Senior Village

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Ask Senior Village: Is it time to replace my 15-year-old smoke detector?

March 2024
Anne Quinn-Diment
Senior Village

The answer to this question is a firm “yes.” A properly functioning smoke detector is the first line of defense against potentially devastating home fires, providing early warnings that give occupants a chance to evacuate safely. In fact, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), reports that the risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke detectors.

However, for these life-saving devices to be effective, they require regular attention and maintenance. Many people are unaware that smoke detectors have a limited lifespan. Over time, factors such as dust, debris and aging components can compromise their functionality. The NFPA recommends replacing smoke detectors every 10 years to ensure they remain reliable and responsive. The organization also recommends that fire extinguishers be replaced or services every 10-12 years.

Batteries are another critical aspect of smoke detector maintenance. Yet, it’s all too common for homeowners to ignore the low battery chirp until it becomes an incessant reminder. This seemingly minor annoyance can have significant consequences if left unaddressed. A smoke detector with a dead or missing battery is as good as not having one at all.

For individuals with hearing impairments, the conventional audible alarm poses a unique challenge. Traditional smoke detectors rely solely on sound to alert occupants, leaving those with hearing difficulties at a disadvantage. Recognizing this issue, manufacturers have developed specialized smoke detectors that utilize visual and tactile alerts to cater to the needs of the hearing impaired.

In recent years, advances in technology have transformed the landscape of home safety. Smart smoke detectors, equipped with features such as mobile app integration and remote monitoring, offer an added layer of convenience and peace of mind. These connected devices provide real-time notifications and allow homeowners to check the status of their detectors from anywhere, ensuring constant vigilance.

By understanding the critical role smoke detectors play in home safety and staying proactive in their maintenance, homeowners can significantly reduce the risks associated with fires. From routine battery replacements to upgrading to newer models, these small actions contribute to a safer living environment for you and your loved ones.

Good news for SaddleBrooke residents who need their smoke detector battery changed! Golder Ranch Fire District offers free battery replacement. Simply call 911, and tell them “This is a non-emergency call, could you please send someone to change my smoke alarm batteries.” A unit will be dispatched, and a crew will install new batteries that you provide.

If you need help picking up a new smoke detector or batteries, help is just a phone call away! The Senior Village Going My Way Team of volunteers is ready to drive members to essential locations, including hardware stores to pick up a new smoke detector or batteries. In addition, they can provide members with transportation to medical appointments, grocery shopping and more if you are unable to drive. Senior Village members can easily request these services by calling (520) 314-1042. To explore more about Senior Village membership and the Helping Hands Team, visit www.seniorvillage.org

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