Check smoke alarms as you change the clock this weekend

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The Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal (OSFM) is reminding Illinoisans to check their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms when turning their clock back weekend.

“It’s more important than ever due to the limited amount of time – 3 minutes or less – to escape a home fire that smoke alarms are working in your home. The time change serves as a bi-annual reminder to test smoke alarms and review your families fire escape plans,” said Acting Illinois State Fire Marshal Dale Simpson. “As the cold weather months arrive, I encourage everyone to test and inspect smoke alarms and CO alarms more often. It’s simple: working smoke alarms save lives!”

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that between 2014-2018, almost three out of every five home fire deaths in the U.S. resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or non-working smoke alarms. The death rate per 1,000 reported home fires was more than twice as high in homes that did not have any working smoke alarms compared to the rate in homes with working smoke alarms. In fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not operate, two of every five of the smoke alarms had missing or disconnected batteries. Dead batteries caused 26% of the smoke alarm failures. Replacing alarms that have missing batteries or are either expired or broken with new ten-year sealed detectors will help reduce residential fire deaths across the state.

A 2017, Illinois law required ten-year sealed smoke alarms be installed in all homes built before 1988 or that do not have hardwired smoke detectors by January 1, 2023.

“Be Alarmed!” is a fire safety education and smoke alarm installation program administered cooperatively between the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance (IFSA) and the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal (OSFM). This program provides ten-year, concealed battery smoke alarms to Illinois residents through their local fire departments and staff can aid with obtaining and installing these required alarms. Smoke alarms are required on every floor of a house and within 15 feet of every bedroom.

For more information on the “Be Alarmed!” program visit: