This Fire Prevention Week, Don’t Wait – Check Date on Smoke Alarms

You replace your cell phone, your home’s air filters and lightbulbs – even your toothbrush. But when was the last time you replaced – or thought about replacing – your home’s smoke alarms?

Reynoldsville Fire Chief Darren Scolese said that it is important to make sure smoke alarms are not past their 10-year expiration date.

“The one thing that we’re telling people, along with checking your batteries, is also checking the date on your smoke detector to make sure it’s within that 10 years,” Scolese stated.

The fire chief also remarked that not every smoke alarm takes batteries. There are alarms known as 10-year smoke detectors that must be replaced every decade.

However, nearly a quarter of Americans (23 percent) have either never replaced their smoke alarms – or have not done so in more than six years.* This, coupled with the fact that three out of five home fire deaths occur in properties without working smoke alarms – often due to missing alarm batteries or expired alarms** – is cause for concern for local fire and safety officials.

As a promoter of the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Don’t Wait – Check the Date: Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years,” First Alert, is urging the public to check the manufacture dates on their home’s smoke alarms and replace them as needed.

“Many people assume that because they have smoke alarms in their homes, they’re automatically protected in the event of a fire,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy at NFPA. “In reality, smoke alarms need to be installed, maintained and tested regularly to ensure that they’re working properly. Part of that effort includes knowing how old your smoke alarms are, because smoke alarms don’t last forever.”

NFPA 72, National Signaling and Fire Alarm Code®, requires that residential smoke alarms be replaced at least every 10 years, but because the public is generally unaware of this requirement, many homes may have smoke alarms well past their expiration dates. To find out whether it’s time to replace the smoke alarms in your home, simply look on the back of the alarms where the date of manufacture is marked. The smoke alarm should be replaced 10 years from that date (not the date of purchase or installation).

“Installing new alarms ensures your home is protected with the most current sensing technologies and the latest safety features available,” said Tom Russo, president of First Alert. “Conversely, by neglecting to replace alarms, you could be putting yourself and your family at serious risk. If the alarms in your home are approaching the 10-year mark, or if you can’t remember when they were installed, be safe and replace them immediately.” Several laws have been enacted or proposed in recent years requiring specific alarm features, such as 10-year sealed batteries or hardwired models, as well as specific smoke sensing technology. While homeowners may have been up to date with previous regulations, there’s a possibility that further action may be needed in order to comply with newer local laws.

If alarms are due for replacement, consider upgrading your level of protection with devices containing 10-year sealed batteries, which offer tamper-proof, hassle-free protection while eliminating the need to replace batteries for the life of the alarms. For ultimate home safety, select combination smoke/carbon monoxide (CO) alarm models for complete protection from the threats of smoke and CO. A variety of smoke alarms, including hardwired, combination and 10-year battery-powered models, are available to meet specific needs and local requirements.

“Each year nearly 3,000 Americans die from home fires,****” said Russo. “Our goal, and the goal of NFPA’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, is to bring these numbers down by continually educating consumers about the dangers of fire and teaching them how to protect themselves, their families and their homes.”

For more information on Fire Prevention Week, visit For more information on First Alert home safety products, as well as legislation resources and a complete home safety checklist, go to


*First Alert Smoke Alarm Survey, 2009 – For more information or a copy of the complete survey and results, contact Tim Young at LCWA: 312/565-4628 or [email protected]

** “Smoke Alarms in U.S. Home Fires,” National Fire Protection Association

****National Fire Protection Association (

(Graphic courtesy of FEMA)

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