A smoke alarm could be the one thing that keeps you and your family alive and safe in the event of a fire in your home. Without these detectors, you’re placing yourself in harm’s way. However, many homeowners fail to realize another important fact about smoke alarms; having an expired one is just as dangerous as having no alarm at all. Your local fire department at Lancaster County Fire Rescue wants you to be aware of the following important facts.

How do you know if your alarm has expired?

According to the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) latest surveys, there is a small, yet significant, percentage of homeowners in the United States who aren’t aware that smoke alarms have expiration dates. We want to make sure everyone knows about this so that they can stay safe from the dangers of fires. (The same applies to carbon monoxide detectors, too.)

Generally speaking, smoke detectors have at least a 10-year lifespan. However, you shouldn’t rely on your memory when it comes to replacing these devices. Instead, take a few moments to verify the date on your detector. Finding this date on your alarm isn’t difficult. Simply locate the date of manufacture on the back of the alarm. If the date is from more than 10 years ago, it’s time to get it replaced. Keep in mind that the day you purchased or installed the alarm is not what matters; the date of manufacture is.

How can you avoid having an expired alarm?

The number one way to avoid an expired alarm is by testing it frequently. It’s recommended that you check your smoke alarms once a month so you can rest assured that everything works as it should. And while you’re testing them, take a look at those expiration dates so you won’t be surprised.

When it comes to fire safety advice, you can always reach out to your local volunteer fire department. Contact Lancaster County Fire Rescue to learn more.