ILLINOIS (WCIA) — The State Fire Marshal is reminding residents to test or replace their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms as they change their clocks back this weekend.
Officials ask everyone to check their smoke alarms twice a year to make sure they’re functioning.
An Illinois law that went into effect at the start of 2023 required most homes to have smoke alarms with sealed batteries. Officials recommend replacing any smoke or CO alarm that was manufactured more than a decade ago with a 10-year sealed battery device.
“Daylight Saving Time serves as a bi-annual reminder for residents to test, inspect and replace any broken or expired smoke and CO alarms in their homes that could save their life,” Illinois State Fire Marshal James Rivera said.
Data from the National Fire Protection Association shows deaths from residential fires are more common in homes without functioning smoke alarms. Researchers found the death rate per 1,000 home fires was double in home with no smoke alarms or smoke alarms that weren’t working.
“Home fires claim more lives every year than all natural disasters combined, but working smoke alarms can cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half,” Lyn Hruska, the Executive Director of the Red Cross Serving Central Illinois, said.
The state fire marshal also recommends preparing or updating a home fire escape plan. Officials say plans should include two different ways to escape every room, an outdoor meeting spot for everyone to meet, and people assigned to assist any infants, older adults, or people with mobility issues get out of the home.
“Materials used in modern home construction burn hotter and faster, reducing the escape times to less than 3 minutes in most cases,” Rivera said. “Families need to review their fire escape plans and hold drills to ensure everyone in the house knows at least two ways out of every room and where to meet outside of the home in the event of a fire.”
More information on creating a fire escape plan can be found on the NFPA’s website.