Smoke Alarms

If only firefighters could snap their fingers and supply everyone with working smoke alarms, listed by a qualified testing laboratory, for every level of their homes.

If only everyone tested their alarms every month, put in a fresh battery twice a year, and replaced alarms when they were more than 10 years old.

…Firefighters would feel more confident about the ability of families to survive a home fire.

Something so simple and so inexpensive really makes a world of difference when the time comes to being alerted to fire. It’s hard to believe that despite smoke alarms being available to consumers for many years, nearly 6 percent of American homes are still completely unprotected according to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association). Half of all home fire deaths occur in these homes.

And while 15 out of 16 homes in the U.S. have a smoke alarm, many households (maybe yours?) lack the proper number – at least one on every level, including the basement and one in every bedroom. This can make the difference in alerting your family in the evening hours while you are sleeping.

No smoke alarm can save your life if it isn’t working which, according to NFPA, is true for about a quarter of the alarms installed in U.S. homes.

A 1993 study by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Smoke Detector Project found that about

  • one-fifth of the smoke alarms in people’s homes were not connected to a working power source
  • 11 percent of the units were missing batteries
  • 5 percent had dead batteries
  • 3 percent had disconnected batteries
  • 1 percent had been disconnected from the A/C power source

In Upper St. Clair, firefighters have seen with our own eyes the difference between a home protected by adequate smoke alarms and those without them. Help us save lives by taking action today to ensure your family is well equipped to survive a fire in your home. Smoke alarms provide an important early warning.

Don’t forget about the importance of carbon monoxide detectors.

But don’t stop there. An escape plan is part of a good overall home fire safety plan. With everyone in your household, plan two escape routes from every room, then practice your home fire drill at least twice a year. Have a central meeting place outside, like next to the mailbox or oak tree. Never go back into a burning building.

For more information on home fire safety:

  • download the free fact sheets on NFPA’s Web site, at
  • visit the Upper St. Clair Volunteer Fire Department Web site at
  • call the fire department Non-emergency Number 412.835.0660
Installing And Testing
Your Smoke Alarms

Proper installation and regular testing are important so that smoke alarms work when you need them.

Read about Installing and Testing Your Smoke Alarms.