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Time to Change the Smoke Alarm Batteries

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Commonwealth of Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet

  FRANKFORT – When you move your clocks forward early Sunday to stay on time, change your smoke alarm batteries to stay alive, says Kentucky Fire Marshal William Swope.

“Using the beginning of daylight savings time as a reminder to change the batteries in your home’s smoke detectors can be a lifesaving habit,” said Swope. “Surveys show that as many as 50 percent of the smoke detectors in American homes have dead batteries. Smoke detectors that don’t work can’t save lives.”

Without a working smoke detector to issue an early warning, fire can quickly spread throughout a household, blocking escape routes and filling rooms with deadly smoke.

The requirement for all new installations is an interconnected AC powered with battery backup smoke detector outside of each sleeping area and within the sleeping area and on every floor of your home.

For existing locations, a smoke detector should be located outside of the sleeping area. For increased protection, it is recommended that a smoke detector be installed in each bedroom and on each level of your home.

All smoke detectors should be inspected and tested on a monthly basis. Properly installed and working smoke detectors will provide an early warning and nearly double the chance of surviving a fire.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) advises consumers to:

  • Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home so when one sounds, they all sound.
  • Test alarms at least monthly by pushing the test button.
  • Install smoke alarms following manufacturer's instructions. Save manufacturer's instructions for testing and maintenance.
  • Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least once a year. If an alarm “chirps,” warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away.
  • Replace all smoke alarms, including alarms that use batteries and hard-wired alarms, when they are 10 years old or sooner if they do not respond properly.
  • Be sure the smoke alarm has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Alarms that are hard-wired and include battery backup must be installed by a qualified electrician.
  • Smoke alarms are available for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. These devices use strobe lights. Vibration devices can also be added to these alarms.