01/10/13 With half of home heating fires occurring during the winter, the Indiana State Fire Marshal’s office is reminding Hoosiers of the proper number and placement of smoke alarms in residences.

“Every winter, firefighters across the state respond to thousands of home fires caused by improper heaters, fireplaces, wood burning stoves, etc.,” said Indiana State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson. “Properly placed smoke alarms will give families the most of the few minutes they have to react in a fire.”

Smoke alarms should be installed on every home’s level and also should be placed near sleeping areas. Alarms that are hard wired need to be installed by a qualified electrician. Many fire departments will install smoke alarms and will provide assistance. Call local fire departments’ non-emergency phone number. Smoke alarms should be tested every month, and the batteries should be changed once a year. Learn more on fire safety at getprepared.in.gov.

There are two basic types of smoke detectors, Ionization alarms and photoelectric alarms. Ionization alarms sound more quickly when flaming, fast moving fire occurs. Photoelectric alarms are quicker at sensing smoldering, smoky fires. Special alarms that are a combination of these two are available as well.

There are also special smoke alarms for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. These alarms often use strobe lights and/or vibration. Smoke alarms can be purchased at your local hardware, home supply, or general merchandise stores and some fire departments offer smoke alarms for little or no cost.