Learn More

  1. Smoke Alarms
  2. Close Your Doors
  3. Plan Your Escape
  4. Cooking with Safety
  5. When the Alarm Sounds
  6. Carbon Monoxide
  7. Fireworks
  8. Grilling & Fire Pits
  9. Fire Safety

Need a Free Smoke Alarm?

Free smoke alarms are provided to all city residents who can't purchase one on their own.  The Charlottesville Fire Department will also assist in installing a new smoke alarm purchased by the resident.

To request a free smoke alarm service, click here.

Working Smoke Alarms

  • Working smoke alarms save lives, cutting the risk of dying in a home fire in half. Smoke alarms should be installed and maintained in every home 
  • Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home. Install alarms in the basement. Larger homes may require additional smoke alarms to provide a minimum level of protection. 
  • Install smoke alarms away from the kitchen to prevent nuisance alarms. They should be at least 10 feet from a cooking appliance. 
  • Photoelectric smoke alarms are the best type of alarms to be installed near the kitchen and bathrooms to reduce nuisance alarms. 
  • New multi-criteria smoke alarm technology will state “helps reduce cooking nuisance alarms” on the packaging. Consider using new multi-criteria alarms when it is time to replace existing photoelectric or ionization alarms.

Testing & Cleaning Smoke Alarms

  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button. 
  • Make sure everyone in the home understands the sound of the smoke alarm and knows how to respond. 
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning to keep smoke alarms working. The instructions are included in the package or can be found on the internet. 

Battery & Smoke Alarm Replacement

  • Smoke alarms with non-replaceable (long-life) batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the alarm chirps, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away.
  • For smoke alarms that do not have non-replaceable (long-life) batteries, replace batteries at least once a year. If the alarm chirps, replace only the battery. 
  • Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old. 
  • Replace any smoke alarm that does not respond after a new battery has been installed. 
  • Replace combination smoke–carbon monoxide alarms according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.