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Change your clocks, change your batteries

staff report • Mar 6, 2013 at 8:18 AM

With the beginning of Daylight Savings Time this Sunday, March 10, comes the reminder to check your smoke alarms and replace their batteries.

Every year people who die in home fires could have been warned it they had properly maintained their smoke alarms. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) about two-thirds of home fire deaths in 2005-2009 resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Working smoke alarms cut the chance of dying in a fire in half.

So what can you do to keep your family safe?

• Put new batteries in your alarms when you change your clocks.

• Replace old alarms (more than 10 years old) with new Dual Sensor Smoke Alarms.

• In new alarm install 9v lithium batteries to get about 10 years on a single battery (which is the life of the alarm.)

• Check your smoke alarms every month.

• Practice a home escape plan.

So what is in a Dual Sensor Smoke Alarm? There are two types of sensors: an ionization smoke detection, which is generally more responsive to flaming fires; and a photoelectric smoke detection, which is generally more responsive to fires that begin with a long period of smoldering.

Ionization-type smoke alarms have a small amount of radioactive material between two electrically charged plates, which ionizes the air and causes current to flow between the plates. When smoke enters the chamber, it disrupts the flow of ions, thus reducing the flow of current and activating the alarm.

Photoelectric-type alarms aim a light source into a sensing chamber at an angle away from the sensor. Smoke enters the chamber, reflecting light onto the light sensor; triggering the alarm.

For more information, call the Kingsport Fire Marshal’s Office at (423) 229-9440

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