A clock and a smoke alarm

Change your clocks, check your smoke alarm batteries

The long-standing “Change Your Clocks, Change Your Batteries” campaign (which was not created by NFPA, contrary to popular belief) encourages the public to change their smoke alarm batteries when turning back clocks in the fall and ahead in the spring.

This year, on Sunday, March 13, states throughout the U.S. will be turning their clocks forward. Many people will use this event as a reminder to change their home’s smoke alarm batteries.

Because working smoke alarms are a critical element of home fire safety, NFPA supports any and all efforts to reinforce the importance of working batteries. However, today’s smoke alarms are not all designed the same, making battery messaging more nuanced.

Following is information to help make sure all smoke alarms have working batteries, accounting for the multiple types of smoke alarms on the market and their varying battery requirements:

  • Smoke alarms with non-replaceable 10-year batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the alarm chirps, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away.
  • Smoke alarms with any other type of battery need a new battery at least once a year. If that alarm chirps, warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away.
  • When replacing a battery, follow manufacturer’s list of batteries on the back of the alarm or manufacturer’s instructions. Manufacturer’s instructions are specific to the batteries (brand and model) that must be used. The smoke alarm may not work properly if a different kind of battery is used.

NFPA is offering social media cards (a few are from USFA) to help promote smoke alarm battery messages in coordination with Daylight Savings – feel free to use them on your social platforms as we all plan to spring forward!

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Susan McKelvey
Communications Manager

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