Jill Bronaugh
Communication Manager
Office of the State Fire Marshal
800 SW Jackson, Suite 104
Topeka, KS 66612-1216
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Press Releases

Reminder from State Fire Marshal: “Change your clocks, change your batteries” could save your loved ones’ lives

OSFM Public Information | Mar 10, 2017

TOPEKA (March 10, 2017) -- State Fire Marshal Doug Jorgensen and his staff remind all Kansans this Sunday, March 12, is the day to “Change Your Clocks, Change Your Batteries.” By routinely changing the batteries in smoke detectors at the same time they adjust their clocks for daylight savings time, Kansans can safeguard the lives of their loved ones.

"Your risk of dying in a fire is greatly reduced when your home is equipped with working smoke alarms," said Jorgensen. "Having smoke detectors with dead batteries is no different than having no smoke detectors at all. Those with smoke alarms with alkaline batteries need to change out those batteries at least once a year.”

This is also a good time to check the manufacture date of smoke alarms. All smoke alarms manufactured more than 10 years ago should be replaced as sensors in smoke alarms diminish over time. To check the manufacture date, remove the smoke alarm from the wall or ceiling and look for the printed manufacture date on the back.

For those replacing smoke alarms, the State Fire Marshal recommends alarms with sealed, 10-year lithium batteries or, better, having all smoke alarms hard-wired and interconnected so when one sounds, they all sound.

Those without working smoke alarms can contact their local fire departments to ask about getting free units installed. The Office of the State Fire Marshal’s Get Alarmed Kansas program, plus the American Red Cross, offer free smoke alarms to fire departments across the state to install in the homes of any resident who needs one. The Get Alarmed Kansas program even offers free alarms for those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.

Reports submitted to the Kansas Fire Incident Reporting System highlight an ongoing issue with smoke alarms in home fires. Even in residences with smoke alarms present they often do not work. In 2015, only 18% of reported home fires had a working smoke alarm. A working smoke alarm significantly increases your chances of surviving a deadly home fire.

Graph: Smoke Alarms vs. Smoke Alarms Not Present in reported fires

To protect your home, follow these smoke alarm safety tips:

  • Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home, including in the basement.
  • Smoke alarms with non-replaceable (long-life) batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the alarm chirps, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away.
  • For smoke alarms with any other type of battery, replace batteries at least once a year. If that alarm chirps, replace only the battery. Date each unit when they are installed and replace them after ten years – or sooner if they don’t successfully pass the test by sounding the alarm when the Test button is pressed.

In addition to changing smoke alarm batteries, it is also a good idea to practice a family escape plan:

  • Plan and practice two escape routes out of every room in your house.
  • Designate an outside meeting place.
  • In case of fire, call 9-1-1 once you are safely outside your home.
  • Once outside, stay outside and don’t return for anything – not even a pet.