There have been far too many homes catching on fire in the Rockford area this last year; it's scary. Yes, several of these homes were vacant properties, but the loss of money, possessions, and some cases lives, could have been saved by one very important thing: a working smoke detector.

After the tragic loss of 22-month-old Matthew Raines in a house fire on North Winnebago Street in Rockford Monday morning, first responders are stressing the importance of having working smoke alarms on every level of your home.

Changing the batteries twice a year on all of your smoke alarms is vital for your family's safety, but knowing and doing these five things are extremely important as well.

Here are five vital things to know about smoke alarms according to vivint.com and huffingtonpost.com;

  1. Have a smoke alarm in every level of your home, in every cooking area and living room.
  2. Smoke alarms can be mounted on a wall, but no lower than 18 inches from the ceiling.
  3. It's recommended that you replace your smoke alarms every 10 years, even if they are still working properly. This way you know your family is being protected by the latest technology for detecting fire in your home.
  4. There are two different types of smoke alarms to choose from: photoelectric detection and ionization detection. Ionization detectors are more common, less expensive and better at detecting flaming fire. Photoelectric alarms are better at detecting smoldering fire and are slightly more expensive. Make sure you choose the type of alarm that is right for your family, or look for an alarm with both fire detecting abilities for the best protection possible.
  5. Have a professional install your smoke alarms, and make sure they are interconnected throughout your home so that when one goes off, they all go off.

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