Home Safety

Smoke Detectors

Each year, approximately 500,000 home fires occur in the U.S. resulting in 6,000 deaths and over 100,000 serious injuries. Most of these tragedies could be avoided if smoke detectors were maintained properly. The main problem is missing or dead batteries. As we go into the high fire season, when you change your clock, the North Riverside Fire Prevention Bureau wants you to make another change, a change that could save your life...the battery in your smoke detector. A working smoke detector alerts you and your family during the early stages of a fire, while you have time to make a safe exit. So mark your calendars to change your smoke detector battery when you change the clock for Daylight Savings Time. All smoke detectors need to be checked at least once a month, for both electric and battery operated types.

Smoke Detectors are available for purchase at the village hall for a nominal fee of $8. Free replacement batteries are available to senior citizens 55 or older through the Village's Handy Man Program.

Information on the best location for your smoke detector or if you would like to schedule a time for someone from the fire department to install them, please contact the fire department at 708-447-1981. This service is free of charge for the residents of North Riverside.


  • Every year 4000 Americans die in residential fires, most after being overcome by smoke while they were still asleep.
  • That installing smoke detectors increases your chances of surviving a fire by 50%.
  • Illinois Law requires all residents to maintain a working battery operated smoke detector on every level of the residence and within 15 feet of sleeping areas. If the dwelling is a single-family residence then smoke detectors need to be installed on every story including basements, but not unoccupied attic spaces.
  • In apartments Illinois State Law requires the owner to supply and install smoke detectors in all dwelling units and areas (laundry room and hallways). At time of possession the smoke detectors must be in operating condition. It is the responsibility of the tenant to maintain the units detector.
  • A smoke detector has a life span of approximately 10 years.
  • Smoke detectors need to be exercised/tested monthly. Batteries need to be replaced semi-annually.
  • Detectors should be cleaned monthly, never paint a smoke detector.
  • You may purchase smoke detectors at the Village Commons, 2401 S. Desplaines, for a nominal cost.
  • The fire department will install your smoke detector for you - FREE OF CHARGE.

For more information regarding this program or any other fire related safety information, contact the North Riverside Fire Department at 708-447-1981. Remember...smoke detectors save lives!!!!

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

New Law in Effect as of Jan 1, 2007
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas. It is produced when any fossil fuel such as propane, natural gas, coal, oil or gasoline is burned, and a build-up is caused by insufficient oxygen supplies. Over-exposure to CO can cause CO poisoning, which can lead to serious illness, even death.

Carbon Monoxide detectors are getting a lot of attention in the fight against CO poisoning. While the first line of defense is a regular inspection of your heating and ventilation system by a qualified contractor, a CO detector can be a useful second line of defense.

Install CO detectors nearest to bedrooms as possible, since you are most vulnerable to CO poisoning while sleeping. If your bedrooms are in different parts of the house, place separate detectors near each bedroom area. Additional CO detectors located at different levels of your home adds an extra measure of safety. Do not install in kitchens, garages or furnace rooms.

It usually take several hours or more for CO to increase to dangerous levels. If your CO detector goes off, get out of the house immediately and call 9-1-1 from another location. The 9-1-1 dispatcher will dispatch the fire department.

Following these tips will help to keep your family safe from CO:
  • Preventive maintenance - Have your furnace, venting system, and chimney inspected each year by a qualified contractor. Periodically check your furnace and water heater vent pipes for rust, corrosion, or damage. Replace pipes if necessary.
  • Avoid enclosed combustion - Never use your gas range to heat your home. Never burn charcoal in your home, garage, work shed, or recreational vehicle or in any enclosed area. Be sure your chimney flu is open each time you use your fireplace. Never run a car engine, lawn mower, snow blower or other combustion engine in a closed area like your garage or basement. When camping, do not operate a fuel-burning heater, lantern or range inside you tent or RV without proper ventilation. Always follow the manufacturer's directions for use.
  • Symptoms - Flu-like symptoms can include headaches, dizziness, nausea, coughing and irregular breathing and heartbeat. Victims may appear pale, but then develop a cherry red color on lips and ear tips. Be suspicious if everyone in your household is experiencing the same symptoms, especially animals, because they can't get the flu.
  • First aid - Get fresh air immediately! Go to a neighbor's house and call 9-1-1 immediately, even if the victim appears to be recovering.


The North Riverside Fire Department reminds you of an important new law that will take effect on January 1st, 2007. Beginning with the new year, every dwelling unit will be required to have at least one approved carbon monoxide alarm in an operating condition within 5 feet of every room used for sleeping purposes. Alarms can be battery-powered, plug-in with battery backup or wired into the AC power line with a secondary battery back-up. The alarm can be combined with smoke-detecting devices if the combined unit complies with specific standards and the alarm differentiates the hazard. This new law requires homeowners and landlords to install carbon monoxide detectors in all buildings containing bedrooms and sleeping facilities.

Primary features of the law are:
  • A "dwelling unit" means a room or suite of rooms used for human habitation and includes single-family residences, multiple family residences, and mixed use buildings.
  • If a structure contains more than one "dwelling unit," an alarm must be installed within 15 feet of every sleeping room in each "dwelling unit."
  • The owner must supply and install all required alarms. A landlord must ensure that the alarms are operable on the start date of a lease. The tenant is then responsible for testing and maintaining the alarm. A landlord is required to furnish one tenant per dwelling unit with written information regarding testing and maintenance.

To read the Illinois Carbon Monoxide Alarm Detector Act in its entirety, go to www.ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/ or feel free to contact the North Riverside Fire Department at 708-447-1981 for more information about carbon monoxide, the silent killer. Did you know that carbon monoxide is the number 1 cause of poisoning in North America? Carbon monoxide is difficult to detect as it is a colorless, odorless, tasteless and toxic gas produced as a byproduct of combustion. Because you can't see, taste, or smell it, carbon monoxide can kill you before you know it is there.