Don’t Forget to Check Smoke Alarm Batteries When You ‘Fall Back’ This Weekend

The Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) reminds Tennesseans to check their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors when setting their clocks back one hour Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018, at 2 a.m. (CDT) when daylight saving time ends.

“Smoke alarms have proven to save lives in the event of a home fire—but only if they are working,” said Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Julie Mix McPeak. “As daylight saving time ends, we encourage Tennesseans to change the batteries in their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.”

Most fatal fires occur at night while the victims are sleeping. The smoke and toxic gases generated by a fire can cause people to sleep more deeply which lessens the likelihood of surviving a fire. A working smoke alarm can double the chances of survival by increasing the amount of time persons have to escape fires in their homes.

To help ensure the safety of you and your loved ones, it is recommended that you replace the batteries twice a year in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. This reduces the chance of alarms chirping to indicate low batteries. All too often, a battery is removed and not replaced, putting a home’s occupants at risk. There’s no way to predict when a fire will occur, so even one night without an operational smoke alarm can be dangerous.

More helpful hints about smoke alarms:

  • Install at least one smoke alarm on every level of the home, including the basement. For best protection, smoke alarms should be installed inside and outside bedrooms. Make sure everyone can hear the alarm and knows what it sounds like. To help Tennesseans properly install smoke alarms, the Department has created a helpful video.
  • For the best protection, equip your home with a combination of ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms or dual-sensor alarms.
  • Smoke alarms with 10 year sealed batteries are available and designed to last for the life of the alarm. If the alarm chirps on these units, replace the entire smoke alarm right away.
  • Test alarms once a month using the test button. Replace the entire alarm if it’s more than 10 years old or doesn’t work properly when tested.
  • Devise a fire escape plan with two ways out of every room and a common meeting place. Share and practice the plan with all who live in the home, including children.
  • When a smoke alarm sounds, get out of the home immediately and go to your pre-planned meeting place to call 911.

For more tips on keeping your family fire safe, visit tn.gov/fire.

Source: State of Tennessee Fire Marshall's Office

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