Wheeling Fire Department: Test, Replace Smoke Alarm Batteries

Photo by Scott McCloskey Fire officials are reminding the public to install new batteries in smoke alarms around the house when turning clocks forward for daylight saving time next week.

As the beginning of daylight saving time on March 11 approaches, officials with the Wheeling Fire Department and National Fire Prevention Agency encourage the public to install new batteries in their smoke alarms as time springs forward one hour.

Fire officials say while it is a good idea to test detectors around your home on a monthly basis, it is also a good idea to use daylight savings time twice a year as a reminder for changing all the smoke alarm batteries around your home.

Wheeling Fire Capt. Deric Jamison said it is a good habit to accustom yourself with because the risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms.

“When you change your clock, change your batteries. … A working smoke detector dramatically increases your chances of surviving a fire,” Jamison said. He said the department promotes the campaign twice a year just before daylight saving time. He said the department will be placing signs in different areas of the city next week to remind the public about the battery change campaign.

Jamison said the best way to install smoke alarms is by connecting them with wire and a battery back-up. He said it is also a good idea to get in the habit of practicing fire drills with your family on a regular basis so everyone in the home knows what to do in the event of a fire.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) roughly two-thirds of home fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or working smoke alarms that failed to operate. When smoke alarms should have worked but failed to operate, it is usually because batteries were missing, disconnected, or dead.

In addition, smoke alarms should be installed inside every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the structure.

Some guidelines the NFPA provides include:

∫ test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button;

∫ replace the smoke alarm immediately if it doesn’t respond properly when tested;

∫ make sure everyone in the home (including children) understands the sound of the smoke alarm and knows how to respond;

∫ replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old;

∫ smoke alarms with non-replaceable batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the alarm chirps (a warning that the battery is low), replace the entire smoke alarm right away;

∫ it is best to use interconnected smoke alarms, so when one alarm sounds, they all sound; and

∫ a smoke alarm should be placed on a ceiling or high on a wall.