Daylight Savings Time begins on Sunday, March 12, at 2 a.m. The Washington State Fire Marshal’s Office says that when changing your clocks, remember to test your smoke alarm at the same time.
Working smoke alarms are a critical element of home fire safety by giving you and your family an early warning in the event of a fire, the fire marshal’s office says.
From 2018 to 2021, Washington State fire agencies reported 5,856 building fires that had no working smoke alarms, and 5,014 where the status of alarms were unknown. During that same time period in our state, 267 people died in fires were no working smoke alarm was indicated or the presence and operation were unknown.
Here are some smoke alarm safety tips:
- Install smoke alarms in every sleeping area and test them at least once a month.
- It is best to use interconnected smoke alarms so that if one alarm sounds, they all sound.
- Alarms with strobe lights and bed shakers should be utilized for those with hearing disabilities.
- Smoke alarms with non-replaceable 10-year batteries are designed to remain effective for 10 years from the manufacture date, not the date of installation. If the alarm chirps, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away.
- When changing a battery, follow the smoke alarm manufacturer’s instructions which specify which batteries must be used. The smoke alarm may not work properly if the wrong kind of battery is used.
- Under Washington state law, landlords are responsible for installing and testing smoke alarms prior to a tenant moving in. Once the tenant takes possession of the rental unit, the tenant is responsible for all maintenance and testing unless agreed upon prior to the tenant moving in. Failure of the owner to abide by the terms of any such agreement does not relieve the tenant of the responsibility to maintain the smoke alarm devices in a fully operational condition at all times.
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