“This weekend as you change your clocks, check your alarms,” said State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey. “Working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms can save your life. Replace aging alarms, and unless they have a 10-year sealed battery, replace the alkaline batteries now,” said Ostroskey.
Replace Aging Smoke Alarms
“Smoke alarms, like other household appliances, don’t last forever,” said Chief Timothy J. Grenno, president of the Fire Chiefs’ Association of Massachusetts, “Every ten years the entire alarm needs to be replaced, not just the batteries,” he added. The state fire code requires replacement battery-operated smoke alarms to have 10-year, sealed, non-replaceable, non-rechargeable batteries in older one- and two-family homes.
Manufacturers generally recommend smoke alarms be replaced after ten years and carbon monoxide alarms after 5-7. Newer models with 10-year sealed batteries are designed to last longer and do not require replacement batteries.
Chief Grenno said, “Fire officials see too many disabled smoke alarms in fires when people really needed them to work. We hope that if smoke alarms are easier to maintain, people won’t be tempted to disable them.”
Time Is Your Enemy in a Fire
“Time is your enemy in a fire and working smoke alarms give you precious time to use your home escape plan before poisonous gases and heat make escape impossible.” said Ostroskey, “Remember: smoke alarms are a sound you can live with.”
Two hundred forty-two (242) fire departments across the state have grant-funded Senior SAFE Programs. Seniors who need help testing, maintaining or replacing smoke alarms should contact their local fire department or senior center for assistance. Ostroskey said, “Four out of every ten of the people who have died in fires last year were over 65. We want our seniors to be safe from fire in their own homes.”
Working Smoke Alarms Are a Sound You Can Live With
Grenno said, “No one expects to be a victim of a fire, but the best way to survive one that does occur is to have working smoke alarms.” In the average house fire, there are only 1-3 minutes to escape AFTER the smoke alarm sounds. He added, “Take a few minutes to protect those you love by changing the batteries in your smoke alarms this weekend. Then take a step stool and some 9-volts to your parents or older neighbor’s and ask if you can refresh their smoke alarms.”