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'Spring forward' good time to test smoke alarms

SALEM, Ore. - The Office of State Fire Marshal is urging residents to test their smoke alarms before routinely changing the batteries. Sunday, March 10 marks the spring tradition of changing clocks an hour forward and it serves as a good reminder for Oregonians to test their smoke alarms.

"Smoke alarm technology has advanced and many now come with features such as long-life batteries," said State Fire Marshal Mark Wallace. "So, I encourage residents to test their alarms before changing the battery."

Ionization-only smoke alarms that are solely battery powered come equipped with a hush feature and a 10-year battery. Because of this technology, the national slogan "Change your clock, Change your battery" may not apply to Oregon residents who have these ionization smoke alarms.

Other types of alarms are also being sold with either a long-life lithium battery or a standard-life battery.

"Ensuring you have working smoke alarms in your home is the single most important step you can take to increase your family's safety from a home fire," adds Wallace. "Also, be sure to replace any smoke alarm that is 10 years old or older."

To check your alarm properly we recommend that you:

1)     Push the test button to be sure the battery is working.

2)     Vacuum the outside of your alarms to rid them of dust and cobwebs.

3)     Inspect your alarm to determine if it is 10 years old or older. Replace any smoke alarm 10 years old or older.

4)     Retest the alarm after installing a new battery.

5)     Replace any alarm that fails to operate after installing a new battery.

Working smoke alarms provide a critical early warning to a fire, allowing you vital minutes to escape, increasing your chances of survival.

Additional safety tips:

*     Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, in each bedroom, and outside each sleeping area.

*     Ensure hard-wired alarms (those wired directly into home electrical systems) have battery back-ups.

*     Never disconnect or remove batteries from smoke alarms for other uses.

*     Use the smoke alarm's hush feature to silence nuisance alarms.

*     Make a home escape plan and practice it with family members.

For more smoke alarm and fire safety information, contact your local fire department or visit

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