Smoke detectors: Changing the battery isn’t enough

Smoke detectors must be replaced every 10 years

Courtesy: KOIN

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — You change the battery regularly. You test it monthly. But that might not be enough to save your family’s life in a fire. Smoke detectors, just like milk or medicine, expire.

“The most common problem with smoke alarms…is they’ve had them for too long,” says Ron Rouse with Portland Fire and Rescue.

The date printed on a smoke detector is the manufacture date (KOIN)
The date printed on a smoke detector is the manufacture date (KOIN)

Just because the alarm still beeps during testing, doesn’t mean it will work as well as it’s supposed to during the real thing. The parts wear out, just like any other appliance.

“On most of them, if you press the button, it will still beep. However, it starts to deteriorate and won’t work as well as it’s supposed to,” says Rouse.

Rouse says smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years. There are dates stamped on all smoke detectors. That is the manufacture date, not the expiration date. Rouse says those dates are usually printed on the back in hard to see spots, so he suggests writing the expiration date on the side so it can easily be seen.

Rouse says make sure there is a smoke detector in every bedroom and on every level of your home. And if they are hard to reach or you are unable to check the battery or expiration date, contact your local fire department. Firefighters will be happy to help.

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