People often debate the value of Daylight Saving Time. But there’s no debating the value of using this biannual change as a reminder to check your smoke alarm and CO detectors.
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. So yes, you should still test your smoke alarms at least twice a year — once a month is better, as recommended by the National Fire Protection Association. Replace smoke alarms after 10 years.
This is also a good time to check your CO detectors. Press and hold the Test Button on the front of the alarm until the alarm sounds (it may take up to 20 seconds). And look on the back, or near the battery compartment, for the date of manufacture. Most have a lifespan of no more than 7 years. Once you know your alarms are working, make sure everyone in your home knows what to do when the alarm goes off. Getting out may be more complicated than you think, especially if there are young children or people with disabilities in your home. And anyone may find it hard to respond quickly if the alarm goes off in the middle of the night. Go to homefiredrill.org to learn how to plan and practice a home fire drill.