State fire marshal: Replace smoke alarms every 10 years
DES MOINES — This week is Fire Prevention Week, and the Iowa Department of Public Safety’s State Fire Marshal Division urges all Iowa residents to know how old their smoke alarms are, and to replace them every 10 years.
Does your home have a smoke alarm? According to the National Fire Protection Association, 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.
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 for the state fire marshal and NFPA, along with fire departments throughout the country, because smoke alarms don’t last forever.
“We’ve seen the life-saving impact smoke alarms can have in a home fire, but also the tragedy that can result when smoke alarms aren’t working properly,” said Special Agent in Charge Kyle Gorsh of the State Fire Marshal Division. “That’s why we’re making a concerted effort to educate Iowa’s residents about the overall importance of smoke alarms, and that they do have a life limit.”
NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm Code, requires smoke alarms be replaced at least every 10 years, but because the public is generally unaware of the requirement, many homes have smoke alarms past their expiration date, putting people at increased risk.
As the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for more than 90 years, NFPA is promoting this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Don’t Wait — Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years,” to better educate the public about the critical importance of knowing how old their smoke alarms are and replacing them once they’re 10 years old.
Fire Prevention Week started Sunday and runs through Saturday.
To find out how old a smoke alarm is and its expiration date, 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. The State Fire Marshal Division also says smoke alarms should be tested monthly, and the batteries should be replaced at least once a year or whenever they begin to chirp, signaling that they’re running low.
For information on smoke alarms and this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, visit www.firepreventionweek.org or contact the state fire marshal’s office at 515-725-6145.