Smoke detectors are necessary to keep your home safe. They warn you if there is a fire in your home giving you time to exit safely. They are fairly inexpensive, so you should always have working detectors in your home.
How Do I Test the Detector?
To test an existing detector, press the test button. This will tell you if the battery is working. Assuming it is, you can light a candle below the detector. Blow it out and let the smoke from the candle rise. If the detector doesn't go off, you can clean it, but it might be time for a new detector altogether. The battery should be replaced every year.
What Is the Best Location for Smoke Detectors?
The best place to put smoke detectors is just inside the doorway entrance, about 12 to 24 inches inwards on the ceiling. You should never put a smoke detector in a corner. In the event of a fire, when the smoke enters from outside the room it will enter through the doorway. Thus the alarm will catch it as soon as possible. If the detector were in the middle of the room, the smoke would have to travel further to reach the detector.
Valuable time is then lost before the warning alarm goes off. Those lost minutes may mean the difference between having enough time to escape and being trapped inside, or life and death. Practice fire drills. Have a planned escape route and a meeting place outside. Having multiple escape routes is best. If one fails, resort to the other.
If there are kids in the house, they too must know the escape plans. Be sure to practice the plans, have the tools needed to break windows on hand, and have escape ladders if needed. It's best to have a smoke detector in every room if possible, and one in a central hallway if there is one. Don't forget to put smoke detectors in attics and basements as well.
Test smoke detectors monthly and replace batteries yearly. It's cheap insurance.