Install smoke alarms on every level of your home. Including the basement. Make sure there is an alarm in or near every sleeping area.
Mount the smoke alarm high on walls or ceilings. Remember that smoke rises. Ceiling-mounted alarms should be installed four inches from the nearest wall. Wall-mounted alarms should be four to twelve inches from the ceiling.
If you have pitched ceilings, install the alarm at the highest point.
Don't install smoke alarms near windows, doors, or ducts where drafts might interfere with the detection of smoke.
Hard-wired alarms can work as network-sounding alarms in all areas of the house. Make sure hard-wired alarms have battery backups.
Don't paint or decorate smoke alarms, because they may not work properly.
Keep your smoke alarms working properly:
Test your smoke alarms once a month.
Replace your smoke alarm batteries once a year.
Never borrow a battery from a smoke alarm.
Don't disable smoke alarms.
Regularly dust or vacuum smoke alarms.
Replace smoke alarms every 10 years.
Make sure everyone in your house can be awakened by a smoke alarm.
Plan fire drills with your family twice a year. Make sure children and disabled have assistance in escape.
Hold a drill at night to make sure sleeping family members wake up to alarm.
If you are building a new home or remodeling consider installing an automatic fire sprinkler system.