Residential Smoke Alarm Assistance

Every year nearly 4,000 Americans die in home fires and approximately 20,000 are injured. Children and the elderly are especially at risk in home fires because they are less able to escape when fire strikes. There are approximately 500 carbon monoxide (CO) fatalities annually, and many more persons suffer flu-like symptoms from CO exposure. You can improve the chances that your family will survive a home fire or CO leak by installing smoke and CO alarms and knowing what to do if they sound.

How do I keep my smoke alarms working?
Smoke alarms are very easy to take care of. There are two steps to remember.

  1. Simply replace the alkaline batteries at least once a year or purchase long-life lithium batteries.
    Tip: Pick a holiday or your birthday and replace the batteries each year on that day. Some smoke alarms now on the market come with a ten-year battery. These alarms are designed to be replaced as a whole unit, thus avoiding the need for battery replacement. If your smoke alarm starts making a "chirping" noise, replace the batteries and reset it.
  2. Keep them clean. Dust and debris can interfere with their operation, so vacuum over and around your smoke alarm regularly.

What if the alarm goes off while I'm cooking?
Then it's doing its job. Do not disable your smoke alarm if it alarms due to cooking or other non-fire causes. You may not remember to put the batteries back in the alarm after cooking. Instead, clear the air by waving a towel near the alarm, leaving the batteries in place. The alarm may have to be moved to a new location.

How long will my smoke alarm last?
About eight-to-ten years, after which it should be replaced. Like most electrical devices, smoke alarms wear out. You may want to write the purchase date with a marker on the inside of your unit. That way, you'll know when to replace it. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for replacement.

Anything else I should know?
Some smoke alarms are considered to be "hardwired." This means they are connected to the household electrical system and may or may not have battery back-up. It's important to test every smoke alarm monthly. And always use new batteries when replacing old ones.

What should I do if my smoke alarm is activated and making a continuous alarming sound?
Call 911 immediately and vacate your residence until the fire department arrives and clears you to return to your residence.

What should I do if my smoke alarm is chirping intermittently or not working after being tested?
It is possible your smoke detector batteries need to be replaced or the smoke detector itself needs to be replaced.

Although AFMA does not endorse or assume any liability for any service over another, the following household services providers/referral companies may assist you in your smoke detector repairs/replacements:
These companies confirm the following for their referrals:
  • Are licensed and bonded.
  • Have proof of insurance.
  • Have an acceptable rating with the BBB.
  • Are in good standing with the state of AZ and/or ROC.
  • Interview the company owner/president and other key people.
  • Online reputation/customer experience is researched.



Dial 9-1-1

For All Emergencies
Official website for the Arizona Fire & Medical Authority, the Buckeye Valley Fire District, the North County Fire & Medical District, and the South County Fire & Medical District.
Phone: (623) 544-5400 | Email:
18818 N. Spanish Garden Drive, Sun City West, Arizona 85375