Maintaining smoke and fire alarms It is important to have smoke and fire alarms installed, tested and maintained. Should a fire occur while inhabitants are asleep, an alarm would enable the residents to escape in time. It also serves as a warning to neighbors, who can call the fire department while the inhabitants evacuate. It also alerts neighbors, in case the fire is able to spread. It is critical to routinely test smoke and fire alarms. Some devices run on batteries, while others are hardwired, but have backup batteries should electricity fail. In both cases, the batteries should be replaced once every year, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Those who reside in houses may have to call the fire department in the event of a fire, while apartment complexes have hardwired units that send an automatic signal to fire departments. In case of a fire, always use the stairs and stay low, as smoke rises. If the fire alarms are triggered, elevators are programmed to go to the bottom floor and remain open. Space heaters are useful devices but require constant attention. By maintaining your unit and keeping up with your smoke and fire alarms, the winter months can be enjoyed without danger.