Smoke detectors, and their placement, focus of October’s Fire Prevention Month

By Chief Chad Follick - Vandalia Division of Fire

Placement of smoke detectors is the focus of this year’s Fire Prevention Month

Every year the National Fire Prevention Association uses the month of October as a springboard to discuss nationally a fire prevention issue or topic. Here in Vandalia, we use the NFPA topic as the theme for our annual open house.

This year the theme deals with the proper placement of smoke detectors.

We know that working smoke detectors are the best line of defense for your family’s safety in the event of a fire. We’ve been on numerous calls where tragedy is averted because a working smoke detector alerted a family to a fire in time for them to get out of the house safely.

Unfortunately we have also been on calls win which there was no smoke detector installed. Those stories sometime end in the tragic loss of life.

On the national scene, experts have long been thinking about the best location in your home for a smoke detector. For many years, the recommended placement of a working smoke detector was in a common area just outside of the sleeping quarters. The thinking on this issue has evolved, and now we are changing that recommendation.

Today we are advising people that the best pace to locate a smoke detector is inside of every bedroom in the house. Research shows that some people, particularly younger children, do not always hear an outside hallway smoke detector while in a deep sleep. The revised recommendation increases the likelihood that every person in the home will be able to hear the alarm while there’s still time to get out.

And while we’re talking about the “do’s and don’ts” of fire safety, I’d like to offer a couple more suggestions.

The best thing you can do for your family is to practice fire evacuations. Tell your children that they should immediately leave the home when awakened by a smoke detector. As a part of your fire plan choose a meeting place outside of your house, such as your front sidewalk, where every family member knows to report.

And when you hear the smoke detector go off, your first priority is to get out of the house. Do not attempt to fight the fire. Do not call 9-1-1 from inside your home. Call from a neighbor’s house.

The Vandalia Division of Fire is available to help you best locate your smoke detectors. We can also help you acquire enough smoke detectors for your home, and we can check them to make sure they’re working properly. We also have plenty of spare batteries. We want to team up with you to make sure your home and your family are as safe as they can possibly be.

One other note, our Division of Fire open house is scheduled for Sunday, October 4, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Fire Station #1, 8705 Peters Pike. This is a very big event for us, and everyone is invited. We’ll be giving free fire engine rides. We’ll have a limited number of free bicycle helmets to distribute, and we’ll have staff on hand to make sure your child gets one that fits. We’ll have lots of great safety information and fire safety demonstrations. Please make plans to join us for this fun event.

By Chief Chad Follick

Vandalia Division of Fire

Reach Vandalia Fire Chief Chad Follick at 898-2261 or by email at

Reach Vandalia Fire Chief Chad Follick at 898-2261 or by email at