Jan Doherty

More than a battery

Jan Doherty, Public Education Officer, No Phone Number Available

Thursday, October 29, 2015 at 12:54 p.m.

More than a battery

Many people can recite the slogan “Change Your Clock/ Change Your Battery”, but they may not know all that needs checking on their smoke alarms. This is a matter of “more than a battery”!

  • Smoke alarms are not reliably functional for more than 10 years. This applies to units that are hardwired into the electrical panel as much as to units that are simply screwed into the ceiling.
  • Look at the back label on each smoke alarm in your home to determine the date of manufacture.Anything manufactured before November 2005 is no longer a working smoke alarm.
  • Many smoke alarms now use different types of batteries because of different features on the alarm itself.
    • Alkaline batteries must be changed every year or whenever the battery chirps.
    • Lithium batteries are designed to last up to 10 years, the same as the life of the alarm unit.
    • Some lithium batteries are sealed into the smoke alarm because they do not need to be changed until the unit chirps at the end of ten years.
  • There are two types of smoke alarm technology: ionization and photoelectric. Photoelectric alarms have fewer nuisance alarms than ionization. Photoelectric alarms are significantly faster at detecting smoldering types of fires, such as those caused by faulty wiring or smoking materials.
  • Every residence should have at least one working smoke alarm on each level, one outside each sleeping area and one inside every bedroom. Spokane Fire Department recommends that at least one of these alarms on each level be either a photoelectric or a dual sensor, photo-ion unit.

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