With the time change over the weekend, many took the opportunity to check the batteries in their smoke detectors.
While that’s important to fire safety, Larry Hawn with Biehl-Hawn Insurance, says it’s just as necessary to check the smoke detector itself.
“We had a situation here recently where the people had working smoke detectors and were able to get out of their home safely; they didn’t save the home, but they saved themselves,” says Hawn. “But what many people don’t know is that the smoke detectors themselves have a shelf life, just as our food has a ‘use by’ date.”
He says detectors go bad due to an internal part wearing out over time.
“Each smoke detector has a small swab of a radioactive material that decays and stops working over time. If you’ve ever had a watch with the glowing hands you can see in the dark, slowly over time the hands stop glowing – that’s a visual illustration of what happens.”
Lawn says an expiration date should be printed on the inside or back of the smoke detector and recommends replacing them every five years.