Deaths from fires and burns are the fifth most common cause of unintentional injury deaths in the United States (this is not so, the CDC has very poor records for 2005) and the third leading cause of fatal home injury (Runyan 2004).
The widespread use of smoke detectors in home has resulted in significant reductions of injuries and deaths from house fires. You can cut the chance that you or someone that you love will die in a house fire simply by installing these inexpensive devices in your home. However, the only smoke detector that can help you survive is the one that is properly functioning. Like all electronic devices, they can fail. The only way to be sure that your smoke alarm will work when you need it is to test it periodically.
1 Alert all members of your household that you are testing the alarm first, unless you would like to use the opportunity for a fire drill.
If your smoke detector is hardwired to a monitored security system, be sure to notify the security system’s company that you are performing a test before you test the alarm. You don’t want the fire department showing up at your door!
2 Have someone go to a part of the house or apartment that is as far from the smoke detector as possible when conducting a function test, to determine whether the alarm can be clearly heard at that distance.
Remember, it has to be loud enough to awaken the deepest sleeper in the household.