The Cedar Rapids Fire Department and National Fire Protection Association recommend replacing smoke alarms after 10 years because that is typically the life expectancy of the devices; beyond that, the sensors in smoke alarms can begin to lose their sensitivity.
To find out how old a smoke alarm is, look at the date of manufacture on the back of the alarm.
Through Oct. 5 of this year, smoke alarms were verified to be working properly in only 19 of the 65 (29.2 percent) residential fires in Cedar Rapids. The Fire Department recommends the installation of smoke alarms on every level of the home, as well as inside and outside of sleeping areas. Smoke alarm batteries should be replaced at least once a year and the smoke alarms should be tested monthly.
Working smoke alarms reduce a family’s risk of dying in a fire by nearly 50 percent. The Fire Department recommends that citizens install dual sensor smoke alarms with ionization and photoelectric technology. Ionization smoke alarms are generally more responsive to flaming fires, while photoelectrical smoke alarms are generally more responsive to smoldering fires.
Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home for the best protection. That way, when one sounds, they all sound. To find out more about this subject, click here.
When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead. Three of every five home fire deaths in the United States result from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Almost 40 percent of the fire deaths that occur in the U.S. are in homes with no smoke alarms.
The Fire Department will recognize 10 third graders from throughout Cedar Rapids Oct. 20 at 6 pm. The students were among 1,500 students who participated in a fire prevention poster contest. The 10 winners will be attending a pizza party at the Central Fire Station, 713 1st Avenue SE.
For more information about smoke alarms and fire prevention strategies: Please visit the Fire Department’s website at www.cedar-rapids.org/fire or Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cedarrapidsfiredepartment.
An informational 5-minute video from the Cedar Rapids Fire Department about Fire Prevention Week: