Safety Tip: New Year — New Smoke Alarms?


Expired Smoke Alarms

It’s a Fact. Smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms wear out. If your alarms were manufactured before January 2007, they need to be replaced.

Expiration dates are everywhere. From the “best by” date stamped on food at the grocery store to the two-year warranties on home appliances, everything has a limited time in which it is useful. Electronics, like cellphones and computers, require constant updates and upgrades before they ultimately become obsolete and require replacing.

This is also true for the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in our homes. In laboratory tests, the internal mechanism in the alarm that detects smoke or CO has a 30% rate of failure after 10 years; the rate of failure increases exponentially in older alarms. Some units have an even shorter lifespan, so make sure to check the manufacturer’s recommendations.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department proudly joins fire departments across the country in promoting “Don’t Wait, Check The Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years, a national fire safety campaign started in 2016 by the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA). This campaign aims to improve community safety by raising awareness about smoke and CO alarm safety and maintenance.

  • Make sure you know how old your alarms are. Remove the alarm and look for the date printed on the back. This should be the date of manufacture.
  • Replace smoke and CO alarms that are 10 years old. This applies to both battery powered and hardwired units.
  • Combination alarm units that detect both smoke and CO have shorter lifespans, typically 5 to 7 years. Check manufacturer specifications to determine when to replace combination alarms.
  • Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of the home, outside each sleeping area, and inside each bedroom.
  • Carbon monoxide alarms should be installed on each level of the home.
  • Test smoke alarms monthly, replace alkaline batteries twice a year, and replace all smoke alarms that are ten years old.
  • It is important to have and practice a home escape plan to be able to get everyone out quickly and safely in a fire.

Nationally, 3 out of 5 home fire fatalities occur in residential properties without working smoke alarms. The Spokane Valley Fire Department doesn’t want our community members to become another statistic, and asks that you take these simple steps to make sure you having working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms in your home.

If you have questions about smoke and CO alarms, or need assistance checking or replacing your existing alarms, Request a free Home Fire Safety Visit or call 892-4153.


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