When Illinois residents advance their clocks forward an hour for daylight saving time on Sunday, March 8, the nonprofit Illinois Fire Safety Alliance (IFSA) also reminds them to change the batteries in their home smoke alarms.
“Properly installed and maintained smoke alarms are a key part of a home fire escape plan, providing early warning to residents when there is a fire,” said Philip Zaleski, executive director of the IFSA. “Residents can ensure smoke alarms are working properly by adding the task of changing their batteries to the clock-changing routines in the spring and fall.”
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.
There are two types of smoke alarms; ionization smoke alarms are quicker to alert residents to flaming fires, while photoelectric smoke alarms are more responsive to smoldering fires. Dual-sensor smoke alarms, which incorporate technologies of both ionization and photoelectric alarms, are recommended.
According to research from the National Fire Protection Association, three of every five home fire deaths in the United States from 2007-2011 resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. No smoke alarms were present in 37 percent of the home fire deaths.
“Be sure your smoke alarms are in working order by replacing their batteries twice a year,” Zaleski said. “Also, make sure you and your family regularly practice an escape plan so you are prepared should the smoke alarms ever sound.”
To read more about smoke alarms, fire safety and burn prevention, visit IFSA’s website at www.IFSA.org.