Smoke Alarms

Project S.A.F.E.

(Smoke Alarms and Fire Education)

All fire departments throughout Gaston County participate in this FREE smoke alarm program.

Gaston County residents living in a home that does not have a “working” smoke alarm are eligible to receive them free of charge. This program was not intended to apply to rental properties since Landlords are already required by law to install a properly operating smoke alarm(s), however, if necessary we will work with you and your Landlord to ensure the best possible fire safety defense.   

To request a smoke alarm(s), homeowners (must live in the home) should:       

  1. Go online to  
  2. Click on How Do I…
  3. Click on Get
  4. Click on Free Smoke Alarm
  5. Fill out the Smoke Alarm Request Form
  6. Information will be sent to your fire department
  7. A fire department representative will contact you to schedule a date/time for installation       


Smoke Alarm Facts:

Smoke detectors are designed to alert people to seek safety in the event of fires in dwellings and other buildings. But merely having the devices installed is not enough to ensure safety. Care and consideration must be given to choosing the right smoke detectors, proper installation and ensuring regular testing and maintenance.

Why you need them:

On average around 3,000 people die in residential fires every year in the United States, and the majority succumb to smoke or other deadly gasses. Meanwhile, National Fire Protection Association statistics show the death rate for every 100 reported fires was more than twice as high in homes without smoke detectors than at dwellings equipped with the devices. Simply put, smoke detectors provide the warning people need to clear out of buildings before flames and smoke become so intense that escape becomes impossible.

Safety Tips:

Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires, and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, both types of alarms or a combination alarm (photoelectric and ionization) should be installed in homes.
Test alarms at least monthly by pushing the test button.
Smoke rises; install smoke alarms following manufacturer's instructions high on a wall or on a ceiling. Save manufacturer's instructions for testing and maintenance.
Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least once a year. If an alarm “chirps”, warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away.
Replace all smoke alarms, including alarms that use 10-year batteries and hard-wired alarms, when they are 10 year old or sooner if they do not respond properly.
Be sure the smoke alarm has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
Alarms that are hard-wired (and include battery backup) must be installed by a qualified electrician.
If cooking fumes or steam sets off nuisance alarms, replace the alarm with an alarm that has a "hush" button. A "hush" button will reduce the alarm’s sensitivity for a short period of time.
An ionization alarm with a hush button or a photoelectric alarm should be used if the alarm is within 20 feet of a cooking appliance.
Smoke alarms that include a recordable voice announcement in addition to the usual alarm sound, may be helpful in waking children through the use of a familiar voice.
Smoke alarms are available for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. These devices use strobe lights. Vibration devices can be added to these alarms
Smoke alarms are an important part of a home fire escape plan.


© 2022 Gaston County Fire Fighters Association