Did You Remember To Check And Change Your Smoke Detector Batteries?
A Guest Column by State Senator Bob Peterson
November 09, 2016
[ Bob Peterson Home | Bob Peterson Press ]
Three out of every five deaths caused by fire in the home occur in residences without working smoke alarms. A smoke alarm without a working battery is the same as having no smoke alarm at all. These inexpensive and potentially life-saving devices only work when properly installed and regularly tested. Taking a few extra minutes to do these checks ensures detectors are working properly and can even mean the difference between life and death. 

As a rule of thumb, the best time to replace smoke detector batteries is at the beginning and end of daylight saving times. Daylight saving officially ended on Sunday, November 6, which means it is time to check your detectors if you have not already done so. After replacing the detector batteries in your home, remember to mark your calendar for next year's daylight saving time, which begins again on Sunday, March 12, 2017 and will end on Sunday, November 5, 2017. 

There are many brands of smoke alarms on the market, but they fall under two basic categories: ionization and photoelectric. Each detects different types of fires. Since no one can predict what type of fire might start in their home, experts recommend that every home have both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms or dual sensor smoke alarms, which contain different smoke sensors.

Most smoke alarms are powered by battery, running on either a disposable nine-volt battery or a non-replaceable 10-year lithium battery. Alarms that get power from your home's electrical system, or “hardwired,” usually have a back-up battery that will need to be replaced once each year.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that 71 percent of smoke alarms that failed to operate had missing, disconnected or dead batteries. Some fire departments may install battery-operated smoke alarms in your home at no cost. Contact your local fire department’s non-emergency phone number for more information. 

Here are a few recommendations for safe smoke detector use:
  • Put smoke alarms inside and outside each bedroom and sleeping area.
  • Be aware that closed doors may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. 
  • Place alarms on every level of the home.
  • Hard-wired smoke alarms should be interconnected, sounding simultaneously.
  • Place smoke alarms on the ceiling or high on the wall.
  • Check the manufacturer's instructions for the best place for your alarm.
  • Never take the battery out of your smoke alarm while cooking! If a smoke alarm sounds while you're cooking or taking a shower with lots of steam, do not remove the battery. 
As always, if you have questions or concerns please feel free to contact my office by phone at (614) 466-8156 or by e-mail at Peterson@OhioSenate.gov.
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