How old is your smoke alarm?

Currently, there is a focus on smoke alarm replacement, which comes as the result of a recent survey conducted by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

The results showed that only a small percentage of people know how old their smoke alarms are, or how often they need to be replaced.

It is required that smoke alarms be replaced at least every 10 years, but because the public is generally unaware of this regulation, many homes likely have smoke alarms past their expiration date, putting people at increased risk in the event of a home fire.

“Smoke alarms play an essential role in home fire safety, but they have to be working properly in order to protect people,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of NFPA’s Outreach and Advocacy division.

According to an NFPA report, in one-fifth (20%) of all U.S. homes with smoke alarms, the smoke alarms aren’t working; three out of five home fire deaths result from fires in properties without smoke alarms (38%) or with no working smoke alarms (21%).

“People tend to assume that simply having smoke alarms in their home ensures adequate protection from fires, but it takes regular testing and maintenance to ensure that that’s the case,” Carli continued. “Part of that effort is making sure you know how old the smoke alarms in your home are, and that they’re replaced every 10 years.”

Carli notes that the age of a smoke alarm can be determined by looking for the date of manufacture on the back or side of the alarm, and to replace the units 10 years from that date.