MONTPELIER >> As Vermonters move their clocks ahead an hour (At 2 a.m. Sunday, March 13) the Vermont Division of Fire Safety wants everyone to remember to also change the batteries in all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

While changing the battery, it is also important to check the date on the alarm. Most smoke alarms have an effective life span of around 10 years, and carbon monoxide alarms work for approximately 5-7 years depending on manufacturer. If you do not have smoke or carbon monoxide alarms in your home, it is strongly recommended you install them as soon as possible to increase your chance of escaping a home fire.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), approximately 60 percent of home fire deaths between 2009 and 2013 were in homes with non-existent or inoperable smoke alarms. Failure to maintain or replace dead batteries was the leading cause of the failure.

Vermont law requires all new smoke alarms to be of the photoelectric type. Photoelectric type alarms have been proven to reduce "nuisance alarms" due to cooking, or steam from bathrooms, and can activate sooner to smoldering (upholstery) type fires.

In addition to working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, it is always important to have a fire escape plan, especially in homes with small children, and practice that plan at least twice a year. For additional information on specific installation requirements for smoke and co alarms please visit our web page at


Following these safety tips can reduce fire deaths and injuries. Always remember, hear the alarm, get out, and stay out.