On Sunday we’ll “spring forward” by changing our clocks back to daylight savings time, which indicates that the first day of spring is right around the corner. The change of the clocks is also an ideal time to check and change the batteries in your home’s smoke detectors and also to review home fire safety plans to keep your family safe.
Here are some tips about smoke detectors and best practices for installing them, as recommended by FEMA and the NFPA.
Installing Smoke Detectors:
- There are two types of smoke detectors: ionization detectors and photoelectric detectors.
- Ionization detectors are more effective in flaming fires.
- Photoelectric detectors are more effective in smoldering fires.
- Install one of each, or install dual-sensor detectors.
- Install smoke detectors on every level of your home including both inside and outside of sleeping areas and in your basement.
- Smoke rises, so install detectors high on a wall or on the ceiling.
Maintaining Smoke Detectors:
- No matter what kind of detector you use, test it monthly to be sure it functions properly.
- If an detector “chirps”, replace the battery right away.
- Detectors that use 9-volt batteries should have the battery replaced annually.
- Detectors that use a 10-year lithium or long-life battery should be entirely replaced – the whole unit – according to manufacturers directions and timeline.
- For detectors that are hardwired into your electrical system, replace the back up battery annually and the entire unit every 8-10 years.
The National Fire Prevention Association/FEMA report that two-thirds of home fire deaths result in homes without working smoke detectors or no smoke detectors. Keep you and your loved ones safe and cut the chance of death in a house fire significantly by installing and maintaining properly working smoke detectors. Make replacing your smoke detector batteries and going over your home fire safety plan an annual habit as winter turns to spring. For more information and for worksheets that help make testing detectors a family activity, check out the NFPA’s page.