Making Your Household Fire Safe

The Columbia Fire Department, the Columbia Professional FIre Fighters, and donations to the Share the Light Campaign allow the Columbia Fire Department to purchase smoke alarms for distribution to home owners who can not afford a smoke alarm(s) for their home. To receive a smoke alarm(s), please call the Columbia Fire Department at 573-874-7556. Limited quantities.

Because rental codes in Columbia require landlords to provide working smoke alarms in rental properties, we ask that if you rent, please contact your landlord if the smoke alarm(s) in your home are missing or not working. If your landlord refuses to correct the problem, you should contact the Protective Inspections Division – Rental Housing inspector at 573-874-7474. Remember though, as a renter, you have personal responsibility to maintain the smoke alarms and not intentionally disable or remove smoke alarms from the apartment or town home you are renting.

How fire-safe is your household? Use this simple checklist to find out if you are taking the right steps to protect your family.

Count Your Smoke Alarmsclipart house.

Be sure there is at least one smoke alarm installed on every level of your home, including one in every bedroom and outside of each sleeping area.

Change Your Smoke Alarm BatteriesChange Your Batteries

It only takes a moment, but this simple habit is the best defense your family has against the devastating effects of a home fire. The IAFC and fire experts nationwide encourage people to change smoke alarm batteries at least annually. An easy way to remember to do so is to “Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery.” This year, change the batteries in your smoke alarms when you change your clocks back to standard time.

Check Your Smoke AlarmsCheck your detector

After inserting a fresh battery in each smoke alarm, push the safety test button to make sure that the alarm is in proper working condition. Never disconnect your smoke alarm battery! Remember that a “chirping” alarm is a signal that it needs a fresh battery.

Clean Your Smoke AlarmsClean your detector

Ensure your smoke alarms’ sensitivity by cleaning them each month of dust and cobwebs.

Replace Your Smoke Alarms

Install brand new smoke alarms every ten years. When you must replace your smoke alarm, the Columbia Fire Department recommends replacing them with smoke alarms which use a lithium battery. These batteries are rated to last a minimum of 10 years and are sealed into the alarm and can not be removed; hence the smoke alarm can not be disabled. Most have silence buttons to quite the alarm in the event of a false alarm due to cooking, etc.

Residential Fire Sprinklers Save Lives

If your considering building or extensively remodeling your home, please consider the installation of residential Fire sprinklers. Learn more.

Change Your Flashlight Batteriesfire extinguisher

Keep flashlights with fresh batteries at your bedside for help in finding the way out and signaling for help in the event of a fire.


Install Fire Extinguishers

Install a fire extinguisher in or near your kitchen, and be sure that every family member knows how to use it. Learn about the types of fire extinguishers and how to use them.

Get The Whole Family Involved

Once smoke alarms are installed and have fresh batteries, you should also make sure family members – children in particular know what the alarms sound like and what to do should the alarms ever sound.

Make fire safety a family priority by:

  • Creating and practicing a home fire escape plan, including two ways out in case an exit is blocked by smoke or fire. Also, think about other things that may hinder your escape in the event of a fire, i.e. doors that lock from the inside, windows that may be stuck, etc.
  • Determining an outside meeting place away from your home that the family would gather after escaping a home fire.
  • Keeping an emergency phone list handy, including numbers for the fire department and immediate relatives.
  • Teaching children how and when to dial 9-1-1.