According to the U.S. Fire Administration, over 3,400 people die each year from home fires. Another 17,500 are injured.1 With statistics like this, it is important to understand the value of smoke detectors to keep everyone safe.
Smoke alarms are very practical, but it can be hard to remember to change the batteries, let alone test them as often as we should. Testing should be done once a month to make sure the batteries and alarm are both working. Smoke detectors can malfunction when they are too old, batteries are dead, or when smoke detectors have been disconnected from their power source. Checking monthly will ensure you have properly functioning smoke detectors to keep you and your family safe.
To remember to check monthly choose a convenient date, such as the first of each month. It takes just a few minutes to go around the house, testing the alarms. If yours have the little lights on them, make sure the lights are green. If they are red, test them and change the batteries if needed.
You should change the batteries in your smoke detectors every year. To remember to do this, choose a date such as your anniversary or a birthday to help remember. It can also help to put a reminder on your smart phone or a calendar.
When putting new batteries into your smoke detectors, never use generic or rechargeable batteries. Generic batteries, although cheaper, don’t last as long as more well known brands and can go dead much faster. Rechargeable batteries can lose their life quicker than brand new traditional batteries, so they are not recommended by most smoke alarm manufacturers.