Smoke alarms need to be checked annually to make sure they’re working properly. Most sources (including FEMA) recommend testing smoke alarms once a month and checking if they need new batteries once or twice a year. An easy way to remember to check your smoke detectors is to do it right after changing all of your clocks for daylight saving time. Changing the batteries every six months has the added bonus of ensuring that you won’t be woken up in the middle of the night by chirping smoke alarms.
“Home fires claim more lives every year than all natural disasters combined, but working smoke alarms can cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half,” said Nick Bond, regional CEO of the American Red Cross of Western New York. “The sooner an alarm alerts you to a fire, the sooner you can get out. When you turn your clocks back this weekend, test your smoke alarms too to help prevent a tragedy in your home.”
While you’re checking all of your smoke detectors, make sure you have enough. According to the Red Cross, there should be smoke alarms on every floor of the house, including both inside and outside of bedrooms. You should also be checking how old all of your smoke alarms are. Sensors and other smoke alarm components become less sensitive over time, so if any of your smoke alarms are over 10 years old, they should be replaced.
If you need new smoke alarms and can’t afford them or you are physically unable to install them, the Red Cross might be able to help. Southern Tier residents can request a free smoke detector by going to the Red Cross’s website or by calling the Red Cross’s Corning office at 607-936-3766.