Richmond, Va. –
Daylight Saving Time is almost here, and when you change your clocks on Nov. 3, make sure you change the batteries in your smoke detectors, too.
The National Fire Protection Association has reported that, in home fires where smoke alarms were present but not operational, nearly half had alarms with missing or disconnected batteries, nearly 25% had alarms with dead batteries, and the disconnections were due to nuisance alarms.
Preventing fires is a smoke alarm’s only job – make sure your smoke alarm is up to the task.
- Install an alarm in every bedroom and/or outside every sleeping area, and on every level of the home.
- New construction requires hard-wired smoke alarms with battery backups. Connect your alarm systems if you can; when one goes off, the others will sound as well.
- Test your alarms once a month by pressing the test button.
- Install alarms at least 10 feet away from cooking appliances. Do not remove the battery if an alarm goes off while you’re cooking; press the hush or silence button.
- Never paint over a smoke alarm.
- Replace entire units at least every 10 years or according to the manufacturer’s directions, whichever is sooner.
- Consider a combination alarm that includes ionization and photoelectric detection. Ionization is more responsive to flame, while photoelectric alarms are more responsive to a smoldering fire.
- People who are hard-of-hearing or deaf can use special alarms. These alarms have strobe lights and bed shakers.
Become the smartest fire-safe family on the block and practice fire drills when you change the batteries. Every family should have a safety plan that includes how to exit the home and where to meet after leaving a structure. Keep emergency exit materials such as window ladders and reflective aids in a place that’s easily accessible.