Fire Prevention and Education

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Smoke & CO Alarms General Information

Smoke alarms and Carbon Monoxide detectors have been proven to save lives! Are your batteries good? 

You know to change your batteries when you change your clocks (Daylight Savings), but did you realize that detectors expire? Be sure to check the date and replace smoke alarms within 10 years and CO alarms within 7 years of manufacture.  


Colorado does not have a state law requiring smoke alarms in residential occupancies. However,

the vast majority of local jurisdictions have adopted the International Code set, which requires

residential occupancies to be equipped with smoke alarms. America's fire death rate is one

of the highest per capita in the industrialized world. Fire kills approximately 3,000 and

injures approximately 20,000 people each year. The majority of deaths are in homes

without a working smoke alarm. A smoke alarm greatly reduces your chances of

dying in a fire. For more information, please view the: 



A carbon monoxide detector or CO detector is a device that detects the presence of

the carbon monoxide (CO) gas in order to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. CO is a

colorless and odorless compound produced by incomplete combustion. It is often referred

to as the "silent killer" because it is virtually undetectable without using detection technology.

Elevated levels of CO can be dangerous to humans depending on the amount present and length

of exposure. Smaller concentrations can be harmful over longer periods of time while increasing

concentrations require diminishing exposure times to be harmful. CO detectors are designed to measure

CO levels overtime and sound an alarm before dangerous levels of CO accumulate in an environment, giving

people adequate warning to safely ventilate the area or evacuate. You can view the Colorado Carbon Monoxide Law here


Per Larimer County Solid Waste, Household Hazardous Waste Division (contact 970-498-5771), homeowners may dispose of old smoke detectors with their household waste. They are encouraged to remove the batteries (when possible) before disposal. This is independent of detector type.

There are two common types of smoke detector found in residential homes - ionization and photo­electric detectors. Ionization smoke detectors contain a very minute amount of radioactive material known as Americium 241. Photoelectric-type smoke detectors do not contain any radioactive material. The amount of radioactive material contained in ionization smoke detectors is so small it does not pose a risk to human health, and when disposed in residential quantities is acceptable in Larimer County. Always check your local rules and regulations before attempted to dispose. 


Businesses/commercial ionization detectors should be returned to the manufacturer. If the manufacturer refuses to accept the return of the smoke detector, check with your local governmental agency or contact the Office of Sustainability via email at


When returning a detector to the manufacturer, include a note indicating the detector is to be disposed of, and mail it to the address listed on the back of the detector. For an address list to return detectors, please see this page by the US Postal Service. The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment provides information on how to dispose of a detector if you are unable to send it back

One Less Spark (click for resources)

The "One Less Spark—One Less Wildfire" campaign is designed to provide constant reminders during this fire season to reduce the numbers of vehicle and equipment fires throughout the state.

Click on the header or graphic for the One Less Spark Campaign Toolkit. Complete campaign information, educational materials, public service announcements, graphics, and more are provided for the use of wildfire prevention partners and the public.

The majority of wildfires are caused by human activity. That is why fire agencies need the public’s help to prevent them. Whether it’s ensuring a campfire or landscape debris burn of leaves and branches is completely extinguished, or keeping a vehicle well maintained to prevent sparks, following just a few simple steps can help prevent wildfires.

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After The Fire, Now What? (click for resources)

Two types of people emerge from disasters, survivors and victims and a little knowledge can make all the difference. The Red Guide to Recovery is a comprehensive, easy-to-read manual, that walks disaster survivors step-by-step through the recovery process. The information it contains puts survivors on a level playing field and also gives you the ability to prepare for recovery ahead of time. Many first responders refer to it as a literal recovery road-map.

Additional Resources: