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Monday, October 26, 2015

Change Your Clock - Change Your Battery or Upgrade Your Alarms

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
mebrady@co.pg.md.us     @PGFDPIO

Spring Forward and Fall Back.  Sunday, November 1, we will  bring Daylight Saving Time to a close and adjust our clocks back 1-hour to Eastern Standard Time.  Sunday is also our Safety First Day of the Month which is the day designated to test our smoke and CO alarms.

Change your clock and change your battery in your alarms is a nationwide theme from firefighters that you will be hearing this week and for good reason.  66% of fire fatalities occur in homes found with no smoke alarms or non-working smoke alarms due to a lack of batteries or dead batteries.  Colder weather means there will be more fires so it is important to ensure you have working alarms. Working smoke alarms increase the chances of surviving a fire in your home. 

"Press to Test"

It is important to test your alarms to ensure they are working every month. Press the test button on the front cover of your alarm on the first day of every month.  If your alarm sounds you are good until next month.  If your alarm does not sound - replace the battery and "press to test" again.  Still no alarm - remove old alarm and replace with a new 10-year alarm.

This Sunday, November 1, we are asking you to replace the battery in your alarm with a new battery. The Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department highly recommends you replace your older 9-volt battery powered alarm with a 10-year alarm.

A new law became effective on July 1, 2013 involving “battery only” smoke alarms used in Maryland residential properties.  When these “battery only” smoke alarms have reached their 10-year life span, they need to be replaced with new long-life sealed lithium battery smoke alarms with silence/hush button features.  The silence/hush button feature temporarily disables the alarm so the occupant can ventilate the space from mild smoke conditions typically created during some cooking operations.  The use of these alarms eliminates the need to replace the batteries during the 10 year life of the alarm. 

The new law also requires homeowners to ensure they have a smoke alarm installed on each floor and outside each sleeping area, per National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommendations.  It is recommended to install smoke alarms inside each bedroom as well.

If your property is protected with 120 volt electric smoke alarms, they also should be replaced every 10 years with new 120 volt smoke alarms w/ battery back-up to ensure proper and timely operation in the event of a fire.  NOTE **Manufacturers have recently made available: 120 volt electric smoke alarms with 10 year lithium batteries to eliminate the need to replace batteries during the suggested life of the alarms.

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