Smoke Alarm Installation
Smoke Alarm Installation Program for Fire Agencies
Smoke Alarm Installation Guide
General Smoke Alarm Information
Why should my home have smoke alarms?
You are more likely to
survive a home fire with a working smoke alarm(s). During a fire, you may have less than three minutes to
escape. Smoke spreads fast and smoke alarms alert you to danger and provide time to
What is the difference between a smoke alarm and a smoke detector?
A smoke alarm is a self-contained smoke-sensing device.
A smoke alarm detects and alarms.
A smoke detector is a smoke-sensing device that is not self-contained and operates as part of a central
control system. A smoke detector detects smoke and sends the information to an alarm panel. (ORS
What types of smoke alarms are available?
Ionization, photoelectric, dual-sensing (ionization/photoelectric),
and combination smoke/carbon monoxide alarms.
What is the difference between ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms? Ionization smoke alarms are
quicker at sensing flaming, fast-moving fires. Photoelectric smoke alarms are quicker at sensing smoldering
fires. Both types are recommended for protection from both types of fires.
Where do I install smoke alarms?
Smoke alarms shall be installed in each sleeping room at the time of
construction and in the corridor or area giving access to sleeping areas according to the manufacturer's
Where sleeping areas are located on an upper level, the smoke alarm shall be installed
in an accessible location as close as practical to the center of the ceiling directly over the stairway.
Where sleeping areas are widely separated (on different levels or opposite ends of the dwelling
unit) and/or where a single smoke alarm or smoke detector will not adequately service all sleeping areas, a
smoke alarm shall be installed adjacent to each sleeping area. (OAR
- Outside bedrooms within 21 feet of all bedroom doors.
- On each level of the home (including the basement).
- In bedrooms, if required by the State Building Code at the time of construction.
- All smoke alarms are to be installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
*Required when selling or renting a home.
Are smoke alarms required on every level?
Yes, they are required on each level (including the basement).
Are smoke alarms required in all bedrooms?**
Smoke alarms in dwelling units shall be installed in each sleeping room as per the applicable requirements of
State Building Code at
the time of construction.
The OSFM recommends adding smoke alarms to each bedroom or other areas
used for sleeping for increased protection.
**Some local ordinances have additional requirements.
Check with your local building department. See the Building Department Lookup tool in Resources on this
Where should smoke alarms not be installed?
Smoke alarms should not be installed in kitchens, bathrooms, garages, and unheated areas where moisture,
vapors, and exhaust fumes could cause a nuisance alarm.
Should a smoke alarm be installed in the kitchen?
No. If you install smoke alarms in the kitchen, install them at least 10 feet
away from cooking appliances. They should be equipped with a hush feature, or they should be photoelectric
smoke alarms. (NFPA 72)
How often do I replace my smoke alarm?
Smoke alarms should be replaced according to the National Fire Protection Association,
National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code (72-14.4.7)
Replacement of smoke alarms in one and two-family dwellings:
“Unless otherwise recommended by the manufacturer’s published instructions, single and multiple-station smoke
installed in one- and
two-family dwellings shall be replaced when they fail to respond to operability tests, but shall not remain
in service longer than 10 years from the date of manufacture.” (NFPA 72)
Can I replace a hard-wired smoke alarm with a smoke/carbon monoxide (CO) alarm?
Yes. You may replace a hard-wired smoke alarm with a hard-wired battery backup smoke/CO alarm.
- Switching from one manufacturer’s unit to another may require an adapter plug.
- Manufacturers advise adapter plugs may be changed using wire nuts and may require the services of a
Are 10-year batteries and a hush feature required in smoke alarms in Oregon?
All ionization smoke alarms sold in Oregon that are solely battery-operated shall be packaged with a 10-year
battery. All ionization smoke alarms shall include a hush mechanism that allows a person to temporarily
disengage the alarm for a period of not more than 15 minutes. (ORS 479.297)
Ten-year smoke alarm battery means a battery power source warranted by the battery manufacturer to be free
materials and workmanship for a period of at least 10 years when used in an ionization smoke alarm that: is
listed by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, and has been approved by the nationally recognized
testing laboratory for use with a 10-year battery. (OAR 837-045-0040)
Photoelectric, combination (ionization/photoelectric), smoke/carbon monoxide, and hardwired alarms do
not require a 10-year (long-life) battery or a hush feature but are available for sale in Oregon.
How do I test my smoke alarm?
Test smoke alarms by pushing the test button.
What should I do when the smoke alarm sounds?
Get outside and stay outside.
Crawl low under the smoke to get out. Call 911 or your local emergency number for help. Never go back inside
for people, pets, or belongings.
What do I do if my smoke alarm sounds and it is a nuisance alarm?
Many smoke alarms come with a hush feature, a button on the alarm you push to silence nuisance alarms for up
to 15 minutes.
Nuisance alarms can be caused by steam from showers or smoke from