Testing smoke alarms

  • Published
  • By Eric Harper
  • 4th Civil Engineer Squadron

Smoke alarms detect and alert residents to a fire in its early stages, and gives members the time needed to escape. According to the National Fire Protection Association, working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires nearly in half.


By taking the following simple steps, residents can increase their households' safety from fire:

  • Test your smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button, and make sure everyone in your home knows the sound.

  • If an alarm “chirps,” warning the battery is low, replace the batteries on all alarms.

  • Replace all smoke alarms, every ten years, or sooner if you’re not sure how old they are.


    In addition to monthly testing, members should ensure they have the needed amount of smoke alarms in their home. The NFPA recommends alarms are installed in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. For the best protection, smoke alarms should be interconnected, so that when one sounds, they all do. This is particularly important in larger or multi-storied homes, where the sound from distant smoke alarms may not be loud enough to provide proper warning, especially for sleeping individuals.


If there are any questions or concerns about smoke alarm placement, testing or installation, please contact the Seymour Johnson Fire Prevention office at (919) 722-3836 or (919) 722-3838.