Change The Batteries In Your Smoke Alarms This Weekend

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 Change The Batteries In Your Smoke Alarms This Weekend

Nearly All Smoke Alarms Contain A Battery


           This weekend, when you change your clocks back to Pacific Standard Time, you are also reminded to change the battery in your smoke alarms. Nearly all smoke alarms in the Las Vegas valley contain a battery; this is the one time of year when the battery should be changed.


            In all homes built in Las Vegas since 1994, fire codes require that smoke alarms in homes (apartments and the like) must be wired into the home’s electric circuit with a 9-volt battery as the backup power source. In homes built prior to 1994, smoke alarms may be wired in without a battery or it may be a battery-only operated smoke alarm. In either case, if it has a battery, it should be replaced. There are now new 10-year batteries available on the market so you do not have to change the battery each year.


            Another concern regarding smoke alarms is that they have a life of approximately 10 years. Check the manufactured date on the smoke alarm and add 10 years to that date for the replacement date. If that date has passed, the smoke alarm has expired and should be replaced. BE SAFE and REPLACE. It is suggested that expired smoke alarms be replaced with a new combination IONIZATION/PHOTOELECTRIC smoke alarm.


            Current smoke alarms used are of the ionization type. Basically they smell the air for smoke and when they detect smoke, they sound an alarm. But tests have shown that they work best for fast-burning, hot fires, such as kitchen fires or rubbish fires. Slower-burning, cooler fires that smolder instead of producing large flames sometimes go undetected by the ionization smoke alarm. The photoelectric smoke alarm uses a light sensor built in the unit that detects visible smoke. When smoke disrupts the light beam in the unit, it activates the alarm. The combination ionization/photoelectric smoke alarm offers twice the protection by detecting visible smoke as well as picking up the scent of the smoke -- it sees as well as smells.


            The International Association of Fire Chiefs now recommends that if you install or replace smoke alarms, you do it with a combination ionization/photoelectric smoke alarm.


            Smoke alarms have saved countless lives in Las Vegas and across the country. Prior to smoke alarms in the United States, tens of thousands of people died each year because of fires. In 2020, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) stated that there were 2,730 civilian deaths due to fire along with 13,000 fire- related injuries. Considering the ever-increasing population, percentage-wise the number of fire deaths has dramatically been reduced, largely because of smoke alarms.


            Most homes in Las Vegas have a smoke alarm, but an alarming number of older homes still do not. If people cannot afford a smoke alarm for their home, they should contact Las Vegas Fire & Rescue (702-229-0366) to obtain a free smoke alarm, along with free installation. Las Vegas Fire & Rescue has distributed nearly 3,000 smoke alarms free of charge to the city of Las Vegas community over the years.


            It is most important to test your smoke alarms once each month. Just push the test button (use a broom stick, yardstick, etc.) to push the button until it sounds, then let go. DID YOU KNOW you can silence the smoke alarm doing the same thing, like if there is burned food? Test your smoke alarm monthly!