Smoke Detectors & Smoke Alarms

Smoke detectors are a key component of every home safety plan.  While a smoke detector can’t prevent a fire, it can and does save lives.  Smoke detectors provide a warning of fire which allows occupants time to escape.

  1. Three in every five home-fire deaths result from fires in homes with no smoke detectors (38%) or no working smoke detectors (21%).
  2. When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead. Dead batteries caused one-quarter (24%) of the smoke alarm failures.
  3. Interconnected smoke alarms throughout the home increase safety. When one sounds, they all sound. It is especially important to have interconnected alarms if you sleep with the door closed.

The City of Lancaster, referencing Section 907 of the International Fire Code, requires properties to have working smoke detectors that are either hard-wired with battery back-up or powered by a 10-year lithium battery on the ceiling or wall outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of bedrooms, in each bedroom or sleeping area, and in every habitable floor excluding kitchens and bathrooms.  This includes basements and cellars, as well as attics.  Full details can be found be referencing the City Code here (link). It is the property owner’s responsibility to provide and maintain smoke detectors that are in working condition and meet the conditions of the adopted Code.


To help the citizens of Lancaster City improve their fire safety habits, the Lancaster Bureau of Fire has a residential smoke detector program for owner-occupied properties.  For eligible and approved applicants, 10-year lithium smoke detectors will be provided and installed at no charge to the homeowner for one instance.


The program is offered year-round but subject to availability as detectors are provided to LCBF by the Lancaster City Fire Foundation, a non-profit program that is committed to supporting the LCBF and its’ efforts. Rental units are not eligible for the smoke detector program.


Residential Smoke Detector Program – Criteria for Eligibility

  1. The applicant must own and occupy the residence.
  2. Functioning smoke detectors are not present or are in the wrong locations.
  3. Applicant must complete and sign application and liability forms.

Fire Marshal Contact


(717) 291-4869



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