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Test Your Smoke Alarms When You Turn Back the Clocks

Post Date:11/01/2019 1:15 PM

California goes off daylight saving time at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, November 3. The Southern Marin Fire Protection District recommends that you always remember to "turn and test," i.e. test your smoke alarms at the same time that you turn your clocks. This will ensure that you check your smoke alarms at least twice per year, when we "spring forward" and "fall back."

A smoke alarm is an inexpensive way to protect your family from smoke and fire injuries, but you must take the time to test it to ensure that it is working properly. A properly functioning smoke alarm doubles your chance of surviving a fire by warning you of a dangerous situation before it is too late.

For minimum coverage, have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home, hallways outside every bedroom, and in every sleeping area. You can also add alarms to the top and bottom of all stairways and often-forgotten places such as basements, attics, utility rooms, and garages. 

There are two types of powered smoke alarms:
  • Battery-powered: These inexpensive units can easily be installed anywhere. They now come with a tamper-resistant, 10-year battery that leaves you worry-free.
  • AC-powered: Installed by an electrician (or those with a good working knowledge of electricity), these units are more dependable in the long term due to their direct-wired power source. But they should still have an independent battery backup, so that they will continue to operate during a power outage.
Almost all smoke alarms have a test button that, when pushed, causes the alarm to sound. Most alarms also have either a blinking or a solid light that glows to let you know that the alarm is getting power. Please note that smoke alarms should be replaced after ten years. If you purchased your smoke alarms on or before November 2009, it is a good idea to replace them to make sure they are in working condition.
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