According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 3,000 Americans lose their lives in residential fires each year. Surprisingly, most fire victims die from inhalation of smoke and toxic gases rather than contact with the flames. So, what’s the easiest way to prevent fires or injuries? – Use properly installed and maintained smoke detectors.

By providing an early warning, smoke alarms can not only save lives, but also minimize property damage. It is recommended to have at least one smoke detector on every level of your home. They should be placed near bedrooms, either on the ceiling or on the wall six to twelve inches below the ceiling.

Always test your alarms regularly by following the manufacturer’s directions. Replace batteries at least once a year, especially if your smoke alarm begins to produce a low-power warning. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends replacing batteries as a seasonal routine, such as when resetting clocks in the fall or spring - or make it New Years resolution! Also remember to clean the smoke detector regularly.

Never disable your smoke alarm for any reason. If an alarm continuously goes on while you are cooking or showering, you may need to replace it or move it to a new location, if possible.

For more information visit http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/5077.html