Time to Inspect Smoke Alarms when Changing Clocks this Weekend

The vast majority of fire deaths are due to dead or missing batteries in smoke alarms.

Daylight Savings Time is quickly approaching, and the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance (IFSA) urges everyone in Illinois to take this opportunity to test their smoke alarms to ensure they are properly protected against fire.

“Installing and maintaining smoke alarms is the single most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your home against fire,” said Philip Zaleski, executive director of the IFSA. “The IFSA encourages the public to make use of 10-year alarms, which cannot be easily switched off. Such alarms are instrumental in preventing tragedies that are seen in the news on a weekly basis. Please take advantage of this weekend to make certain you are protected against fire.”

According to research conducted by the National Fire Protection Association, three of every five home fire deaths occurs in a home without a smoke alarm or working smoke alarms, and the vast majority of these deaths are due to dead or missing batteries. People frequently do not remember to rotate the batteries in their smoke alarms, or disconnect the alarms to silence annoying chirps. The result is a home that is defenseless against fire.

The IFSA strongly urges people to invest in 10-year smoke alarms. Such units come equipped with sealed-in, non-removable batteries capable of powering the device for at least 10 years. These alarms require much less maintenance than alarms with removable batteries, and are virtually impossible to disable.

The IFSA reminds residents that smoke alarms should be installed inside and outside of each bedroom, sleeping area, and on every level of a home, and they should be tested monthly. If a smoke alarm chirps, the battery should immediately be replaced. Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years with new units.

Daylight Saving Time begins on Sunday, March 12 at 2 a.m.

IFSA smoke & CO alarm tips:

  • Test alarms at least once a month by using the test button.
  • Check the batteries every six months, and if applicable, change them as well: If a battery is starting to lose its power, the unit will usually chirp to warn you. Do NOT disable the unit.
  • When possible, outfit your home with alarms equipped with sealed-in, 10-year lithium batteries that last the lifetime of the devices – to provide a decade of 24/7 fire safety protection without the risk of dead or missing batteries.
  • Vacuum or blow out any dust that might accumulate in the unit.
  • NEVER borrow a battery from an alarm to use somewhere else.
  • NEVER paint a smoke or CO alarm.
  • Install at least one smoke alarm on every floor of your home, including the basement, in every bedroom and near every sleeping area.
  • Smoke alarm should not be installed near a window because drafts could interfere with their operation.
  • Smoke alarms should be completely replaced every ten years.
  • Families should also develop and practice a home fire escape plan.

To learn more about smoke alarms, fire safety and burn prevention, please visit IFSA’s website at www.IFSA.org and the NFPA at www.NFPA.org.

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