First Time Homeowners: Fire Alarm Safety in the Home

Posted on: 10 December 2015

Fire alarms save lives, and the sooner you are alerted to a fire in your home, the better the chances are of you and your family escaping the burning house safely. The proper placement of fire alarms begins with understanding where fires normally start and the pathway the heat and smoke will travel throughout your home. Sixty percent of fire deaths were partially the result of the homes not having fire alarms. Here is what fire alarms you should use and where you should place them throughout your house if you haven't used them before and are now looking to protect you and your family in case of a fire.


You should install a smoke alarm in your bedroom – especially if you like the romantic of glow of candlelight to fill the room as you fall asleep. The National Fire Protection Association reports that from 2007-11 candle usage started about 10,000 fires in homes across the U.S.

The best types of fire alarms to use in the bedroom would be ionization or photoelectric alarms, or a combination of the two. These alarms are activated by the smoke particulates rising in the air.

The alarm should be placed at the highest point on your bedroom ceiling if you have sloped or cathedral ceilings, or in the center of the room.

Do not use an alarm that is activated only by heat.  By the time the heat level rises in the bedroom to activate this type of alarm, it may already be too late to escape. Smoke is the number one killer in house fires.


On average, there are 162,400 fires every year that start in the kitchen of homes. The best fire alarm to use in the kitchen is one that is activated only by heat. An alarm activated by smoke would be going off every time you burn a piece of toast, or overcook a piece of meat.

Do not place the heat alarm directly over your cooking area as heat rises and could activate the alarm unnecessarily.


The two main causes for basement fires are lint in the dryer and items being stored too close to the furnace. Here, you'll also want to use either a smoke alarm or a combination of a smoke and heat alarm.

You should place one alarm on the ceiling in the center of the basement, and another alarm at the highest point in the stairwell leading up to the rest of the house.

If you live in an apartment or a small house where you have a laundry or furnace room, place an alarm on the ceiling just outside the room.


Smoke and heat always rises. At the highest point of each stairwell should be a combination smoke/heat alarm.

Holiday Alarms

If you set up a Christmas tree in your house, you should also install a smoke alarm over it. On average, Christmas trees are cited as the source of 210 fires in homes every year, and you have a higher degree of risk of you or a family member suffering a death and injury in these types of fires than you do in common house fires.

If you have any questions about fire alarm systems, consider contacting a local specialist, such as Eastern Fire Protection, to be sure your home is protected against fires.