Like clockwork: Check your smoke alarm batteries

Published 12:30 pm Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Our clocks fell back on Sunday morning, making this past weekend the longest of the year. Hopefully, you were able to put that extra hour to good use with some family time or getting something productive done around the house.

Regardless of how you spent your weekend, we do hope you took the time for one important chore — changing the batteries in your smoke alarm.

By now, hopefully, the “change your clock, change your batteries” campaign has become like clockwork for most of you reading this. Pun intended. 

Obviously, a smoke alarm is a very important deterrent to a major fire in your home. Experts recommend at least one smoke alarm at every level of your home, as well as one in every bedroom.

During the two time changes a year, fire departments recommend changing your smoke alarm batteries. Make sure you also test your smoke alarm, just to ensure it is functioning properly.

Data from the National Fire Protection Association reinforces the importance of a working smoke alarm in your home:

  • Smoke alarms were present in three-quarters (74 percent) of reported home fires in 2014–2018.
  • Almost three out of five home fire deaths were caused by fires in properties with no smoke alarms (41 percent) or smoke alarms that failed to operate (16 percent).
  • The risk of dying in reported home structure fires is 55 percent lower in homes with working smoke alarms than in homes with no alarms or none that worked.
  • When present, hardwired smoke alarms operated in 94 percent of the fires considered large enough to trigger a smoke alarm. Battery-powered alarms operated 82 percent of the time. Power source issues were the most common factors when smoke alarms failed to operate.