On March 12, 2023 Marylanders turn their clocks forward for Daylight Savings Time. The FVFAC encourages people to use this opportunity to test your smoke alarms and if needed, change their home’s smoke alarm batteries as well.
Because working smoke alarms are a critical element of home fire safety, the FVFAC and NFPA support all efforts to reinforce the importance of working batteries. However, today’s smoke alarms are not all designed the same, making battery messaging more nuanced.
Following is information to help make sure all smoke alarms have working batteries, accounting for the multiple types of smoke alarms on the market and their varying battery requirements:
- Smoke alarms with non-replaceable 10-year batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the alarm chirps, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away.
- Older smoke alarms with any other type of battery need a new battery at least once a year. If that alarm chirps, warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away.
- When replacing a battery, follow manufacturer’s list of batteries on the back of the alarm or manufacturer’s instructions. Manufacturer’s instructions can be specific to the batteries (brand and model) that must be used. The smoke alarm may not work properly if a different kind of battery is used in some cases.
Here are some additional tips on home smoke alarms…..
Testing smoke alarms
- Smoke alarms should always be maintained according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- Test smoke alarms at least once a month throughout the year using the test button.
- Make sure everyone in your home understands the sound of the smoke alarm and knows how to respond and evacuate the home.
- Follow manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning to keep smoke alarms working well. The instructions are included in the package or can be found on the internet.
Interconnected smoke alarms increase safety
In a Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) survey of households with any fires, including fires in which the fire department was not called, interconnected smoke alarms were more likely to operate and alert occupants to a fire.
- When smoke alarms (interconnected or not) were on all floors, they sounded in 37% of fires and alerted occupants in 15%.
- When smoke alarms were not on all floors, they sounded in only 4% of the fires and alerted occupants in only 2%.
- In homes that had interconnected smoke alarms, the alarms sounded in half (53%) of the fires and alerted people in one-quarter (26%) of the fires.