Where Should Smoke Detectors Be Placed?

Jul 31, 2019

Smoke Detector Placement
Fire can spread extremely fast, and in just minutes a building can be fully engulfed in flames. Smoke detectors are critical for giving residents of homes and commercial buildings early warning and time to get out.

Residential Smoke Detector Placements

There are two types of smoke alarms that are used in residential homes
The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) recommends at a minimum that smoke detectors be placed:
  • Inside every sleeping room
  • Outside every sleeping room
  • On every level of your home, including the basement
Additionally, the NFPA recommends installing smoke alarms near the stairways leading to different levels of your home and at least 10 feet from cooking appliances. The NFPA also recommends you interconnect all smoke alarms in your home, so when one alarm sounds, they all sound. This can be done with hard-wiring or wireless technology.

There are two types of smoke alarms that are used in residential homes – ionization and photoelectric. For the best protection, a combination ionization-photoelectric warning, known as a dual-sensor smoke alarm, is recommended. Make sure the detector is approved by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), which sets strict testing and safety requirements.

Commercial Smoke Detector Placements
In commercial buildings, the location of smoke detectors will be set by the Authority Having Jurisdiction
In commercial buildings, the location of smoke detectors will be set by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). The AHJ is defined as the organization, office, or individual responsible for enforcing the requirements of a code or standard, and for approving equipment, materials, installation, or a procedure.

Fire codes and standards are based on the codes and standards of the NFPA. However, there can be many differences between AHJs in how the codes are enforced and what codes are enforced. Many times, fire alarm systems require the approval of multiple jurisdictions (local, state, and joint commission). There also are federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations and inspections to be considered, and OSHA inspectors can override the local AHJ.

Smoke Detector Testing & Maintenance
it’s critical to test them regularly and maintain them
Once your smoke detectors are installed, it’s critical to test them regularly and maintain them.
For residential smoke detectors, the NFPA recommends that you:
  • Test smoke detectors every month.
  • Change the smoke detector batteries every year.
  • Replace your smoke detectors every ten years.
For commercial buildings, inspection, testing, and maintenance requirements also will be set by the AHJ. In order to test industrial smoke detectors, you must be certified by the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) or licensed by the state.

Smoke Detectors Save Lives
Smoke detectors are one of the most critical parts of a life safety system
Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke detectors or no working smoke detectors, according to data from the NFPA. Smoke detectors are one of the most critical parts of a life safety system.

At FSS Technologies, our fire alarm system designers and installers are NICET certified, and we understand the nuances of installing fire alarms in most jurisdictions. If your home or business needs a fire safety system, contact us for a free consultation.

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