Now is the Time to Check Smoke Alarms


The Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) reminds Tennesseans to check their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors when setting their clocks back one hour Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019 at 2 a.m. (CDT) when daylight saving time ends.

“Working smoke alarms are a proven lifesaver in the event of a home fire,” said Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Hodgen Mainda. “As daylight saving time ends, I encourage Tennesseans to change the batteries in their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. If Tennesseans need working smoke alarms, I urge them to contact their local fire departments and ask if they participate in the ‘Get Alarmed, Tennessee!’ free smoke alarm program today.”

Most fatal fires occur at night while victims are sleeping. The smoke and toxic gases generated by a fire can cause people to sleep more deeply which reduces the likelihood of surviving a fire. A working smoke alarm can double the chances of survival by increasing the amount of time a person has to escape a house fire.

To help ensure the safety of Tennesseans, consumers should replace the batteries twice a year in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors unless they have smoke alarms with 10 year sealed batteries, which require the entire smoke alarm be replaced when the alarm chirps. This reduces the chance of alarms chirping to indicate low batteries. All too often, a battery is removed and not replaced, putting a home’s occupants at risk. There’s no way to predict when a fire will occur, so even one night without an operational smoke alarm can be dangerous.

When it comes to smoke alarms, remember:

  • Install working smoke alarms inside and outside of every sleeping area and have at least one alarm on every level of the home. Make sure everyone can hear the alarm and know what it sounds like.
  • Smoke alarms with 10 year sealed batteries are available and designed to last for the life of the alarm. If the alarm chirps on these units, replace the entire smoke alarm right away.
  • Test alarms once a month using the test button. Replace the entire alarm if it’s more than 10 years old or doesn’t work properly when tested.
  • Devise a fire escape plan with two ways out of every room and a common meeting place. Share and practice the plan with all who live in the home, including children.
  • When a smoke alarm sounds, get out of the home immediately and go to your pre-planned meeting place to call 9-1-1.

For more tips on keeping your family fire safe, visit