Smoke alarms have an expiration date, check them as you move your clocks forward

Ohioans shouldn’t just move their clocks forward one hour this Sunday, March 11, 2018, they should also check to see if a potentially lifesaving device has expired – their smoke alarm.

Along with making sure the alarms have a fresh set of batteries, checking the expiration date is crucial to fire prevention safety.

“Smoke alarms are the first warning sign of a fire, which give you potentially lifesaving seconds to escape,” State Fire Marshal Jeff A. Hussey said. “Unfortunately, we still see fires that result in tragedy from the absence of smoke alarms or improper upkeep of them. It’s imperative for Ohioans to have these devices in their home, and understand they need to be replaced.”

To find out how old a smoke alarm is and its expiration date, simply look on the back of the alarm where the date of manufacture is marked. The smoke alarm should be replaced 10 years from that date (not from the date of purchase). Any alarms with a manufacture date of March 11, 2008 or earlier should be replaced.

For the greatest protection, install a smoke alarm on every level of the home and inside and outside of each sleeping area. In addition, Ohioans are encouraged to develop an escape plan with two ways out and make sure every family member knows what to do and where to meet outside if the smoke alarm sounds. Taking the time to practice both a primary and secondary escape plan is vital for knowing what to do if a real emergency were to occur.

Additionally, Ohioans should make a habit of changing the batteries in their smoke detectors at least twice a year – at the beginning and end of daylight savings time.

Marshal Hussey offers these additional tips:

  • Test smoke alarms at least once each month to ensure they are working properly.
  • Vacuum the dust from inside the detector at least once every year.
  • Never “borrow” a smoke detector’s battery for another use.

More information about smoke alarms and fire safety may be found here.

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