How many alarms should I have in my home and where do I put them?

The following statements are from the 2010 edition of the National Fire Alarm Code as published by the NFPA:

1. There are two types of fires to which household warning equipment needs to respond. One is a rapidly developing high heat fire. The other is a slow smoldering fire. Either can produce smoke and toxic gasses. 2. Chapter 29 requires smoke detectors in accordance with 29.5.1.1 and recommends heat or smoke detectors in all other major areas.

3. In addition to smoke detectors outside of the sleeping areas, Chapter 29 requires the installation of a smoke detector on each additional story of the living unit, including the basement.

4. For new construction, all smoke detectors specified in 29.5.1.1 for existing construction are required, and, in addition, a smoke detector is required in each bedroom.

5. While Chapter 29 does not require heat detectors as part of the basic protection scheme, it is recommended that the householder consider the use of additional heat detectors for the reasons presented under A-29.5.1. The additional areas lending themselves to protection with heat detectors are the kitchen, dining room, attic (finished or unfinished), furnace room, utility room, basement, and integral or attached garage.