Clock 'Fall Back' This Weekend Also Means it's Time to Check Your Smoke Alarms

Daylight savings time ends on Sunday at 2 a.m.

Fire officials are reminding residents that in addition to turning your clocks back an extra hour this Sunday, also make sure your smoke alarms are in good working order.

According to information provided by Mountain View Fire and Rescue (KCFD No. 44), there's much more to it than simply changing your batteries.

The National Fire Protection Association reports that roughly two thirds of home fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

“Smoke alarms most often fail because of missing, dead or disconnected batteries so maintenance is a simple, effective way to protect you and your family,” says State Fire Marshal Charles M. Duffy.

Smoke Alarms Need To Be Replaced:

  • Most smoke alarms should be replaced after 10 years (87,658 hours of service) from their manufacturer date.
  • Some smoke alarms have a ten year battery so you can discard them together.

Smoke Alarm Maintenance:

  • Don't decorate, paint, or put stickers on smoke alarms.
  • It may be good to vacuum the smoke alarm in some environments.
  • Check smoke alarms once a month.
  • Change the batteries at least once a year.


  • Smoke alarms should be in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of you home.
  • It is best to interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home. This will notify everyone in the home of an emergency if any one detector sounds.

Types of Smoke Alarms:

Ionization and Photoelectric smoke alarms are the two most common types. It is best to have a combination Ionization and Photoelectric smoke alarm or both types in the home.

  • Ionization - These are by far the most common. They are more responsive at fast moving flaming fires.
  • Photo Electric - These are more responsive at detecting smoldering fires.

People Who Are Deaf or Hard-Of-Hearing:

There are various types of smoke alarms which may include vibration notification appliances, strobe lights, mixed pitched sound, etc. for people that may need alternative smoke alarm notification. Click here for more information.

Fire Escape Plans & Exit Drills:

A smoke alarm is great at notifying people of a fire but people should have a plan and practice their plan with their families. Once a smoke alarm sounds, people should evacuate immediately and practicing their plan will help children and adults know what to do and where to go in various parts of the home.

See the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) website for more information.

For more information about fire safety, please visit the State Fire Marshal website at www.wsp.wa.gov/fire/firemars.htm.


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