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Smoke Detector

Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety!

2021 Fire Prevention Week focuses on the 'sounds of fire safety!' Knowing what to do when an alarm sounds will keep you and your family safe.

Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety!


In a fire, mere seconds can mean the difference between a safe escape and a tragedy. Fire safety education isn’t just for school children.

Teenagers, adults, and the elderly are also at risk in fires, making it important for every member of the community to take some time every October during Fire Prevention Week FPW) to make sure they understand how to stay safe in case of a fire.

This year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety!” works to educate everyone about the different sounds the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms make.

What is your alarm telling you? Open the tip sheet here. (PDF)

Knowing what to do when an alarm sounds will keep you and your family safe. When an alarm makes noises – a beeping sound or a chirping sound – you must take action.

Frequently Asked Questions about smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

What’s the difference between smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms? Why do I need both?

  • Smoke alarms sense smoke well before you can, alerting you to danger.
  • In the event of fire, you may have as little as 2 minutes to escape safely, which is why smoke alarms need to be in every bedroom, outside of the sleeping areas (like a hallway), and on each level (including the basement).
  • Do not put smoke alarms in your kitchen or bathrooms.
  • Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that displaces oxygen in your body and brain and can render you unconscious before you even realize something is happening to you.
  • Without vital oxygen, you are at risk of death from carbon monoxide poisoning in a short time.
  • CO alarms detect the presence of carbon monoxide and alert you so you can get out, call 9-1-1, and let the professionals check your home.

How do I know which smoke and CO alarm to choose for my home?

  • Choose an alarm that is listed with a testing laboratory, meaning it has met certain standards for protection.
  • Whether you select a unit that requires yearly changing of batteries, or a 10-year unit that you change out at the end of the 10 years, either will provide protection.
  • CO alarms also have a battery backup. Choose one that is listed with a testing laboratory.
  • For the best protection, use combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarms that are interconnected throughout the home.
  • These can be installed by a qualified electrician, so that when one sounds, they all sound. This ensures you can hear the alarm no matter where in your home the alarm originates.