“Change your clock, change your batteries” this weekend

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smoke alarm

Daylight saving time a reminder to check smoke alarms and review fire-safety plans

Information provided by the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (March 11, 2021) – The Office of the State Fire Marshal is reminding Illinoisans to test, check for expired alarms, and replace batteries in their smoke alarms as they change the clock this weekend.

“Working smoke alarms are critical to preventing serious injuries and death in the case of a house fire. It only takes a couple of extra minutes to push the test button on smoke alarm or CO alarm to ensure it’s working. That extra minute or two could save your life one day,” said State Fire Marshall Matt Perez.

The time change serves as a bi-annual reminder for residents to test all their smoke and CO alarms. If an alarm is not working or is expired, residents are urged to replace the alarm immediately with a new 10-year sealed battery alarm. Reviewing a fire-escape plan and conducting a fire drill is also recommended.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that between 2012 and 2016, almost three out of every five home fire deaths in the U.S. resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or non-working smoke alarms. The chances of dying in a home fire was reduced by 54% in homes were working smoke alarms are present. In fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not operate, more than two of every five of the smoke alarms had missing or disconnected batteries. Dead batteries accounted for 25% of smoke alarm failures. In 2020 in Illinois, 80% of pre-existing smoke alarms being replaced in homes that received the new 10-year sealed battery alarms through the “Be Alarmed!” program was found to be non-functional or were expired.

A 2017 Illinois law requires ten-year sealed smoke alarms be installed in all homes built before 1988 or that do not have hardwired smoke detectors by January 1, 2023.

“Be Alarmed!” is a fire safety education and smoke alarm installation program administered cooperatively between the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance (IFSA) and the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal (OSFM). “The “Be Alarmed!” program is designed to help residents in Illinois comply with the new law, but it’s really aimed at creating fire-safe communities.

For more information on the “Be Alarmed!” program visit https://www.ifsa.org/programs/alarms.