Where to Place Smoke Alarms, CO Detectors and Fire Extinguishers in Your Home

Understanding the how to help protect your home and family from fire or carbon monoxide is a top priority. For whole home safety, follow these recommendations on the placement of home smoke detectors, carbon monoxide alarms and fire extinguishers.

Home Smoke Detectors

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends placement of at least one home smoke detector on every level of your home (including your basement and attic), inside every bedroom, and outside each sleeping area. Make sure they’re installed high on walls or ceilings, and at least 10 feet away from cooking appliances. When installing on the wall, place the alarm at least 12 inches from the ceiling. This is because smoke rises and will make the alarms the most effective.

Carbon Monoxide Alarm

The NFPA recommends installing a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm, like smoke alarms, on each level of your home, inside every bedroom, and outside each sleeping area. Make sure they’re also installed near attached garages in case a car is left running, and anywhere else the manufacturer recommends.

However, not every spot is ideal. The following spots can create false alarms or prevent your carbon monoxide alarm from properly identifying dangerous CO levels in your home:

- Too close to any fuel-burning appliance, at least 10 feet away

- Humid areas like your bathroom

- In direct sunlight

- Places where there’s too much air circulation, like near fans or vents

Most importantly, don’t forget to test home smoke and carbon monoxide detectors at least once a month and to change the batteries every six months.

Fire Extinguishers

While it’s recommended that there’s a fire extinguisher in every level of your home, there are a few key places that are priorities when deciding placement.

- Kitchen: With a majority of house fires starting in the kitchen, this is the most important room to have a fire extinguisher.

- Garage/Workshop: Garages are home to many combustible and flammable items along with spark generating tools.

- Laundry Room: Lint is highly flammable making the dryer a common cause of house fires.

- Near Sources of Heat: This includes patio grills, fireplaces, chimneys, furnaces, wood stoves, and electrical panels.

A home fire extinguisher can save lives by putting out small fires or containing them until help arrives, but it’s important to remember that they have their limitations. Your priority should be exiting your home safely.

See below for recommended placement for smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, and fire extinguisher in your home:

Where to place smoke alarms, CO detectors and fire extinguishers