Fire Prevention Week

2016_851x315_hiDoes your home have a smoke alarm? According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the answer is likely yes: NFPA research shows that most American homes have at least one. But do you know how old your smoke alarms are? If you’re like most people, you’re probably not so sure. 

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

“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 Chief Harold Watkins of the Melissa Fire Department. “That’s why we’re making a concerted effort to educate Melissa residents about the overall importance of smoke alarms, and that they do have a life limit.” 

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. 

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. Fire Prevention Week is October 9-15, 2016.

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 Melissa 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.  “One way to remember to do this is to replace your batteries in your smoke alarms when you “fall back” for daylight savings,” shared Chief Watkins. 

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  Also be sure to ‘Like’ the Melissa Fire Department’s Facebook page and follow along for safety tips and updates throughout Fire Prevention Week and beyond!

When it comes to smoke alarms, it’s about “location, location, location”.

Help us sound the alarm that working smoke alarms save lives. Want to learn more? Visit NFPA's Smoke Alarm Central, your complete source for smoke alarm information.

About Fire Prevention Week:

Fire Prevention Week is actively supported by the Melissa Fire Department along with fire departments across the country. Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health and safety observance on record.

Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 conflagration that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres. The fire began on October 8, but continued into and did most of its damage on October 9, 1871.  Click here for full background

Since 1922, Fire Prevention Week has been observed on the Sunday through Saturday period in which October 9 falls.