Maybe we’ve gotten complacent with the idea that when we change the clocks it’s a good time to change our smoke detector batteries. But when we turn back the clocks on Sunday, Nov. 6, Wilton firefighters say we might not be doing enough just to switch out smoke detector batteries.

According to the Wilton Fire Department fire marshal, Rocco Grosso, every smoke alarm has an expiration date, and if you don’t know the answer to the question, “What’s the expiration date for your smoke detectors?” you should find out, and act on it.

The Wilton Fire Department is urging all Wilton residents to know how old their smoke alarms are, and to replace them every 10 years.

“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 Grosso. “That’s why we’re making a concerted effort to educate Wilton residents about the overall importance of smoke alarms, and that they do have a life limit.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), most American homes have at least one smoke detector. However, most people aren’t sure how old those smoke alarms are.

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 Wilton Fire Department and NFPA, along with fire departments throughout the country, because smoke alarms don’t last forever.

NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm Code®, requires smoke alarms be replaced at least every 10 years, but because the public is generally unaware of this requirement, many homes have smoke alarms past their expiration date, putting people at increased risk, says Grosso.

As the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for more than 90 years, NFPA is 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.

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 Wilton 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,” visit the Fire Prevention Week website or call the Wilton Fire Department at 203.834.6249.