 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 detector, 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 detector program…

“We’re Out to Alarm Valpo” 

As you read above, smoke detectors 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 detectors, free of charge for residents who live in the City of Valparaiso or Center Township, that are in need of the smoke detectors 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 detector(s). You may also call the Valparaiso Fire Department at 219.462.8325 for assistance with the smoke detector program. 

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

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

In general, smoke detectors 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 detector is placed too close to the ceiling or a ceiling mounted detector is placed in a corner, an air pocket may form around them, possibly making them slower to detect a smoke condition. Smoke detectors 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 detectors should be tested monthly. If the detector fails to activate, check and/or replace the batteries. Also, if the detector begins to “chirp”, this is likely an indication that the detector is low and the batteries need to be replaced. With many manufacturers, the number of “chirps” that the detector makes in a specified amount of time is written on the detector as to the probable meaning of the chirp if you are unsure. Smoke detectors should be replaced every 10 years.