It’s that time of year again – time to set the clocks back one hour and get some extra time to sleep! Daylight Savings Time ends at 2 am on November 05 (Sunday morning), so don’t forget to “fall back” and put your clocks back an hour before going to bed Saturday night. But Daylight Savings Time means there’s something else you shouldn’t forget to do – it’s time to change the batteries in your smoke detectors. You should do this every six months, which is why it’s convenient to do at Daylights Savings when you set your clocks forward or back. It makes it easy to remember. Yes, it might seem tedious to buy new batteries and dig out the toolbox to change all the batteries in all the smoke alarms in your home, but we have a number of good reasons to do so. Home insurance might replace your home and your belongings, but obviously, it can’t replace lives.
Let’s look at some smoke detector statistics.
According to a 2015 report by the NFPA (National Fire Prevention Association)…
1. 3/5 (60%) of home fire deaths happened in homes with no smoke detectors or smoke alarms that didn’t work.
2. In fires where smoke detectors were present but did not go off, 24% of homes had smoke alarms with dead batteries and 46% had no batteries or disconnected batteries.
3. The death rate for house fires in which the home had no working smoke detectors was twice as high as the rate for homes with smoke detectors that went off. The rate was .53 deaths per 100 fires where functioning smoke detectors were present versus 1.18 deaths per 100 where they were not.
4. Data from the UK shows that smoke detectors result in a faster time of discovery for fires. In 2013-2014, about 60% of fires in which the alarm sounded were found within 5 minutes of starting. Only 50% of fires in homes without working smoke alarms were discovered in 5 minutes.
Now that we’ve looked at some numbers, let’s look at some smoke detector safety tips.
1. Install smoke detectors inside and outside of every sleeping area.
2. Put smoke detectors on every level of your home. In cases where smoke alarms were not on every floor, the detectors only sounded in 4% of fires.
3. Test smoke detectors once a month to be sure that they’re functioning properly.
4. Maintain and clean your smoke detectors regularly per the manufacturer’s instructions.
5. Use the right batteries and change them every six months (or sooner if the smoke detector starts chirping to alert you that the batteries are low.)
6. Consider interconnected smoke alarms. In interconnected smoke detector systems, if one alarm goes off, they all do. You can even turn your home security system into a fire alarm system.
7. Get extra smoke detectors if you have a large home.
8. Have both ionization smoke alarms and photoelectric alarms.
Ionization detectors are good for detecting big, flaming fires. They test the amount of oxygen in the air by sending out an electric charge and seeing if there’s a fire sucking the oxygen from the home.
Photoelectric detectors are good for detecting smoldering fires, like electrical fires that start in the walls. Photoelectric detectors are especially useful to have around kitchens and bathrooms – these are common places for smoldering fires to start.
9. Replace your smoke detectors every 10 years.
10. Make sure to create a family fire escape plan. It’s important that everyone, children included, knows what to do when the smoke detector goes off.
11. Find out if your smoke alarms are hardwired into your electrical system and if they have battery backup. Hardwired alarms with battery backups are the most effective.
12. Remember to check your home insurance limits and make sure that you have enough insurance to completely rebuild your home from the ground up.
Smoke detectors are an essential part of keeping your family safe from the dangers of house fires. You don’t have much time to get out of the house if there’s a fire, so it’s crucial that you have as much notice as possible. So, don’t forget to change the smoke detector batteries every time you set your clocks forward or back for Daylight Savings. Be fire conscious and fire safe, and don’t let the batteries in your smoke detectors die. Be sure to test your smoke alarms regularly, preferably once a month. Don’t take any chances. Make sure your smoke detectors are up to the very important task that they’re given: sensing fires.
Home insurance is another way that you can protect your family from the effects of house fires. If you’d like to get some quotes for home insurance or renters insurance, we would be happy to help you shop for some great rates. We’ll help you identify your risks and build an insurance plan to protect you from them. All you have to do to get started on your free insurance quotes is fill out our online quote form or give us a call today.