Home Safety Tips

/Home Safety Tips

Home Safety Information

Fire Safety
Fires and burns continue to be a major cause of unintentional injury death at home. Particularly at risk are the very young and the very old. 



  • 80 percent of all fire deaths occur in the home (U.S. Fire Administration)
  • The leading cause of fire deaths is careless smoking (U.S. Fire Administration)
  • Having a working smoke detector more than doubles 1’s chances of surviving a fire (U.S. Fire Administration)
  • 3,675 people died in fires in the United States in 2005 – 1 person every 143 minutes. While the number of fires increased in 2005 over 2004, the number of deaths decreased 5.8 percent. (National Fire Protection Association).
  • In 2005, 106 firefighters died in the line of duty in the United States – down from 117 in 2004 (U.S. Fire Administration)
  • Adults 65 and older are more than twice as likely to die in fires as the overall population. (U.S. Fire Administration study)
  • People born in 2003 have a 1-in-1,100 lifetime odds of dying due to exposure to smoke, fire or flame. Odds in any given year are 1:86,000. (National Safety Council)

Is your home fire safe? Call the fire department for a free home fire safety consultation. 216-641-2134

Smoke Detector Installation & Maintenance

Newburgh Heights Fire Department Recommends PHOTOELECTRIC SMOKE DETECTORS for Residential Homes.

  1. Choose smoke alarms that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
  2. Install smoke alarms inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.
  3. On levels without bedrooms, install alarms in the living room (or den or family room) or near the stairway to the upper level, or in both locations.
  4. Smoke alarms installed in the basement should be installed on the ceiling at the bottom of the stairs leading to the next level.
  5. Smoke alarms should be installed at least 20 feet from a cooking appliance to minimize false alarms when cooking.
  6. Mount smoke alarms high on walls or ceilings (remember, smoke rises). Wall-mounted alarms should be installed not more than 12 inches away from the ceiling (to the top of the alarm).
  7. If you have ceilings that are pitched, install the alarm within 3 feet of the peak but not within the apex of the peak (four inches down from the peak). 


Note: Picture here is figure from NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code (2013 edition).


  1. Don’t install smoke alarms near windows, doors, or ducts where drafts might interfere with their operation.
  2. Never paint smoke alarms. Paint, stickers, or other decorations could keep the alarms from working.
  3. For the best protection, interconnect all smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds they all sound. Interconnection can be done using hard-wiring or wireless technology.
  4. When interconnected smoke alarms are installed, it is important that all of the alarms are from the same manufacturer. If the alarms are not compatible, they may not sound.
  5. There are two types of smoke alarms – ionization and photoelectric. An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires, and a photoelectric smoke alarm is more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, both types of alarms or combination ionization-photoelectric alarms, also known as dual sensor smoke alarms, are recommended by NFPA 72.
  6. Keep manufacturer’s instructions for reference.

Carbon Monoxide Detector Placement

There are a number of important factors to take into account when selecting the best place to install a carbon monoxide detector, and we will take you through the process step by step. Please read all of this information about where to install carbon monoxide detector carefully; after all when you consider that throughout the developed world Carbon Monoxide is the single largest cause of accidental poisoning, lives are depending on it.

Places within the Home

  1. Every Floor of your Home
  2. If your home has several levels, including basements and any attics that are used, then you will need detectors on each level.
  3. The reason for this is that a dangerous buildup of CO gas will often be trapped within a single level of your home. Your main living level might be quite safe, but you might go down to the basement only to receive a dangerous dose of Carbon Monoxide because you failed to have a detector there – don’t make this mistake.
  4. Near Bedrooms
  5. As is the case with smoke detectors, you want your CO detectors to wake you during the night if something goes wrong. This means that the most important place is near your bedrooms.
  6. We recommend that you have a carbon monoxide detector within 15 feet of each bedroom door, 10 feet is even better if you can afford more detectors. If two bedroom doors are 30 feet apart or less, then place one in the middle. If however they are more than 30 feet apart you will need more than one detector.
  7. Homes with attached Garages
  8. If you have an enclosed garage directly attached to the home, then you should also place a detector within 10 feet of the internal door to your garage. If a motor vehicle is left running in the garage, then a dangerous level of Carbon Monoxide can quickly build up inside your home. You should also place a detector in any room situated directly above your garage.

What height should carbon monoxide detector be installed?

  1. You must ensure you get your carbon monoxide detector installation height right. While some guides might recommend placing your detectors on the ceiling, we don’t agree.
  2. The specific gravity of Carbon Monoxide is 0.9657 (with normal air being 1.0), this means that it will float up towards the ceiling because it is lighter than regular air. However, when a buildup of dangerous levels of CO gas is taking place, this is nearly always due to a heat source that is not burning its fuel correctly (motor vehicle exhaust fumes are an exception). This heated air can form a layer near your ceiling which can prevent the Carbon Monoxide from reaching a ceiling detector.
  3. For this reason we strongly suggest that it is best to mount your detectors on the walls at least a couple of feet below the height of the ceiling.
  4. If your detector has a digital read-out, then we recommend placing it at about eye level so you can easily read it.
  5. If you have some other structure, like the exposed beam in this photograph which is positioned below the ceiling level, then you can attach your carbon monoxide detectors to it instead.


Places to Avoid

  1. Most importantly you want to avoid false positive readings from your detectors. To ensure your alarm goes off only when needed, you should place your detectors at least 15 feet away from any fossil fuel burning appliances such as:
  2. Gas powered Kitchen Stove/Oven
  3. Heating Furnace
  4. Fireplace
  5. Carbon Monoxide Detectors are designed to work within certain tolerances for temperature and humidity. For this reason you must avoid placing your detectors in any locations such as:
  6. Bathrooms
  7. In Direct Sunlight
  8. Close to Appliances that generate heat
  9. Other places to avoid include:
  10. Anywhere children can reach
  11. Open windows or anywhere else there might be a strong draft
  12. Behind curtains or any structure that might prevent Carbon Monoxide from reaching the sensor

How does Carbon Monoxide get into the house?

  1. Carbon Monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that is deadly.
  2. It is a by-product of a fuel burning process.
  3. It can cause symptoms that mimic the flu, such as headache, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, confusion, and can also cause unconsciousness and death.
  4. Many appliances around the home are capable of producing carbon monoxide when a faulty or unusual conditions exists.
  5. Most accidental deaths to CO Poisonings are due to:
  6. Indoor-heating systems.
  7. Stoves and other appliances.
  8. Water heaters.
  9. Automobile exhaust.
  10. Gas-powered electrical generators
  11. Charcoal grills.
  12. Camp stoves.
  13. Boat exhausts
  14. House fires.

If your Carbon Monoxide Detector goes off?

  1. Newburgh Heights Fire Department will responded to investigate a Carbon Monoxide Detector Activation and investigate your Carbon Monoxide problem.
  2. Using our MSA Altair 5X Multi-Gas Meter we will investigate and document our findings. We will advise you of what you will need to do to alleviate the Carbon Monoxide problem.