Smoke Alarm Installation and Home Safety Program

We are supporting the local, regional, State-wide and National efforts to reduce the possible spread of COVID-19. The Home Fire Safety Check program is suspended until further notice.
If you have an urgent or immediate need, please contact 311 for assistance or direction.
You may still sign up and we will be in contact when the program resumes. We do not have a projected date at this time.
We are offering assistance/consultation by phone. If you would like a return PHONE CALL, please note that in the "Additional Information" field.
Thank you for your understanding. Take care, be safe and stay well.

Fire Safety at Home

Request a home safety check

Smoke Alarm Installation Program

Having working smoke alarms properly installed in your home can dramatically increase the chances of surviving a fire. The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) offers free home safety checks to residents of Montgomery County, Maryland.

How do I know what type of Smoke Alarms I need?

The dates of Construction Permits dictate the type and location of Smoke Alarms. Smoke alarms powered by batteries alone are allowed if the home was built before building codes required hard-wired units. Effective January 1, 2018, these battery-only smoke alarms are required to be equipped with a 10-year, long-life nonremovable battery. For homes constructed after July, 1975 Code requirements mandate that smoke alarms be hard-wired directly into the home’s electrical system and have a battery back-up to keep the unit functioning during a power outage. To know what type of smoke alarms you need, gather the answers to these questions:
  1. What YEAR was the property built?
  2. Is the current system hard-wired with a battery back-up (the battery back-up is in the event of a power outage) or battery-only (not connected into your home’s electrical system) which are traditionally found in pre-1975 houses? 
  3. Where are the smoke alarms located? 
The department does not install or replace hardwired smoke alarms.

Most fires in the home start accidentally and the effects can be devastating.

It’s important that you know how to reduce the chances of a fire starting in your home and how to keep yourself, your family and your home safe from fire. On our website, you’ll find lots of information and tips to do just that. From kitchen safety to seasonal safety you’ll find time-tested ways to keep you and your family safe. 

Don’t forget, if there is ever a fire inside your home – get out, stay out and call 911 after you have escaped. And don’t ever try to fight a fire yourself.

Smoke alarms 

Working smoke alarms are essential as they provide vital early warning and allow extra time to escape if there is a fire in your home. They also may alert neighbors to the danger of fire. 

Smoke alarms are affordable and easy to install. They are available at most hardware and retail stores and on-line. 

Every home should have at least one working smoke alarm on every level of the home including the basement. Based on when your home was built, there may be additional code requirements which include smoke alarms in every bedroom.  To determine what your home requires  see smoke alarm requirments for more information.

How to make sure your smoke alarm works

  • Test your smoke alarms monthly using the “test” button.
  • Change the battery when the low battery warning operates.
  • Never disconnect or take the batteries out of your alarm if it goes off by mistake.
  • Do not try to remove batteries in 10-year smoke alarms as they cannot be removed or replaced and be design are sealed in.
  • All alarms, battery powered or hard wired, need to be replaced EVERY 10 years. Smoke alarms have an expiration date and only have a service life of 10 years.

Deaf or hard of hearing

Specially designed smoke alarms are available for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Please indicate on the request form that you need information regarding these types of alarms.

What is a home fire safety visit?

Representatives from the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service will visit your home and offer advice on how to make your home safe and where appropriate smoke alarms should be located and installed for free.

Who is eligible?

Residents of Montgomery County, Maryland may request a free home safety visit. The installation of free alarms is targeted to high risk individuals that include older people and senior citizens, individuals with mobility, vision or hearing impairments and residents who may have a disability or be economically challenged. A combination of these factors typically increases the risk of fire significantly.

Fire Safety Tips:

  • Check your smoke alarms: Test each smoke alarm monthly to make certain they are working.
  • Count your smoke alarms: We recommend installing a smoke alarm inside each sleeping room, in the areas outside each sleeping room and on every level of your home.
  • Vacuum your smoke alarms: Clean and dust smoke alarms each month to help keep them functioning properly.
  • Change your batteries: Change the batteries in each smoke alarm at least twice a year (during daylight savings) or as soon as the alarm “chirps” indicating the battery is low. Many newer smoke alarms have a ten-year battery sealed in the unit that will last for the life of the alarm and the batteries do not need to be changed. 
  • Change your alarm: Replace each smoke alarm every ten years and your carbon monoxide alarm according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Know the sound: Ensure each person in the home can hear and recognize the sound of the smoke alarm and knows how to react immediately. Assistive devices are available for those who are deaf or have other special needs.
If you are a Montgomery County resident and need a smoke alarm installed in your home, please fill out  this form to be contacted.

What Happens on Installation Day?

A representative from the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service will check your home’s smoke alarms to see if they are working properly. Batteries will be changed if necessary and smoke alarms found to be outdated or not working properly will be recommended for replacement. Trained personnel will identify hazards often unnoticed in the home. In most cases, a few simple maintenance and housekeeping procedures can make your home safer. Personnel will also fully explain how your new smoke alarm functions and how to maintain it.

What is Required?

To have a home safety check or smoke alarms checked/installed, a family member that is 18 years or older must be home. The family is asked to make a commitment to test their smoke alarms monthly, develop a home fire escape plan, practice escape routes regularly and maintain the smoke alarm in the home.

Fire Safety Education

At the time of the appointment, representatives will provide you and your family with education on developing and practicing fire escape routes, checking your smoke alarms, changing batteries and the importance of properly working smoke alarms in your home at all times.