Fire Prevention and Awareness week occur in October each year. For 2016, the official dates are between October 9th and October 15th. The official theme for Fire Prevention Week this year is, “Don’t Wait: Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years.”
Not only does National Fire Prevention Week make the ideal time to ensure your home and family are fire-safe, it is also the perfect time to make sure your smoke alarms are ready and able to protect you if a fire occurs.
Inspiration for this Year’s Event Theme
Each year, NFPA (the National Fire Protection Association), determines what factors are most important when it comes to fire safety. The focus on replacing your smoke alarms comes after a study, conducted by NFPA, which indicated only a very small percentage of people actually know how old their smoke alarm is and how often they should be replaced.
Nothing But the Facts
According to NFPA 72, which is the National Fire Alarm Code, it is required that smoke alarms are replaced, at the least, every decade. However, since most people are not aware of this requirement, there are many homes that use fire alarms that have expired. This puts you, your home and your entire family at risk if a fire were to occur.
According to another report from NFPA, 20 percent of all the homes in the U.S. have smoke alarms that don’t work. Three of every five deaths, due to home fires, take place in properties that don’t have smoke alarms even installed.
There are far too many people who assume that just having a smoke alarm installed inside their house is enough. However, this isn’t the case. It requires regular maintenance and testing to ensure these alarms are able to do their job. Knowing how old your smoke alarms are is also extremely important.
Determining the Age of Your Smoke Alarm
There are a number of reasons you may not be aware of how old your smoke alarms are. For example, they could have been installed long before you moved in, or you simply have forgotten when they were purchased. In most cases, how old the alarm is can be found out by looking at the date it was manufactured. This date is typically printed on the side or the back of the smoke alarm. Ten years past the date printed on the alarm, it should be replaced.
Helpful Tips to Keep Your Smoke Alarm Working Properly
There are a number of things you can do to help ensure your smoke alarm continues to work throughout the year, as well. Some of these things include:
- Test the alarm on a monthly basis
- Replace the batteries two times a year (easily remember to do this by making it a tradition to change the batteries on daylight savings time each year)
- Check the connections and other parts of the alarm to ensure nothing is broken or damaged at least once a year
When you take steps to ensure your smoke alarm is in good, working order, you can feel confident it will perform if a fire ever does occur. Take time during National Fire Prevention week to ensure your home and family are safe from fire. It only takes a few minutes and could save the lives of those you love.