Daylight Saving Time begins today, when we spring forward one hour for the purpose of making better use of daylight. As we set our clocks ahead, the National Fire ProtectionAssociation (NFPA) recommends testing our smoke alarms.
Roughly two-thirds of home fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or working smoke alarms. When smoke alarms should have worked but failed to operate, it is usually because batteries were missing, disconnected, or dead. NFPA provides the following guidelines around smoke alarms:
· Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.
· Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.
· Replace the smoke alarm immediately if it doesn’t respond properly when tested.
· Smoke alarms with nonreplaceable (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, replace only the battery.
For more on smoke alarm safety, check out NFPA’s smoke alarm safety tip sheet, and new 9-volt battery tip sheet which explains the importance of storing and disposing of batteries with care to avoid a fire hazard.