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Smoke Detector Program
Smoke Detectors Are Required by Law - Change your clock, Change your battery

In 1992, Fairfield Fire Department set out to provide a courtesy smoke detector inspection for approximately 19,000 single and two family dwellings located in Fairfield. The objective of the program was to check for smoke detector compliance based on the town fire safety code (see below for summary). Prior to this effort, the Smoke Detectors of the Fairfield Fire Safety Code had been in existence since March 1981. Fire companies worked day and night to conduct these inspections. Personnel would identify problems to the home owners, place stickers where detectors were needed and offer to install detectors and batteries at no charge. Both the Town and the Fairfield Firefighters' Local 1426 purchased many detectors and donated them to seniors and indigent families. In January of 1993, after visiting over 17,000 homes, records indicated that 47% of the homes visited did not meet the minimum code at the time of the visit.


Since the previous policy of the department was ineffective, a more aggressive approach was taken. When Fire units respond to any type of call in a residence with the exception of emergency medical calls, firefighters check the house for smoke detector compliance. If the house does not meet code, a police officer is called to the scene and issues an infraction ($90.00).

Smoke detectors must be installed in all Town of Fairfield dwelling units.


The following diagrams illustrate the minimum protection required by law.

Where to locate the
basic smoke detector

The major threat from fire in a dwelling is at night when everyone is asleep. The principal threat to persons in sleeping areas comes from fires in the remainder of the house, therefore, basic smoke detector(s) are best located between the bedroom areas and the rest of the house. In homes with only one bedroom area on one floor, the basic smoke detector shall be located as shown in Figure 1.

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Figure 1. A basic smoke detector (indicated by cross) shall be located between the sleeping area and the rest of the house.

Homes with stairways

Most homes have one or more stairs. Heat from fire will carry smoke and toxic gases upward into stairs. A smoke detector is needed in or near each stairway including the basement, as shown in Figure 2. Stairs are usually a common path of exit and must be preserved as a possible escape route. Alternate escape routes should be planned and practiced during a fire drill at home. Note: A smoke detector is not required in stairs going to unoccupied areas, e.g. attic.

fig2sds.tif (1343442 bytes)
Figure 2. In homes with stairs a smoke detector (indicated by cross) should be at the head (top) of each.

Homes with more than one bedroom

In homes with more than one sleeping area or with bedrooms on more than one floor, more than one basic smoke detector will be needed as shown in Figure 3. Location of the smoke detector

fig3sds.tif (922450 bytes)
Figure 3. In homes with more than one sleeping area, a smoke detector (indicated by cross) should be provided to protect each.


IMPORTANT NOTE: Above examples illustrate minimum smoke detection requirements in residential units. Additional smoke detectors or an early warning fire detection system should be considered.