Daylight Savings This Weekend Means Check Your Detectors
Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday, March 10 at 2 a.m., when we spring forward one hour for the purpose of making better use of daylight. As we set our clocks ahead, it is recommended to test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
Roughly two-thirds of home fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or working smoke detectors. 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.
Make sure everyone in the home understands the sound of the smoke alarm and knows how to respond.
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.
Statistics about Smoke Alarms in U.S. Home Fires
Smoke alarms provide an early warning of a fire, giving people additional escape time. In 2012-2016, smoke alarms were present in three-quarters (74%) and sounded in more than half (53%) of the home fires reported to U.S. fire departments.
Almost three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms (40%) or no smoke alarms that were working (17%).
The death rate per 1,000 reported home fires was more than twice as high in homes that did not have any working smoke alarms (12.3 deaths per 1,000 fires), either because no smoke alarm was present or an alarm was present but did not operate), as it was in homes with working smoke alarms (5.7 per 1,000 fires).
In fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not operate, more than two of every five (43%) of the smoke alarms had missing or disconnected batteries.
Dead batteries caused one-quarter (25%) of the smoke alarm failures
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