Sister Lakes Volunteer Fire Department

​92282 CR 690, Dowagiac, MI 49047
Phone: 269-424-3145  Fax: 269-424-5560

Sister Lakes Volunteer Fire Department

Most fatal home fires happen at night, while people are asleep. Did you know the smell of smoke usually won't wake you, in fact, the gases in the smoke can put you in an even deeper sleep? Smoke detectors give you time to escape cutting your risk of dying in home fire nearly in half.

Choosing a Detector

Many brands can be found in hardware and discount stores. Be sure the detector bears the label of the State Fire Marshal and a testing laboratory, like U.L. Some detectors run on batteries, electric current, or a combination of both. All approved detectors will offer adequate protection as long as they are maintained and tested regularly.

How Many Is Enough?

Install at least one smoke detector on every level of your home, including
one in every bedroom and outside each sleeping area. Don't place them in
bathrooms, garages and kitchens where steam, exhaust, and cooking fumes
​could set off false alarms.

How to Install

Smoke rises so mount detectors on the ceiling at least 4 inches from the nearest wall. If the ceiling is pitched, install near the highest point. If wall mounting, make sure it is 4 - 12 inches from the ceiling.

Detectors should be located at every level of a home - first floor, second floor, basement, and attic if it is furnished - and inside every separate sleeping area. If hallways are 40 feet in length, detectors should be located at each end of the hallway.


  • Never remove the battery without immediately replacing it. Test weekly by pushing test button. Change the battery at least once a year. An easy way to remember to change your batteries is when you turn your clock back in the fall. Change your clock, change your battery!
  • If your battery powered detector "chirps" or gives out some other unusual noise, the battery probably needs to be replaced.
  • Clean smoke detectors. They get dirty and dust can affect their sensitivity. Use an attachment on your vacuum cleaner.

When the Detector Sounds...

How you respond in a fire is just as important as having a working smoke detector.

  • Plan your escape - know two ways out of each room. Pick a safe meeting place outside your home so you know everyone made it out.
  • Remember to crawl low under smoke and stop, drop and roll if your clothes catch on fire.
  • Never go back into the home. Call the fire department from a neighbor's phone.

Safety Tips