Fire Prevention Week

Hear a beep, get on your feet! Hear a chirp, make a change! Fire Prevention Week

Fire Prevention Week is October 3-9, and this year we're helping you learn about the sounds your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors make and what they mean.

What is your alarm telling you?


Does your smoke or carbon monoxide alarm beep or chirp? Knowing the difference can save you, your home, and your family.

Make sure everyone in the home understands the sounds of the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and knows how to respond.

Find out what your alarm sounds like by checking the user guide or searching online for the make and model.

Smoke alarms

  • Click here to learn how to install your smoke alarm
  • A continued set of three loud beeps—beep, beep, beep—means smoke or fire. Get out, call 9-1-1, and stay out.
  • A single “chirp” every 30 to 60 seconds means either:
    • the battery is low and needs to be replaced
    • the alarm has reached the end of its life, or
    • the alarm is not working properly, and the entire unit needs to be replaced.
  • All smoke alarms must be replaced after 10 years.

Carbon monoxide

  • A continuous set of four loud beeps—beep, beep, beep, beep—means carbon monoxide is present in your home. Go outside, call 9-1-1 and stay out.
  • A single chirp every 30 or 60 seconds means the battery is low and must be replaced.
  • CO alarms also have “end of life” sounds that vary by manufacturer. This means it’s time to get a new CO alarm.
  • Chirping that continues after the battery has been replaced means the alarm is at the end of its life and the unit must be replaced.
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Maintenance


Smoke alarms

Smoke alarms save lives! To learn how to properly test your smoke alarm, visit smoke alarm safety page

Carbon monoxide alarms

You can’t see, smell or taste carbon monoxide gas. Inhaling it can cause serious illness or death, so it is important to protect yourself and your family by having carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home, including the basement.

Make sure your smoke and CO alarms meet the needs of everyone in your home, including those with sensory or physical disabilities.

For more information on carbon monoxide, the symptoms of exposure, and how to install and maintain alarms, please visit the carbon monoxide alarm page.

Helpful tips:

  • Install a bedside alert device that responds to the sound of the smoke and CO alarms. The use of a low-frequency alarm can also wake a sleeping person with mild to severe hearing loss.
  • Keep your mobility device, glasses and phone close to you while you sleep.
  • Keep pathways like hallways lit with night lights and free from clutter to make sure everyone can get out safely.

What if I, or someone in my family is hard of hearing?


Not everyone can rely on audible smoke or carbon monoxide alarms, but assistive equipment is available to help people feel and see the signs of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

These devices use a combination of strobe lights and vibration devices called “bed or pillow” shakers to alert people of an emergency.

When using these alarms, remember that if you “see the flash and feel the vibration” get out, contact 911 and stay out.

Fire Prevention Week (FPW) (nfpa.org)

Plan your escape


Plan two ways out! You can protect yourself and your family by planning – and rehearsing two ways out of your home in the event of an emergency.

  • Draw a map of your home using this template, and include all members of your household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.
  • Practice your home escape plan drill twice a year and teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
  • Make sure the number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.
  • Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.

Thank you to our 2021 partners and sponsors:

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Other resources


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