Smoke Detector Program & Information

smoke detector

Smoke Detectors Save Lives!!!

Did you know?

  • The death rate per 100 reported fires was twice as high in homes without a working smoke alarm as it was in home fires with this protection.
  • The U.S. has the highest incident rate of home fires in the world, with one fire being reported every minute across the nation.
  • On average in the United States in 2010, someone died in a fire every 169 minutes, and someone was injured every 30 minutes (Karter 2011).
  • About 85% of all U.S. fire deaths in 2009 occurred in homes (Karter 2011).
  • Almost all U.S. homes have a smoke detector, but 65 percent of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes without WORKING smoke alarms!
  • The absolute best way to keep you and your family safe at home from fire is to have at least one working smoke detector, but preferably to have more than one especially in heavily partitioned homes.

To obtain a free smoke detector, if you don’t have one in your home, contact the Dinwiddie County Division of Fire & EMS by filling out the Smoke Detector Request Form ,by calling (804) 469-5388 or by emailing us. A Fire & EMS representative will contact you to install the detector. A home fire safety survey can also be completed as well.

Smoke Detector Tips

  • Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
  • An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires, and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, both types of alarms or a combination alarm (photoelectric and ionization) should be installed in homes.
  • Test alarms at least monthly by pushing the test button.
  • Smoke rises; install smoke alarms following manufacturer's instructions high on a wall or on a ceiling. Save manufacturer's instructions for testing and maintenance.
  • Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least once a year even. If an alarm “chirps”, warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away.
  • Replace all smoke alarms, including alarms that use 10-year batteries and hard-wired alarms, when they are 10 years old or sooner if they do not respond properly.
  • Be sure the smoke alarm has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Alarms that are hard-wired (and include battery backup) must be installed by a qualified electrician.
  • If cooking fumes or steam sets off nuisance alarms, replace the alarm with an alarm that has a "hush" button. A "hush" button will reduce the alarm’s sensitivity for a short period of time.
  • An ionization alarm with a hush button or a photoelectric alarm should be used if the alarm is within 20 feet of a cooking appliance.
  • Some sleeping children may have difficulty being awakened by smoke detectors activating. Smoke alarms that include a recordable voice announcement in addition to the usual alarm sound, may be helpful in waking children through the use of a familiar voice.
  • Smoke alarms are available for people who are deaf or hard of hearing (PDF). These devices use strobe lights. Vibration devices can be added to these alarms as well.
  • Create a home fire escape plan (PDF)and practice it. Smoke alarms are an important part of any home fire escape plan.