EUGENE, Ore. — Daylight Saving Time came to an end this weekend. In addition to changing your clocks, firefighters encouraged residents to check their smoke alarms too.
Angie Meyer, a mother of two, said yes to a smoke detector inspection. It’s what firefighters say everyone should do twice a year–make sure their detectors are functioning properly.
First of all, you need to know what type of smoke alarm you have.
“Some of your more modern systems will be wired together, so if one alarm goes off they will all go off,” said Tim Blackwell, Eugene Fire Captain.
The crew at Fire Station No. 9 checked each detector inside Meyer’s home. The system was hardwired powered by electricity.
One smoke detector passed the test.
“As per code, there is a smoke alarm in every bedroom, the hallway and in the main living area,” Blackwell said.
Because the detectors are wired, there’s a battery back-up in case the power goes out.
“This home owner would be able to just go buy new nine volt batteries and replace all their batteries,” Blackwell said.
The National Fire Protection Association recommends the batteries be replaced at least once a year. The same applies to stand-alone smoke detectors with alkaline batteries.
At the next bedroom, the smoke detector looked different.
“That one single beep that you hear, that would indicate that the battery is either low, dead or is not inserted correctly,” Blackwell said.
Once we tested, it continued to beep, so we switched batteries. It didn’t sound right. On closer inspection, they found the date of manufacture was Sept. 7, 1998.
“I’ve learned that if you just replace the batteries, that’s not enough. Sometimes the actual hardware is faulty or expired,” Meyer said.
The fire crew found two addition smoke detectors also manufactured in 1998. The NFPA recommends all smoke detectors be replaced after ten years.
“You feel like you are safe. You have smoke detectors, you change your batteries, but clearly that’s not enough,” Meyer said.
Many smoke detectors have lithium batteries. Those are good for 10 years as well as the detector, but fire officials still recommend you test the alarm at least every six months.