The One Fact You Need to Know About Your Smoke Alarm

Does your home have a smoke alarm? According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the answer is likely yes: NFPA research shows that most American homes have at least one. But do you know how old your smoke alarms are? If you’re like most people, you’re probably not so sure.

Fire Safety

A recent survey conducted by NFPA revealed that only a small percentage of people know how old their smoke alarms are, or how often they need to be replaced. That lack of awareness is a concern as a parent because smoke alarms don’t last forever.

To find out how old your smoke alarm is and its expiration date, simply look on the back of the alarm where the date of manufacture is marked. The smoke alarm should be replaced 10 years from that date (not the date of purchase). Be sure to test smoke alarms monthly, and replace batteries once a year or when they begin to chirp, signaling that they’re running low.

Every year hundreds of children die from fires in the home, and even more suffer burn-related injuries. However, not all of these burns are the result of fire—cooking, appliances and space heaters are also a danger. Know what to watch out for around your home, and review these fire and burn safety tips with your family:

  • Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home, including your basement. Place them near sleeping areas and inside each bedroom. 
  • Teach children to never hide when the smoke alarm goes off
  • Keep flammable materials away from space heaters and candles. Make sure space heaters are turned off and candles are blown out before you leave the room or go to sleep. 
  • Install safety barriers around ovens, fireplaces and furnaces. Keep in mind that glass screens can take a long time to cool. 
  • Store matches, lighters and other flammable materials, such as gasoline, in a safe place, or high up out of your child’s reach and sight. Teach them to never play with these things. 

For more information on smoke alarms and this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Don’t Wait: Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years”, visit


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