Daylight saving time is March 13, when we spring our clocks forward by an hour. It is also a great time to review your home fire safety and check your detectors. This semi-annual event offers and excellent opportunity to ensure fire safety in the home by changing smoke-detector batteries and practicing Exit Drills in the Home, or EDITH.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, roughly two-thirds of home fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or working smoke alarms. The most commonly cited cause of non-working smoke alarms is worn or missing batteries. In fact, working smoke alarms cut in half the risk of dying in a home fire. In addition, experts recommend replacing your smoke alarms every ten years and testing smoke alarms regularly by pushing the test button.
Checking the detector
Changing smoke alarm batteries at least twice a year is one of the simplest, most effective ways to reduce tragic deaths and injuries. Non-working smoke alarms rob residents of the protective benefits home fire safety devices were designed to provide.
Observe proper installation practices
- Smoke detectors should be installed on every level of the home, outside sleeping areas and inside bedrooms
- A smoke alarm should be installed and maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Consider placing alarms along your escape path to assist in egress in limited visibility conditions.
- In general you should place alarms in the center of a ceiling or, if you place them on a wall, they should be 6- to 12-inches below the ceiling.
- Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button. Make sure they are clean and not obstructed by dust or paint.
- Replace the smoke alarm immediately if it doesn’t respond properly when tested.
- Smoke alarms with non-replaceable (long-life) batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the alarm chirps, a warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away.
- For smoke alarms with any other type of battery, replace batteries at least once a year. If the alarm chirps, read the manufactures directions to see if it is a low battery or malfunction.