Change Your Clocks, Change Your Smoke Detector Batteries

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Max Sabrin from the Old Saybrook Fire Department visited the Fox CT Morning Extra with an important reminder to change the batteries in all the smoke detectors in your home when you change your clocks for daylight savings time on Sunday, Nov. 3.

Here are some tips to make sure your smoke detectors are working correctly:

Replacement

Replace your smoke detector battery once a year. (Choose a specific date, such as when you are updating the time on your clocks.) When a battery is running low, the detector will “beep,” indicating that the battery needs to be replaced. Do not use rechargeable batteries.

If you have a “nuisance detector” that goes off frequently with cooking fumes or humidity from the bathroom, do not remove the battery. Move the detector away from the kitchen or bathroom. If the problem continues, you may wish to change to a different type of detector. A photo-electric smoke detector may meet your needs.

Smoke detectors also need to be replaced every 10 years and CO (carbon monoxide) detectors need to replaced every five years. Wired-in smoke detectors require testing, as well, and also have a failure rate. Please refer to the owner’s manual or change them every 10 years.

Testing

Test your smoke detector every month by pressing the “test button” on the face of the detector. If your detector fails, replace the battery and repeat. If it continues to fail, replace the detector.

Maintenance

Maintain your detector by gently vacuuming the exterior (using the small brush attachment from your vacuum) or wipe with a soft cloth.

Recent surveys conducted for the National Fire Protection Association and the Consumer Products Safety Commission found that 96 percent of all homes have at least one smoke detector, but only 75 percent have at least one working smoke detector. Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke detectors or no working smoke detector. Smoke detector failures usually result from missing or dead batteries or disconnected wires. The peak time for home fire fatalities is between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. when most families are sleeping. A working smoke detector can provide the critical extra seconds needed to get people out safely.

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