Forget Batteries–Is Your Smoke Detector Too Old? Pasco Fire
Franklin County Fire District 3 assisted Pasco Fire with a smoking house issue early Tuesday morning. Fortunately, no severe damage was done, but the reason it was not detected is a wake-up call, say fire officials.
The smoke detector did not go off, despite new batteries
Early Tuesday morning, fire crews responded to a Pasco residence (the location not given) and found a fire burning inside of a wall. It was quickly extinguished and the damage was not severe, but fire crews say the detector did not work.
The homeowner told fire crews despite seeing clear smoke in the home by the wall, and 'hearing' flames cracking behind the plaster, the alarm didn't make even a beep.
Old smoke alarms wear out
During the investigation, Frankin County Fire (FCF) officials found the smoke detector was 15 years old. It had new batteries, but the sensors had failed.
Multiple sources, including Franklin County Fire and FirstAlert, say most smoke detectors wear out after about ten years. They utilize fragile sensors to detect tiny particles in the air, which increase dramatically even with tiny amounts of smoke.
That's why when you burn food on the stove or in the oven, the smoke detector squawks. But over time, these sensors wear out, to the point where sometimes they won't even detect large particles--making them useless.
Check the back of your smoke alarm for a date stamp
Officials say to check the backside, there should be a date stamp of when it was manufactured. Even if the alarm still works, if it's around 10 years old or older, replace it. Once these units approach a decade of use, the sensors are far more likely to fail.
If the sensors fail, even brand-new batteries won't make it work. Officials estimate there are a LOT of homes with detectors with new batteries, but the units are so old they might not work.