Smoke alarm safety tips from NFPA

The Ocean City Fire Department is encouraging residents to know how old their smoke alarms are, and to replace them every 10 years.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, or NFPA, most American homes have at least one smoke alarm, but most do not know how old their smoke alarms are.

NFPA conducted a survey that found that only a small percentage of people know how old their smoke alarms are, or how often they need to be replaced. Officials say this lack of awareness is a concern for Ocean City Fire Department and NFPA, along with fire departments throughout the country, because smoke alarms don’t last forever.

“Time and again, I’ve seen the life-saving impact smoke alarms can have in a home fire, but I’ve also seen the tragedy that can result when smoke alarms aren’t working properly,” says Fire Marshal David Hartley.  “That’s why we’re making a concerted effort to educate residents about the overall importance of smoke alarms.”

The NFPA’s National Fire Alarm Code® requires smoke alarms be replaced at least every 10 years, but because the public is generally unaware of this requirement, many homes have smoke alarms past their expiration date, putting people at increased risk.

NFPA has been the the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for more than 90 years, and is promoting this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Don’t Wait – Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years,” to better educate the public about the critical importance of knowing how old their smoke alarms are and replacing them once they’re 10 years old.

Fire Prevention Week is October 9-15, 2016. You can find out how old your smoke alarm is by looking on the back of the alarm where the date of manufacture is marked, and the smoke alarm should be replaced 10 years from that date, not the date of purchase.

The Ocean City Fire Department also says smoke alarms should be tested monthly, and that batteries should be replaced once a year or when they begin to chirp, signaling that they’re running low.

Categories: Local News, Maryland