Every smoke alarm has an expiration date: What’s yours?

By: Brick Lewis Posted in Uncategorized


The Columbia Fire Department urges residents of the City of Columbia and Richland County to know how old their smoke alarms are, and to replace them every 10 years.

Does your home have a smoke alarm? According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the answer is likely yes: NFPA research shows that most American homes have at least one. But do you know how old your smoke alarms are? If you’re like most people, you’re probably not so sure.

A recent survey conducted by NFPA revealed that only a small percentage of people know how old their smoke alarms are, or how often they need to be replaced. That lack of awareness is a concern for the Columbia Fire Department and NFPA, along with fire departments throughout the country, because smoke alarms don’t last forever.

“Time and again, I’ve seen the life-saving impact smoke alarms can have in a home fire, but I’ve also seen the tragedy that can result when smoke alarms aren’t working properly,” says Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins. “That’s why we’re making a concerted effort to educate our residents about the overall importance of smoke alarms, and that they do have a life limit.”

As the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for more than 90 years, NFPA and the Columbia Fire Department are promoting this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Don’t Wait – Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years,” to better educate the public about the critical importance of knowing how old their smoke alarms are and replacing them once they’re 10 years old. Fire Prevention Week is October 9-15, 2016.

The Columbia Fire Department will conduct over 75 fire education activities/events during Fire Prevention Week to include the Columbia Fire Department’s kickoff to Fire Prevention Week with the annual Fire Prevention Parade; which was held on October 3rd.  The CFD will also participate in numerous fire education demonstrations for schools, churches and civic organizations.  Finally, we will partner with the University of South Carolina’s Fire and Life Safety Division for their Annual Fire Safety Day held on Tuesday, October 18th at 11am on the 1400 block of Greene St.

To find out how old your smoke alarm is and its expiration date, simply look on the back of the alarm where the date of manufacture is marked. The smoke alarm should be replaced 10 years from that date (not the date of purchase). The Columbia Fire Department also says smoke alarms should be tested monthly, and that batteries should be replaced once a year or when they begin to chirp, signaling that they’re running low.

For more information on smoke alarms and this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Don’t Wait: Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years” please visit the Columbia Fire Department’s website, www.columbiarichlandfire.net.


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