Montgomery County, MD- - Montgomery County Fire and Rescue personnel will be hitting the streets and neighborhoods reminding residents that when they change their clocks and “Spring Forward” this weekend, it is the perfect time to check and replace batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors. “A properly functioning smoke alarm more than doubles your chances of surviving a fire in the home,” said Fire Chief Steve Lohr. “Senior citizens and children are most at risk and a working smoke alarm can provide the extra seconds they need to safely escape.”
A new Maryland law took effect July 1, 2013 affecting “battery only” operated smoke alarms. This legislation requires homeowners, builders, and apartment managers to update alarms with long-life battery, sealed smoke alarms by 2018. It is important to know that it is never acceptable to remove required hard-wired smoke alarms and replace them with any type of battery-only operated device. Both battery-operated and hard-wired alarms have expiration dates, not just the batteries inside them, and the units should be replaced every ten (10) years as recommended by the manufacturer. “Smoke alarms are one of the most important safety features to have in your home and while legislation doesn’t take effect until January 1, 2018, we’re urging residents to upgrade their alarms now,” said Chief Lohr. Below are some safety tips fire officials would like to emphasize:
· Test alarms once a month using the test button.
· Replace the entire alarm, battery or hard-wired, if it’s more than ten (10) years old or doesn’t work properly when tested.
· Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement, and inside and outside of sleeping areas.
· Make sure everyone in your home understands the sound of the smoke alarm and knows how to respond.
· Involve your family! Take time to review your fire escape plans with your family and practice them in the form of a home fire drill.
If you need assistance with fire escape planning or obtaining smoke alarms, call 311 to schedule a free check-up by fire and rescue service representatives. To learn more about what you and your family can do to be safe, visit the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service website at www.mcfrs.org/mcsafe.