Much has changed since the original “Change Your Clocks, Check Your Smoke Alarms” message first appeared. Digital clocks change themselves, long-life batteries are common, and Congress is talking about getting rid of Daylight Saving Time changes altogether. But this year’s time change is still an important reminder to check your alarms and practice your home fire drill.
Ideally you should test all smoke alarms monthly, as recommended by the National Fire Protection Association. Even for smoke alarms that have long-life batteries—or are hard-wired—it’s still important to make sure the alarm is working. Not every single long-life battery will work for 10 years, and even hard-wired alarms can fail. Test your CO detector too. They need to be replaced every 5-7 years.
And planning and practicing what to do when your smoke alarm goes off is more important than ever. Because modern materials burn faster and hotter than ever, you may have as little as 2 minutes to get out from the time the smoke alarms sound.