P.A.L.S. (Providing Assistance for Life Safety) 

Smoke Alarm Program

Smoke alarms are an integral part of any home fire escape plan. Working smoke alarms alert occupants of fire danger and allow time for quick evacuation to a safer location. They also enable occupants to call 9-1-1 sooner for an emergency response. Smoke alarms can lessen the risk of dying in a fire by almost 50%. Though most homes in America have smoke alarms, it is estimated that one in three are inoperable.  In addition, it is recommended that smoke alarms be checked and cleaned monthly, for batteries to be changed yearly, and for smoke alarms to be replaced every ten years. 

The P.A.L.S. with Smoke Alarms Program assists qualifying York County residents with keeping operable alarms, particularly in and near sleeping areas, by providing and installing smoke alarms upon request. If you are a homeowner in need of assistance with the purchase or installation of smoke alarms or batteries, please contact the Department of Fire and Life Safety at (757) 890-3600 (M-F between 8:15 am and 5:00 pm). We will work with you to schedule a visit at the earliest convenience for you and your closest fire station personnel. 

When we visit your home, you will answer a few questions and fill out a Liability Waiver. In addition, we will provide you with general fire safety education and information for the care and maintenance of your smoke alarms. We will also conduct a quick walk-through to help you identify any noticeable safety hazards in your home. Please note that our fire personnel cannot assist or replace hard-wired smoke alarms unless the connectors are compatible. One would need to contact a licensed electrician for help with purchased hard-wired alarms that have different attachments.

If you have questions about smoke alarms or smoke alarms for the  hearing impaired, please contact us.

Smoke Alarm Tips:

  • Every home should have multiple working smoke alarms. 

  • The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) recommends a smoke alarm be placed inside every bedroom, outside every separate sleeping space, and on every level of your home, including the basement. 

  • Test smoke alarms every month by pushing the test button on the face of the alarm.

  • Change your batteries every year at Daylight Savings Time.

  • Follow the smoke alarm manufacturer’s recommendations for installing, cleaning, and maintaining the alarm.

  • Replace any smoke alarms that are ten years old or greater.

  • If the manufacturer date for the smoke alarm is unknown, replace the alarm.

  • Landlords are responsible for supplying and installing smoke alarms for their tenants. This will help to reduce property loss, injury, and death.


You can find more information on smoke alarms, Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors, fire escape planning, and emergency preparedness from the U.S. Fire Administration or the National Fire Protection Association.

Helpful Links:

Smoke Alarm Tip Sheet

Smoke Alarm Tip Sheet for Deaf or Hard of Hearing