Change Clock/Check Detecotrs

Jan Doherty, Public Education Officer, 509.625.7058

Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 1:50 p.m.

When you change your clocks back to Standard Time this weekend, Spokane Fire Department asks you to also take the time to check on the condition of your smoke detectors.

  • Read the label on the back of the smoke detectors to determine the age of the detector. If the date of manufacture is before 2003, replace the entire detector since smoke detectors are not reliable for more than 10 years. This applies to detectors hardwired into the electricity as well as alarms that are simply screwed into the ceiling. They all have a limited lifespan.
  • Check the label to determine whether you have ionization, photoelectric or photo-ion (dual sensor) smoke detectors. Make sure you have at least one photoelectric or photo-ion smoke detector on each level of your home because they will sound an alarm up to 40 minutes faster than ionization detectors in smoldering fires. Most fire fatalities are caused by smoke rather than flame.
  • Replace 9-volt alkaline batteries at least once a year or whenever they begin chirping. Lithium batteries should last up to ten years. Make sure that all batteries are securely attached by pushing the test button and listening for the alarm. Alarms should be tested on the first of every month.
  • Determine how many smoke detectors you need for the size and shape of your home. You must have at least one detector on every level (including the basement) and outside every sleeping area. It is wise to also install detectors in each bedroom since a faster alarm reduces injury and property loss.
  • Consider giving photoelectric smoke detectors as holiday gifts to family, neighbors, and friends. Each year, two out of three persons who die in U.S. fires were living in homes without working smoke detectors. Photoelectric detectors cost less than $20 and save lives.