Changing Smoke Alarm Batteries Twice a Year Can Save
SPRINGFIELD – The Office of the Illinois State Fire
Marshal (OSFM) reminds residents to change their
smoke alarm batteries when they set their clocks back
to standard time this weekend. Every household
should adopt the habit of changing smoke alarm
batteries twice each year, and testing smoke alarms
once a month, to ensure they are in working order.
“As we set our clocks back with weekend, it is the
perfect time for families to change their smoke alarm
batteries,” said State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis.
“A tragedy can happen at any time. It is important to
make sure smoke alarms are in place and properly
functioning at all times.”
Fire Marshal Matkaitis recommends that before going
to bed on Saturday, November 2nd, Illinois residents
should also make sure to change the battery in each
of their smoke alarms. If there are no smoke alarms
in place, residents should purchase them as soon as
possible, to be in compliance with the Illinois Smoke
The OSFM also reminds families to install smoke
alarms on every floor and at least 15 feet from each
bedroom or sleeping area. In addition, smoke alarms
should be tested for functionability once a month.
According to the National Fire Protection Association
(NFPA), in 2012, U.S. fire departments responded to
more than 1.3 million fires, of which 365,000 were
home structure fires. These resulted in 2,380
civilian deaths, 12,875 injuries, and $7 billion in
property losses. In three out of five residential
fires, smoke detectors were not present, or did not
operate at the time of the fire.
In 2012, Illinois reported 123 fire fatalities. In
addition, only half of the homes reported in
structure fires had smoke alarms present.
The following are some additional tips for smoke
alarm installation and maintenance:
• According to the Illinois Smoke Detector Act, smoke
alarms should be within 15 feet of all sleeping
areas, with at least one on each floor.
• For residents that have hard-wired smoke alarms,
battery operated smoke alarm backups should be
considered in case of a power outage.
• For hearing impaired family members, install alarms
that combine flashing lights with sound.
• Mount smoke alarms high on walls or ceilings
(remember, smoke rises). Ceiling mounted alarms
should be installed at least four inches away from
the nearest wall; wall-mounted alarms should be
installed four to 12 inches away from the ceiling.
• Don't install smoke alarms near windows, doors, or
ducts where drafts might interfere with their
• Never paint smoke alarms. Paint, stickers, or
other decorations could interfere with the alarm’s
ability to sound.
For more information on smoke alarms and other
devices please visit, www.sfm.illinois.gov.