Smoke Alarms & Extinguishers

Smoke alarms and fire extinguishers save lives, and it is important to take a few minutes to make sure your home and office are well-equipped in case of a fire. Almost 95% of homes in the United States have smoke alarms, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Important Tips

Follow these simple installation and maintenance tips:
  • Smoke alarms should be installed on every floor of a home, including the basement, and in all bedrooms and sleeping areas.
  • Test smoke alarms every month, and change the battery frequently. Smoke alarms that are older than 10 years should be replaced.
  • Because smoke rises, alarms should be mounted high on walls or ceilings. Wall-mounted alarms should be positioned 4 - 12 inches from the ceiling, while ceiling-mounted alarms should be positioned 4 inches away from the nearest wall. Smoke alarms should not be installed near a window or door where wind could interfere with proper operation.

Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers can be a useful tool in putting out small fires when they are maintained and operated correctly.
  • Store extinguishers in an easy-to-find location and become familiar with how the extinguisher operates before the emergency happens. The Wickenburg Fire Department occasionally holds training sessions that provide a hands on fire extinguisher training. Also, check the manufacturer's instructions for operating guidelines and replace extinguishers about every 12 years.
  • Before attempting to put out a fire, evacuate everyone from the building and call 911.
  • If the fire is still small enough, a fire extinguisher may successfully put out the fire, but going back to attempt to put out a larger fire is very dangerous and should not be attempted. Extinguishers should not be used if the fire is out of control or covers a wide area.
  • P.A.S.S. is an effective acronym for the instruction for properly using a fire extinguisher; P.A.S.S. stands for Pull, Aim, Squeeze, and Sweep. First, pull the pin, which unlocks the handle. Aim the extinguisher at the base of the fire. Then, squeeze the lever and use a sweeping motion from side to side, keeping aim at the base of the fire. If the fire becomes larger, or gets out of control, leave the area immediately and make sure no one attempts to go back into the building.