The Honolulu Fire Department on fire safety at home

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Home fires are incredibly dangerous and can happen at any time during the day. Luckily, most house fires are preventable with smoke detectors. The small devices placed on your ceiling or wall are capable of detecting smoke or CO2 within the home.

“When you’re sleeping, and all of a sudden you hear this chirp chirp, and it just keeps going. It’s your smoke alarm. That sound is one sound we that we should learn, and know what to do,” says Captain Cris Bartolome, Fire Captain. The smoke alarm will beep differently according to what it’s detecting. If its smoke, it will beep three times. If it’s CO2, it will quickly beep 4 times. If there is a single beep, it’s time to change the battery. If the beep continues, Captain Bartolome says it’s time to replace the unit.

Upkeeping and maintaining your smoke alarm could save your life. It’s recommended to change your alarm every 7-10 years. Once a month, press the test button to see if the alarm goes through a cycle of beeps. If it doesn’t, it’s time to change the alarm.

Smoke detectors should be placed in bedrooms and hallways that lead to bedrooms. For buildings with multi-stories, retailers sell bedside alert systems that detect the smoke alarm, flashes a strobe light, and vibrates a pad that’s placed under a pillow or mattress. Most believe that the kitchen should have one as well, but Captain Bartolome says that cooking shouldn’t be left unattended. If a fire does happen to break out, the person cooking can respond to it appropriately.

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