Smoke alarms are an extremely important device to help keep you and your family safe in case of a house fire.  Smoke alarms work by detecting the particulates in the air.  However, with the thick outdoor smoke from wildfires blowing into the Spokane County area, the ambient smoke may build up indoors in homes and may trigger smoke alarms to sound.  While the smoke alarms are doing what they are designed and supposed to do, weak batteries or old alarms can increase the chance of false alarms.

Remember to change the batteries in your smoke alarms at least once a year, even if the alarms are hard-wired and use the batteries for back-up power.  In addition, all smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.  You can find the date of manufacture stamped on the back of the alarm.

While we do not recommend that you disconnect your smoke alarms or remove the batteries, proper placement and maintenance of the alarms can reduce the likelihood of nuisance/false alarms.

  • Don’t install smoke alarms near windows, doors, ducts, or ceiling fans where drafts might interfere with their operation.
  • Don’t install smoke alarms near windows or doors as the smoke particulates from an outdoor barbecue or other outdoor source may activate the alarm.
  • Smoke alarms should be installed at least 10 feet from a cooking appliance to minimize false alarms when cooking.
  • Place alarms at least three feet horizontally from bathroom doors as the steam or high humidity can activate an alarm.
  • Never paint smoke alarms. Paint, stickers, or other decorations could keep the alarms from working.
  • Smoke alarms should be maintained according to manufacturer’s instructions, which may include vacuuming around the alarm to remove dust, dirt, or insects.
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