Lesson Plans: Smoke Alarms
- Identify the purpose of smoke alarms.
- Identify where smoke alarms should be installed.
- Identify how to keep smoke alarms in working order.
Materials: Smoke alarm, batteries
Background: FireSafety.gov Kids Smoke Alarm Page
- Ask students if they know what smoke alarms are and why they should have them in their homes.
- Smoke alarms help protect families by making a very loud beeping noise to warn that smoke is in the air or a fire has started.
- Sometimes, especially at night when people are sleeping, they may not see fire, smell smoke or wake up in time to get out safely.
- Smoke alarms provide an early warning signal for escape from fire.
- Demonstrate what a smoke alarm looks like and the sound it makes when it detects smoke.
- Ask students what they should do if they hear a smoke alarm sound.
- They need to follow their home fire escape plan and get out fast.
- Ask students if they know where smoke alarms should be installed.
- Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of the home, including the basement.
- For extra safety, install smoke alarms both inside and outside the sleeping area.
- Smoke alarms should be installed on the ceiling or on the side walls 6 to 8 inches below the ceiling.
- Ask students how often they think the batteries in smoke alarms should be changed.
- Batteries should be changed at least once a year and tested monthly to make sure they are working.
- Show students where the batteries go in a smoke alarm.
- Press the test button to demonstrate it is working properly. Also, remind students that alarms need to be kept clean from dust. This can be done by running a vacuum cleaner attachment over and around them.
- Conclude the lesson by telling students they can keep their homes safe from fire by helping grown-ups remember to:
- put smoke alarms in the home, especially near bedrooms
- test smoke alarms monthly to make sure they are working
- replace with brand new batteries at least once a year
- keep smoke alarms clean from dust
Smoke Alarm Safety Check for Parents
Smoke alarms are very easy to install and take care of. To help teach your children about smoke alarms, ask them to help you install and maintain them.
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement.
- Many fatal fires begin late at night or in the early morning. For extra safety, install smoke alarms both inside and outside the sleeping area.
- Also, smoke alarms should be installed on the ceiling or 6 to 8 inches below the ceiling on side walls. Since smoke and many deadly gases rise, installing your smoke alarms at the proper level will provide you with the earliest warning possible.
- Always follow the manufacturer's installation instructions.
- Each month, ask your child to help you test all of the alarms in the home. This would also be a good time to make sure your alarms are clean and free of dust.
- Ask your child to pick at least one special day a year, like a birthday, holiday or other special event. Designate that day as "Smoke Alarm Safety Day" and replace all of the batteries in your smoke alarms with new ones. If your home has "hard-wired" alarms (connected to the household electrical system), they may or may not have battery back-up.