Smoke detectors/Smoke Alarms

Random :thought_balloon::thinking: Post.

Please delete if not allowed

For those of us who are disabled (wheelchair user) and also live alone. I was just thinking about the fact that Smoke Alarms/detectors that are inside our apartment or house; ARE NOT wheelchair user friendly. I was wondering why? They are way to high up for most of us to reach. I wonder how we as a collective whole community can get that changed? I know it will take a lot of research/testing to see if it’s possible to get them to be placed lower. I am also wondering what do y’all do when your alarm goes off for any reason.

       Just thinking out loud
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I had a friend who called the fire department.

A friend or neighbor?


I live on an apartment complex and our maintenance department routinely mo itirs tte detectirs in thus apartment. There are mandatory checks performed on a scheduled basis where maintenance enters each apartment and checks the alarms and batteries and fire extinguishers.
I did maue a complaint with our office 2 years ago because I was reading one Sunday afternoon and someone started banging on my back patio door abd it scared me because no one comrs to my back door as it fronts the grassy area leading down to our pool. Then about 10 minutes later there is someone pounding on my front door. It realky scares me because there was helking and I questioned if somrobe had tge wrobg apartment and it might be a domestic situation. I dialed 911 and explained. Tge dispstchercinfirmrd me thst both tge poluce and fire departments were on site because there was an apartment fire. I opened my back door to see people milling all around out there plus a fire truck. The fire department cane in 9n 3 occssions to check my gyest bedroom wall as the fire was in the apartment that shared that wall. It wss an electric fire. The guy living there had to move out for about a week while they cleaned and sanitized snd repainted the apartment. The pounfing was hiw I was being notified something was going on. I told them that was a very poor way of communicating danger. I have all types of alarms and lights in my apartment as it is an ASA unit. Why did they not use those? I never really got a response. In addition to the built- in system, I have aan alarm I wear around my neck. In addition to the system sitting in my living room, I have a portable unit that I put in my purse so thstcmy sustem works any where I am because it works off of cell towers.

As to how to check your systens, I know that locally in SC if you call the non emetgency number your local fire department will cone and vhrck out your system. I know in the past they changed batteries and even provided new systems to those who needed them. I would suggest calling your local department.

Detectors are mounted high because that’s where the smoke and heat rises to.
CO (carbon monoxide - also quite deadly and called the ‘silent killer’) detectors are mounted low because CO is heavier than normal air and sinks.
Despite the hassle and frustration, please don’t mount your smoke detectors lower. It’s not safe. Keep a long stick handy to push the silence button.


I often wondered this but was shared the information from a Fireman when I was in an apt…just like what rb1 mentioned.

I have been living in my van for some time…which is VERY hard when one is “physically challenged”

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The reason fire alarms are placed so high is that smoke rises. You can put fire alarms lower but you do not get as much advance warning. My son hung fire alarms for us and put them a bit lower so they would be easier to reach. He also added many more of them than standard and put easily reachable fire extinguishers everywhere. I have a good and thoughtful son.

They are set where the smoke hits them. Too low would not work. Many Fire Depts will change batteries if you A ok t doesn’t

I like the suggestions to ask your local fire department. However, smoke alarm batteries tend to die at 2 AM for some reason.
I hereby give this idea to some inventor handy with tools. A smoke detector mounted on a ceiling at the top of a wall. A wire comes down the wall to an easily-opened battery pack mounted on the wall about 3-4 feet off the floor. Yeah it will look odd, but it will be great for those of us who can’t do ladders and/or ceilings!

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It took many years of trials and testing at Underwriters Laboratories. They not only tested devices, but in the process learned a great deal about physics of fire.

All the results came together in the design and placement recommendations. Now I will shout to the mountain tops.


With the materials used for construction and interior goods, you have less than 4 minutes to escape. Don’t go looking for it.

From a retired paramedic, former volunteer firefighter and daughter & sister of firefighters, fire marshals and arson investigators. For your future health.

My company offers this service, we are in Las Vegas but there are Mobility City’s nationwide and growing. Call and ask your local mobility store if they would be willing to assist. Even better if you call a Mobility City :slight_smile: or in Las Vegas call 702-476-6687 we would be more then happy to come by and change those out.

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I totally agree with you. I am glad you understand what I was trying to say in my post. Your suggestion is great in my opinion.

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I disagree with your comment. Just because a smoke detector/alarm goes off; that doesn’t mean you need to get out of the house. You could be cooking & be right there at the stove. I have been cooking before & the smoke detectors go off because the grease got to hot. Your alarm can sound if you need to change the battery.

Thank you for your comment. I went on your website. I don’t see on your website where you offer a service to wheelchair user a smoke detector/alarm; that is easy to reach if need be. Can you please provide a link to the actual product and description?

I hope your friend did not get charged a fee or ticket for calling the fire department to change the battery for them.

This would be a brand new service freshly offered, what location are you in and I’ll reach out on your behalf? I’m working on getting the wording for you as well.

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Being a retired fireman, and also disabled, I can tell you that the smoke alarm needs to be on the ceiling for a reason. One smoke rises, two heat rises, and it goes instantly to the ceiling in your home or condo or apartment. If you put it on any wall in your home in the heat sensation fire or smoke was not on that side where the detector is and the smoke and heat gather on the ceiling, you can die from common monoxide poisoning. It’s not the best answer, but it’s an honest answer. I don’t know where you live, but Coolio local fire department with a volunteer or paid and ask them to come over and help you change your smoke/heat detector and your carbon monoxide detector. Also, make sure you ask your find apartment representative for us to go that goes on the outside window of your home that shows you are disabled. They have one for wheelchairs which alerts them that you’re not mobile in the house/home. It’s a fairly large, silver and red sticker that you affixed to your inside window so it shines out. Also, call your local firehouse and have them put your info in their system So should you call Dino immediately your history and respond quite efficiently. Good luck in your endeavors.

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As someone who has a bad back and uses a scooter yes they can be annoying.

@k.bolling79 Hi! Staff member here :slight_smile:

It’s totally fine that this post isn’t about travel specifically - happy to have conversation about all things accessible, and it seems like this question and thought really resonated with people! And that’s what matters most. Glad to have your voice here.


This is very appropriate. I have the same problem. I use canes in the house, a rollator when out. I cannot climb the step ladder, nor can my disabled husband. So, right now, our smoke detectors need batteries.

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