A smoke alarm’s lifespan is 10 years, which means any smoke alarm installed before May 2000 is too old and needs to be replaced. The smoke alarm is no longer reliable. Part of smoke alarm maintenance includes knowing when to replace the unit. The few minutes it takes to replace a smoke alarm can save the lives of roommates, family members, neighbors and firefighters.
More than 3,000 people die in home fires each year, and the majority of them have no working smoke alarms. To prevent these deaths, the United States Fire Administration (USFA) is sponsoring the nationwide Install. Inspect. Protect. Campaign, which emphasizes that “Smoke Alarms Save Lives.”
The USFA offers a few helpful tips on smoke alarms:
- Every residence, and place where people sleep, should be equipped with both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms or dual sensor smoke alarms, which contain both ionization and photoelectric smoke sensors.
- Place properly installed and maintained smoke alarms both inside and outside of sleeping areas and on every level of your home.
- Interconnected smoke alarms are best, because if one sounds, they all sound.
- Test smoke alarms monthly and change alkaline batteries at least once every year, or as instructed by the manufacturer. You can use a date you already know, like your birthday or when you change your clocks as a reminder.
- Write the installation date on the inside cover of the smoke alarm for future reference.
For more smoke alarm information, including powerful radio and video public service announcements go to www.usfa.dhs.gov/campaigns/smokealarms.