State Fire Marshal: Time to check fire alarms

COLUMBUS, Ohio — This past Sunday, Ohioans moved their clocks forward one hour, now they should also check to see if potentially life-saving devices in their home have expired – their smoke alarms.

Along with making sure all smoke alarms have a fresh set of batteries, checking the expiration date is crucial to practicing sound fire safety.

“One person lost in a house fire is one too many, but we’re continuing to see more than 100 Ohioans die every year,” said State Fire Marshal Kevin S. Reardon. “In so many of these tragic cases, there are no working smoke alarms present. These life-saving devices can be the first warning sign of a fire, so it’s incredibly important to have an adequate number of smoke alarms in your home.”

For the greatest protection, install a smoke alarm on every level of the home and inside and outside of each sleeping area. Ohioans are also encouraged to develop an escape plan with two ways out and make sure every family member knows what to do and where to meet outside if the smoke alarm sounds.

Even “smart home” alarms and other alarms that are hardwired and interconnected throughout the home have batteries as a fail-safe backup system and should be checked.

To find a smoke alarm’s age and expiration date, look on the back of the alarm where the date of manufacture is marked. Smoke alarms should be replaced 10 years from that date (not from the date of purchase). Alarms with a manufacture date of March 2011 or earlier should be replaced.

Ohioans should change the batteries in their smoke alarms at least twice a year – at the beginning and end of daylight saving time. Marshal Reardon offers these additional tips:

-Test smoke alarms at least once each month to ensure they are working properly.

-Vacuum the dust from inside the alarm at least once every year.

-Never “borrow” a smoke alarm’s battery for another use.

-If a smoke alarm does not have a date of manufacture, consider it older than 10 years.

The Division of State Fire Marshal is part of the Ohio Department of Commerce. The department is Ohio’s chief regulatory agency, focused on promoting prosperity and protecting what matters most to Ohioans. It ensures businesses follow the laws that help them create jobs and keep Ohioans safe. To learn more, visit

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