By Tony Antoniewicz

As we approach the colder seasons, I like to remind friends and family of the importance of making sure our homes are prepared. One of the first, and commonly overlooked, safety features within our homes are our smoke and CO detectors. We walk by them daily and become accustomed to just assuming they’ll operate in the time of need. These devices play such an important role in our safety that assuming they will operate without regular check-up or upkeep won’t do!

Roughly 3 out of 5 fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Smoke alarms are like any electronic device. They require maintenance to ensure they are ready to perform when needed. An inexpensive 9volt battery could easily be what provides you and your family with early detection of a fire or Carbon Monoxide (CO) emergency. An easy way to remember when to check your detector is: When you change your clock, change your batteries.

The detectors themselves do have a lifespan. The detector should be replaced once every 10 years. For 10-year lithium-powered smoke alarms, you won’t need to replace the battery. Instead, replace the entire alarm after 10 years have passed. Detectors should have the date of manufacturer stamped on the back of them.

Newer homes commonly have the smoke and CO detectors hardwired to the home. This provides the detector with a constant power supply except for when there is no power. This is why there is usually a battery in these detectors so you never lose your only source of protection for fire or CO emergencies when there is a power outage.

Please take some time in the next few weeks to check all your smoke and CO detectors for their manufactured date and change the batteries. Such an important device that we need to assure is ready at the time of need. If you have questions or need assistance, please call your local fire department.