Clocks are springing forward one hour this weekend and the Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) is urging Illinoisans to take a few extra minutes to change and test the batteries in their smoke alarms.
“Daylight Savings Time is a great built-in reminder for us all to check that our smoke alarms are working in case of emergency,” said State Fire Marshal Matt Perez.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that between 2009 and 2013 three in five home fire deaths occurred in homes that either did not have smoke alarms or the alarms did not work. More than half of the non-working smoke alarms either had missing or disconnected batteries. Dead batteries caused nearly a quarter of smoke alarm failures.
Illinois law requires every household to have smoke alarms within 15 feet of every bedroom and at least one alarm on each floor of the home.
The NFPA provides the following tips for installation and maintenance of smoke alarms:
- Install alarms close to each sleeping area of the house and on every level of the house. Ensure that the alarms are interconnected so when one sounds, they all do.
- Change alarm batteries at least twice a year. Daylight Savings Time is a reminder to “Change your Clock, Change your Batteries.”
- Test alarms at least once a month.
- Replace all smoke alarms when they are ten years old.
- Closed doors may slow the spread of smoke.
- Smoke alarms should be a part of a larger home escape plan for emergencies. Visit the NFPA website for more information on home escape planning.
Daylight Savings Time is this Sunday, March 11.