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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

SERVPRO of Austin & Albert Lea Reminds Residents to Replace Smoke Detectors Every Decade

Properly Functioning Smoke Detectors Can Save Lives

Preventative measures are important. The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) recommends that we replace smoke detectors every 10 years. Be smart, stay safe.

SERVPRO® of Austin & Albert Lea trusts the NFPA’s recommendations. We are sharing more recommendations from the NFPA and from local fire-fighting associations:

  • If the home is more than ten years old, and you don’t remember when you last replaced the smoke detectors, figure it is time.
  • The NFPA replacement date assumes the smoke detectors were new when installed. The 10 years is after the date of manufacture.
  • Schedule the replacement in an electronic calendar so you can’t lose the date.
  • Install smoke detectors that come with 10-year sealed batteries. When the batteries are done, so are the smoke detectors.
  • Replace all the detectors at the same time even if some sections of the home are newer. The explanation is below.
  • Buy all smoke detectors from the same manufacturer and the same year. That makes inter-connecting them easier. When one inter-connected alarm goes off, all the alarms go off, reducing the risk that someone doesn’t hear it.

Changes in Smoke Detectors

The first smoke detectors were developed in the 1960s. The earliest smoke detectors:

  • Were designed to detect smoke from wood, paper, and cloth
  • Did not differentiate between smoke from cooking or other non-lethal sources and smoke from unintended fires
  • Produced nuisance alarms so frequently that homeowners removed the batteries, making the detectors unavailable for emergencies
  • By the 2000s, the high rate of nuisance alarms meant that fire departments responded to twice as many false alarms than real ones

Smoke detectors have been improving since then, and the newest smoke detectors address the problems above. They also take manufacturing trends into account. For 2020, smoke detectors had to meet new requirements (many smoke detectors manufactured in 2018 are compliant). The newest smoke detectors:

  • Detect smoke earlier because newer materials burn more intensely and more quickly (see below) than older ones
  • Are designed to protect people from smoke and fire from artificial materials that burn quicker and hotter than wood, cloth, and paper
  • Detect toxic fumes from memory foam, oil-based products, and plastics, all of which can knock out people before they are aware of any danger
  • Produce fewer nuisance alarms
  • Tolerate smoke or steam from non-lethal sources (such as cooking)

SERVPRO of Austin & Albert Lea Remediates Damage to Structures and Contents

We cannot replace people. When alarms go off, please get yourselves and all family members out of the house.

If disaster hits, call SERVPRO of Austin & Albert Lea any time. Our number is 507-396-6644. Our emergency services are always available.