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SFMO: Show Mom Some Love By Checking Her Smoke Alarms

TDCI Urges Tennesseans to Test Smoke Alarms for Mother’s Day
Friday, May 11, 2018 | 10:11am

NASHVILLE – As Tennesseans prepare to celebrate Mother’s Day (May 13), the State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) urges Tennesseans to consider giving Mom the gift of safety this year by ensuring her home is properly equipped with working smoke alarms.

“Mothers play such an important role in our lives,” says Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Julie Mix McPeak. “We hope that as you celebrate your mom this weekend, you will ensure she has peace of mind knowing she has working smoke alarms. It’s proven that the early warning smoke alarms provide can save lives, and we can’t think of a better way to honor Mom than by ensuring she is safe.”

The SFMO reminds Tennesseans that smoke alarms over 10 years old are no longer guaranteed to offer a reliable level of detection and are often the source of nuisance alarms. Even smoke alarms that use 10-year batteries or are hardwired into your electrical system must be replaced after 10 years. To determine the age of your smoke alarm, simply unmount the alarm from the wall or ceiling and check the date of manufacture, which is generally located on the back of the device.

According to state fire data, only 27% of fatal fires in 2017 were known to have smoke alarms that were present and operated. Additionally, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that in the event of a fire your chances of survival are doubled when working smoke alarms are present.

Both state and national data reflect that many fatal fires occur at night while the victims are sleeping. The smoke and toxic gases generated by a fire can cause people to sleep more deeply, narrowing the chances of surviving a fire.

The SFMO shares the following tips for residential smoke alarms:

  • Smoke alarms should be installed inside every sleeping area, outside every sleeping area, and on every level of the home. Ensure everyone can hear the alarms and know what they sound like.
  • For best protection, equip your home with a combination of ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms. Look for alarms that have can be interconnected—this means when one alarm sounds, they will all sound.
  • Smoke alarms with non-replaceable, lifelong batteries are available and are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. This means that if the alarm chirps, it’s time to replace the entire unit.
  • For smoke alarms with traditional removable batteries, replace the batteries twice a year.
  • Remember, even alarms that are hard-wired into your home electrical system need to have their battery back-ups maintained in case of a power outage.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning to keep smoke alarms working well. The instructions are included in the package or can be found on the internet.
  • Test alarms monthly by using the test button (which is often found on the front of the alarm).
  • Create an escape plan with two ways out of every room and a designated outside meeting place. Practice the plan to ensure all who live in the home know what to do in the event of an emergency.
  • When a smoke alarm sounds, get low to the ground, and exit the home immediately. Go to your pre-planned meeting place and dial 911.

For more information on making you home fire-safe, download and print the State Fire Marshal’s home fire safety tip sheet. More fire safety tips can be found at The SFMO’s new fire safety public service announcement can be seen here.