Smoke Detector Check Program
Since 1997, the Smoke Detector Check Program has been an focused, ongoing community service that assures there is a working smoke detector in every home in Bedford. Firefighters, assisted by members of the Bedford Citizen Fire Academy Alumni Association, canvas pre-designated neighborhoods twice a year and go into any home where they are allowed, at no charge, to:
- Check smoke detectors for proper location and application
- Test the operation of each smoke detector and change batteries as required
- Replace out-of-date and non-working smoke detectors or add new smoke detectors
Firefighters offer to check smoke detectors each time they go into a home for any reason and, at appropriate times, after Emergency Medical Service (EMS) and fire incidents. In addition, Bedford residents may contact the Bedford Fire Department at 817-952-2500 and request firefighters to come out and check their detectors. This is a free service to Bedford residents.
- Why should I have smoke detectors in my home?
Smoke detectors are the single most important means of preventing fire fatalities in homes by providing an early warning signal – so you and your family can escape to safety.
- Where and how do I install smoke detectors?
Install smoke detectors on every level of your home, including the basement if you have one. For extra safety, install smoke detectors both inside and outside sleeping areas. Since smoke and many deadly gases rise, installing your smoke detectors at the proper level will provide you with the earliest warning possible.
In most cases, all you will need is a screwdriver to install a smoke detector. Be sure to follow the directions from the manufacturer because each brand is different. If you are unable or not sure what to do, contact the Bedford Fire Department at 817-952-2500 and firefighters will come to your home to install the detectors, free of charge.
- How do I keep my smoke detector working?
Smoke detectors are easy to maintain. Check and replace the battery, if needed when you change your clock during Daylight Saving Time in the fall and spring. Some smoke detectors on the market now come with a 10-year lithium battery. This type of smoke detector is designed to be replaced as a whole unit, thus avoiding the need for battery replacement.
If your smoke detector starts making a “chirping” noise, replace the batteries and retest it. Test your smoke detectors at least once a month by pushing the test button on the front of the smoke detector for a few seconds.
Smoke detectors will last about eight to ten years after the manufacturer date. This date is usually found on the back of the smoke detector or inside near the battery. You may also write the purchase date on the unit with a marker as a reminder. Like most electrical devices, smoke detectors wear out.
- What if the detector goes off while I’m cooking?
Your smoke detector is doing its job. Do not disable your smoke detector by removing the battery if it alarms due to cooking or other non-fire causes. Clear the air by waving a towel near the detector, and leave the battery in place. The smoke detector may have to be moved to a new location. If so, please call the Bedford Fire Department at 817-952-2500 and firefighters will be sent to your home for free assistance.
- What should I do if I have a “hard-wired” smoke detector?
Smoke detectors are considered to be “hard-wired” if they are connected to the household electrical system. These detectors may or may not have battery backup. These types of smoke detectors should be tested at least once a month. Notify your Home Security Monitoring Service before testing if your “hard-wired” smoke detector is connected to your home security system.
If a “hard-wired” smoke detector needs to be replaced, homeowners should contact a licensed electrician, as the Bedford Fire Department does not handle changing out these types of detectors.