Fire Safety

Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarms

The first step to fire prevention is to install smoke alarms inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. Larger homes may need additional smoke alarms to provide enough protection.

For the best protection, interconnect all smoke alarms so 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 combination ionization and photoelectric alarms (also known as dual sensor alarms) are recommended.

Smoke alarms should be installed away from the kitchen to prevent false alarms. Generally, they should be at least 10 feet from a cooking appliance.

Carbon monoxide alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards.

For the best protection, interconnect all carbon monoxide alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement and mounting height.

Choose a carbon monoxide alarm that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.

Test the carbon monoxide alarms at least once a month; replace them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

If the alarm sounds, immediately move to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door. Make sure everyone inside the home is accounted for. Call for help from a fresh air location and stay there until emergency personnel arrives.

If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Do not run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if the garage door(s) are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not covered with snow.

During and after a snowstorm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow build-up.

A generator should be used in a well-ventilated location outdoors away from windows, doors and vent openings.

Gas or charcoal grills can produce carbon monoxide – only use outside.

If you are in need of a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm –Tompkins County Healthy Neighborhoods Program at 607-274-6688 or Tompkins County Health Department at 607-274-6688.

Visit the Tompkins County Healthy Neighborhoods Program Website

Fire Safety Tip Sheets


Visit the NFPA website to read tip sheets on the causes of fire including:

  • Cooking 
  • Candles 
  • Religious candles 
  • Heating 
  • Smoking
  • Electrical 

Escape Planning & Unintentional Injuries

Tip Sheets on prevention and planning such as:

  • Escape Planning
  • Scald Prevention

Fire & Safety Equipment

Tips sheets from NFPA including:

  • Smoke alarms 
  • Smoke alarms for people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing 
  • Home fire sprinklers 
  • Carbon monoxide alarms 

Household Equipment

Visit NFPA for information on fire safety around household items:

  • 9-volt batteries 
  • CFL light bulbs
  • Clothes dryers
  • Gel fuel safety
  • NEW! Lithium ion batteries 
  • Medical oxygen 
  • Microwave ovens 
  • Portable fireplaces 
  • Portable generators 
  • Portable space heaters 
  • Security bars
  • Wood & Pellet stoves

Seasonal Equipment

Visit NFPA to view tip sheets on fire prevention around seasonal items such as:

  • Get Ahead of the Winter Freeze 
  • Halloween 
  • Thanksgiving 
  • Christmas trees
  • NEW! Winter storms


Learn about fire safety around occupancies such as:

  • Barn fire safety checklist
  • NEW! Fire alarms in apartment buildings
  • Safety in places of public assembly 
  • Campus fire safety 
  • Hotels/motels 
  • High-rise apartments/condominiums 
  • Manufactured homes