A sound you can live with!

Smoke alarms save lives.

If there is a fire in your home, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out. Having a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a reported fire in half.

Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

Here's what you need to know:

  • Test your smoke alarms every month.
  • When a smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside.
  • Replace all smoke alarms in your home every 10 years

For more information on maintaining or replacing smoke alarms please watch the videos provided.

How old is my alarm?

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To check the date on an alarm, twist it off the ceiling or wall. Look for a date (stamped or stickered) on the back. That is the date the alarm was made. Add 10 years to that date. If it is past the current date, than the alarm needs to be replaced.

Smoke alarm location

  • Choose smoke alarms that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Install smoke alarms inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.
  • On levels without bedrooms, install alarms in the living room (or den or family room) or near the stairway to the upper level, or in both locations.
  • Smoke alarms installed in the basement should be installed on the ceiling at the bottom of the stairs leading to the next level.
  • Smoke alarms should be installed at least 10 feet (3 meters) from a cooking appliance to minimize false alarms when cooking.
  • Mount smoke alarms on ceilings whenever possible (remember, smoke rises). Wall-mounted alarms should be installed at least 4 inches down from ceiling but not more than 12 inches away from the ceiling (to the top of the alarm).
  • Avoid installing alarms in a dead space that air does not flow. Locate them 2 feet or so into a room and away from walls.
  • Don't install smoke alarms near windows, doors, or ducts where drafts might interfere with their operation.

Has your smoke alarm expired?

Many home owners do not realize that smoke alarms actually expire. All smoke alarms, even hard wired ones, need to be replaced every ten years. For information on how to replace smoke alarms view our videos provided on this page.

Smoke Alarms Required

2007 Minnesota State Building Code and 2006 International Residential Code

R313.1 Single and multiple-station smoke alarms. All smoke alarms shall be listed in accordance with UL 217 and installed in accordance with the provisions of this code and the household fire warning equipment provisions of NFPA 72. Household fire alarm systems installed in accordance with NFPA 72 that include smoke alarms, or a combination of smoke detector and audible notification device installed as required by this section for smoke alarms, shall be permitted. The household fire alarm system shall provide the same level of smoke detection and alarm as required by this section for smoke alarms in the event the fire alarm panel is removed or the system is not connected to a central station.

R313.2 Location. Single and multiple-station smoke alarms shall be installed in the following locations:

  1. In each sleeping room.
  2. Outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms.
  3. On each additional story of the dwelling, including basements but not including crawl spaces and uninhabitable attics. In dwellings or dwelling units with split levels and without an intervening door between the adjacent levels, a smoke alarm installed on the upper level shall suffice for the adjacent lower level provided that the lower level is less than one full story below the upper level.

When more than one smoke alarm is required to be installed within an individual dwelling unit the alarm devices shall be interconnected in such a manner that the actuation of one alarm will activate all of the alarms in the individual unit. All smoke alarms shall be listed and installed in accordance with the provisions of this code and the household fire warning equipment provisions of NFPA 72.

R313.2.1 Alterations, repairs and additions. When alterations, repairs or additions requiring a permit occur, or when one or more sleeping rooms are added or created in existing dwellings, the individual dwelling unit shall be equipped with smoke alarms located as required for new dwellings; the smoke alarms shall be interconnected and hard wired.


  1. Inter connection and hard-wiring of smoke alarms in existing areas shall not be required to be hardwired where the alterations or repairs do not result in the removal of interior wall or ceiling finishes exposing the structure.
  2. Work on the exterior surfaces of dwellings such as the replacement of roofing or siding are exempt from the requirements of this section.
  3. Permits involving alterations or repairs to plumbing, electrical, and mechanical are exempt from the requirements of this section.

R313.3 Power Source. In new construction, the required smoke alarms shall receive their primary power from the building wiring when such wiring is served from a commercial source, and when primary power is interrupted, shall receive power from a battery. Wiring shall be permanent and without a disconnection switch other than those required for overcurrent protection. Smoke alarms shall be permitted to be battery operated when installed in buildings without commercial power or in buildings that undergo alterations, repairs or additions regulated by Section R313.2.1.