Spring forward with fire safety

With the annual “spring forward” time change around the corner for Indiana, State Fire Marshal Joel Thacker reminds Hoosiers to add smoke alarm maintenance to their to-do list.

“Indiana lost 20 Hoosiers to residential fires in January and February, and some of those lives could have been protected with working smoke alarms,” Thacker said. “Taking the small step of changing batteries and checking the smoke alarms in your home gives your loved ones every possible chance to escape a residential fire safely.”

Between 2014 and 2018, the National Fire Protection Association reported that 57 percent of home fire deaths occurred in properties with no smoke alarms or smoke alarms that failed to operate.

Thacker advises all Indiana residents to have at least one working smoke alarm in their residence. Ideally, smoke alarms should be located outside of each sleeping area. There should also be at least one smoke alarm on every floor. 

Media note: To request an interview with Marshal Thacker or another fire safety representative from IDHS, please contact the Office of Public Affairs (information above).

Here are more smoke alarm tips to consider:

  • Test all smoke alarms every month to ensure they are working properly.
  • Regular batteries should be changed at least once a year, preferably twice.
  • Consider smoke alarms with lithium-powered batteries for longer life. These types of alarms may not require a battery change for the life of the unit.
  • Replace any smoke alarms that are more than 10 years old, as sensors begin to lose efficacy.

Smoke alarms are relatively inexpensive and many fire stations and related organizations maintain programs that offer free smoke alarms, especially to low-income families and individuals, senior citizens and those who need extra time to evacuate a home in danger.

For more information about smoke alarms and fire safety, visit the IDHS Get Alarmed Program.

Indiana Department of Homeland Security

Established in 2005, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) leads the way to a safer and more secure Indiana. With jurisdictions involving emergency management, building code enforcement, as well as training and certification for first responders around the state, IDHS works to provide a safe, secure and resilient Indiana. For more information about IDHS, visit dhs.in.gov.